So you’ve made the awesome decision to have vegan catering for your wedding. This might be because you are vegan yourself, or you might just want to cut back on the negative environmental impact of your event. Whatever the reason, there are some right and wrong ways to do vegan catering. Tenille Evans from Vegan Wedding & Events shares with us some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to vegan catering for weddings!
Header Image & Image: Liam Foster
DO: Make sure that you still cater for other allergies!
Vegan catering already ticks off a lot of the major allergies like dairy and eggs, but don’t leave out your guests that have allergies to gluten, nuts or soy. Make sure that your caterer can manage these extra allergies and talk to them about whether it’s a good idea to make a large portion of your menu allergy friendly or whether it’s best to serve seperate plates for those guests. Vegan chefs are used to working within smaller parameters and are usually super creative when it comes to making adjustments to menus. Vegan food is generally more accessible to a greater range of people, but just make sure that you think about those few exceptions as well.
DON’T: Be afraid of faux meats!
Faux meats can be a bit polarising and if you’ve been vegan for awhile or if you’re vegan for health reasons, meaty style dishes might not be a staple of your regular diet. You might also not want to send the message to your non-vegan guests that vegetables aren’t exciting on their own. But when used in creative ways, with the right kinds of accompaniments, faux meats are generally very well received by non vegans. Familiar textures, carrying hearty familiar flavours can make vegan food less different and scary.
Image: Liam Foster
DO: Make sure your menu is filling & that there is enough food for your guests!
This is good advice for catering for any event – no one wants their guests to leave hungry. The common perception about plant-based food though, is that it isn’t satisfying. If you want to crush that myth, make sure there are plenty of filling items like starchy vegetables, potatoes, rice, even pasta. Your caterer should have plenty of these types of items on offer so make sure you consider this when making your selections. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve got food covered as soon as the bar opens, with a beautiful abundant grazing table or after ceremony canapés. You might even want to serve late-night snacks to soak up the alcohol later in the evening. It’s definitely always better to have too much food than not enough, but that also brings us to the next DON’T…
DON’T: Waste food, or create other types of unnecessary waste.
Veganism isn’t just about the food, it’s about causing less harm with your choices. Ask your caterer if they can bring along some compostable takeaway boxes so that if there is any food leftover, your guests can take it home. Create a compost box for any food that is scraped off the plates so that someone can take that home too. Some of your guests might even have pet pigs or chickens that would eat the scraps. Talk to your catering staff about what happens with the waste and take ownership of it. If you’re having an event without a sit-down meal and proper tableware and need to use single-use packaging of any kind, like napkins or single-use plates, make sure those are compostable too.
DO: Choose your favourite types of food!
This is your wedding, choose food that you love! It’s so tempting to want to please everyone, especially when you’re nervous about serving vegan food. It’s totally fine to ask your caterer what the most popular dishes are, and sure, take that into consideration. But at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong if you choose all the things you want to eat. You’re never going to please everyone and there will always be at least one person that doesn’t like something. So why not just forget about everyone else and enjoy what potentially could be the best meal of your life?!
DONT: Serve dhal…
Vegan catering doesn’t have to be boring, and it definitely doesn’t have to be completely healthy. Special occasion food, whether it’s plant based or not, isn’t supposed to be the type of food you eat every day. Super tasty event or restaurant-quality food generally has more salt, fat and sugar than you’d use at home. That’s one of the reasons it tastes better! Saying that, punctuating the rich luxurious items with leafy green salads and vegetable focussed dishes that are bright, fresh and generous is a good idea too.
DO: Serve a share platter menu!
Share plates are the most common type of wedding catering at the moment, vegan or otherwise. There’s good reason for this. Aesthetically, share plates look abundant, plentiful and colourful and add to your table scape. They also cater more for people’s individual tastes, allowing them to take more of what they like and less of what they don’t like. This is particularly important when the food is vegan. Guests also get to try more dishes, opening their minds with their palates.
Image: Tilly Roberts Photo
DON’T: Tell your guests that the food is vegan in advance…
It’s not necessary to ‘warn’ your guests that the food will be vegan. Definitely still ask for special dietary requirements, but aside from that, you don’t need to say anything on the invites. Those people who note down a dairy allergy will just be pleasantly surprised when they can eat everything. Even your most “carnivorous” loved ones can survive on one vegan meal and this is the perfect opportunity to show them how delicious vegan food can be. Besides, if a guest who has a bias against vegan food knows in advance, they might stop at Maccas on the way to the wedding. Then they won’t be able to fit in all of the incredible food you’re serving! How sad!
DO: Thank your guests for helping you make a difference!
Framing your choice to serve only vegan food around making a difference rather than making a sacrifice is a good way to leave your guests with a positive experience. You might want to make a short speech before the meals are served to let the guests know how many litres of water or animals lives were saved with this one vegan meal and let them know how much you appreciate their support in making this happen. You could put a little note on the bottom of your menu, or a list of positive environmental effects on the back of the menu. Your wedding is a reflection of you and your values and it is a powerful way for you to share these things with your guests, the people who love you should feel good about this.
Image: Full Hearts Co
About Vegan Weddings & Events: Vegan Weddings & Events is a Gold License Accredited Caterer servicing the Central West, Blue Mountains, Sydney, and all over NSW. We are now a small, committed team of hospitality and events professionals. Our high level of service is matched by our shared passion for veganism and enthusiasm for taking plant-based food to new standards of excellence. Tenille Evans is a vegan chef, mother of three boys, and a business owner. She started Vegan Catering & Events to keep up with the growing demand for high-end vegan food for weddings and other special events and fell in love with cooking for special occasions. She is as passionate about human rights and other social justice issues as she is about veganism.