Trying a meal without meat can be a great way to find out vegans don’t eat iceberg lettuce with a side of arugula (if you’re eating that, please search the recipes on this blog ASAP!). So what if that one meal you got your friend to try was served to 138 friends at once?
That’s the average number of people sitting down to eat at an average wedding reception.
If every vegetarian and vegan followed through with their beliefs for their wedding, that’s a lot of veg meals served to mostly non-vegs! Of course, you’d think that every person who doesn’t eat meat in their daily life wouldn’t serve meat at their wedding, but that isn’t the case. Serving a meat-free nuptial meal can be seen as rude, cheap, or inconsiderate and there can be a lot of pressure from family, guests, and even fiancés not to let that happen.
The vegetarian or vegan bride or groom would still be served their own separate veg meal, but just not have their guests all eat it as well. I’ve seen this story time and again over my two years working at Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings, renamed this month to Vegan Weddings HQ. There is a lot of dislike out there for vegan weddings and the pressure is intense.
I don’t fault these veggies because I know it is a really hard place to be in. My wife and I were there in 2010-2011. But what an amazing opportunity to stand by your beliefs even when it’s hard. I’ve found the best line to explain your veg wedding to unconvinced relatives is that of course an observant Jewish couple would serve Kosher food at their wedding. How could they be expected to take a day off from their beliefs? Especially this day that is partly about expressing themselves as a couple.
The wedding industry pumps out over two million “big days” every year in the U.S. That’s an average of 276 million wedding meals served here annually. Since 5% of Americans are vegetarian and 2% are vegan, we have an opportunity to veggify 19 million meals per year just from people already living meat-free every day.
(To explain the math behind each vegetarian wedding saving 4 animals, we can estimate based on these numbers that on average each vegetarian meal saves 0.03 land animals. Multiply that by 138 people having a meal and you come to 3.8. I feel comfortable rounding up to 4 because this is just land animals and each vegetarian meal also saves an average of 0.2 fish and 0.1 shellfish. Including those beings, that actually means each vegetarian wedding saves 51 animals.)
If the happy couple goes beyond just the food they serve to also not wear leather, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or wear makeup tested on animals, they could be saving even more lives. Or even go above and beyond by donating to an animal sanctuary or other vegan-friendly charity in honor of their guests!
We’re all about veganizing the wedding industry at Vegan Weddings HQ, and we do it through supporting a community of vegan and semi-vegan brides and grooms through all of that pressure. We feature their beautiful love stories, give tips on veganizing more than just the food (non-silk wedding dress, anyone?), and providing resources like a directory of vegan-friendly wedding vendors. I hope you’ll join us in celebrating compassion along with love this February as we relaunch our site with brand new features.
Feature photo courtesy of Iconic Photography.