It might seem like planning a shower for a bride-to-be who doesn't eat or use animal products would be tricky, but take some deep breaths: It's not as hard as you think. With veganism on the rise, it's now easier than ever to put together a memorable event without meat and dairy—especially with some expert advice. We caught up with Karine Brighten, founder of Karine Brighten Events and Veg Speed Date, and Maya Gottfried, author of Vegan Love, to get their tips and tricks for planning the most memorable event for a vegan friend.
Remember it's the bride's day.
More often than not, the bride is most concerned about everyone else at her celebratory events, focusing on her guests rather than herself. So that's why planning a worry-free shower for a vegan bride is even more important. "There are different levels of veganism, but it's better to be more cautious and make the day 100% vegan. It's not about pleasing everyone there—it's about pleasing the person the event is for," Brighten says. "People might not be crazy about it at first, but it's a really good thing for everyone to get to experience—especially the delicious food."
Think about the food.
Celebrations tend to center around food, and bridal showers are no exception. Unlike the vegetarian diet where basically everything but meat is considered okay, vegans don't eat any animal products whatsoever—that means no meat, fish, or seafood, as well as dairy, eggs, honey, and gelatin. So, what do vegans eat? Well, the good news is everything—just with a little creativity. With some simple swaps, your whole menu—from appetizers to dessert—can taste just as good as any other meal. In fact, most people probably won't be able to tell the difference.
"The most common culprit in foods that would typically be served at a bridal shower is dairy. It shows up in the form of butter in the pastries, cheese on a platter, and cream in your coffee," Gottfried says. "Also, eggs can make an appearance in everything from pasta to mayonnaise to cakes and cookies." If you're worried you won't be able to handle creating the vegan dishes on your own, Brighten suggests hiring a caterer who's familiar with plant-based diets. Whether you're making the plant-based versions yourself or hiring someone else, the key is keeping things simple. Unlike a wedding, you don't need course after course—instead, stick to things that are easy to put together. Here are some options Gottfried suggests:
- Finger Food: Cucumber sandwiches made with vegan cream cheese
- Creative Meal: Vegan waffle bar with a variety of delicious vegan toppings
- Quickie Dessert: Vegan scones that can be made in minutes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance
- Classic Dessert: Vegan cupcakes from chef Chloe Coscarelli, like this Fluffy Coconut Cupcake recipe
Another thing to keep in mind is the alcohol. Surprisingly, some wines even contain animal products so it's best to make sure all the options are vegan beforehand. Brighten suggests looking up any alcoholic beverages on Barnivore before buying them to find out if they're vegan-approved, or sticking with brands that are already labeled 100% vegan.
Be careful with certain gifts.
Getting a gift for a vegan bride-to-be is generally pretty easy, but there are some common mistakes to watch out for. Since vegans don't use any animal products or anything that's not cruelty-free, there are certain things to keep off your list. "Guests may innocently bring non-vegan gifts, like silk lingerie, candles, and some beauty products, not realizing they contain animal products," Gottfried says. "To keep gifts cruelty-free, you can direct guests to the wedding registry or give them a helpful list of dos and don'ts beforehand. Then the bride can ensure any gifts will be vegan."
If the bride isn't into material possessions, Gottfried suggests telling guests they can make donations to her favorite farm animal sanctuary instead. Most states have a handful of options to choose from (see a full list here), and some even let you pick a specific animal to support.
Give attire a thought.
Depending on how strict the bride is, it might be a good idea to think about the guests' attire. Gottfried suggests asking ahead of time to find out what her preference is: Does she mind if people wear leather and other animal products, or would it make her feel uncomfortable? "When it comes down to it, this really depends on the bride," Gottfried says. "If the planner is close with her, they should have a good idea of what would make her uncomfortable. Most of the brides I've spoken with let wedding guests wear what they wanted, but some requested all vegan attire. Chances are that your bride is often in the company of people wearing animal products, and though she likely doesn't love it, it shouldn't interfere with her enjoyment of her shower."
Don't make too many rules.
No one likes a billion rules to follow, and that's exactly why—with all things considered—you'll want to keep the requests as easy-going as possible. "Veganism is something most of us come to out of love. Love for the animals, love for ourselves, and love for the environment. So sharing our veganism with others is something we want to do kindly," Gottfried says. "It's important not to be heavy-handed when planning a vegan shower. When you give instructions to guests about food or gifts, try to be as light-hearted as possible, and field any complaints with an explanation that this is all to make the bride happy."