Weddings are a very tough social engagement to partake in — for everyone. But an extra layer of awkward is frosted on top when you’re a vegan attending a non-vegan wedding. (Please invite me to your vegan wedding.)
IF YOU’RE A GUEST…
Obviously pack a few snacks in that little clutch of yours. A couple of protein bars can make all the difference when all you’re given to nibble on is a small salad.
Eat before you arrive to the ceremony venue, even if you aren’t hungry. Keep in mind that most wedding parties spend an hour or more taking photos between ceremony and reception. Not all Brides are well-mannered enough to provide the traditional cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres. So you could be looking at a lot of hours before you’re able to eat anything. I attended a wedding once where the Bride stood on the church steps, after we had all gone through the receiving line, and announced that the reception was in 3 hours at a hotel several blocks away. She seemed to think she was softening the blow by sharing that there were plenty of bars between there and the church. When the guests all gasped at her disrespect she snapped, “well we’re going around town to take photos”.
Don’t forget to stash something at the hotel for a post-nuptials gorging. Depending on where the wedding is located and the timing, there may not be any restaurants open when you’re finally able to slip out of the reception. At minimum attending a wedding is a five-hour commitment, but likely much more when you factor in getting ready, travel time, waiting for the ceremony to start, the ceremony, waiting for the reception to start, the reception and return travel. You’re going to be super hungry at the end.
Even if the Bride orders a meal for you, it’s not going to be filling, won’t be protein-rich and is likely to be soy-based or pasta. That’s not going to keep you energized for a four-hour reception, dancing, and the post wedding travel. Several times, I’ve sat at the table, with nothing in front of me, repeatedly answering the concerned questions of my tablemates, wondering why I hadn’t been served, only to have the server announce that a vegan meal had been ordered for me and they would bring it out after they’re done serving the “normal dinners”. So I strongly suggest packing something you can discreetly add to your plate at dinner.
At another wedding, when presented with a platter of hors d’oeuvres by a server with some questionable bruschetta on it. My question of “is that vegan?” was met with “Oh, I don’t know. Vegan is really hard.”. I shrunk with embarrassment, as I turned to the sassy vegan lady I was standing beside who took the reigns for me. She snapped back at the apathetic 19-year-old boy who had just slighted me with a “Oh yeah, it’s so hard to not kill and torture animals”. Like many times before that moment, I wanted so much to trade in my timid-uptight-politeness for her unapologetic boldness.