This picture shows me at a lovely Indian wedding in England last weekend, which I am pleased to say, although not completely vegetarian, had a strong herbivore presence! It was a traditional Hindu ceremony, as the bride and groom both come from Indian families, and the event was held at a banqueting hall in Hounslow, near London. Shabari Monica, the bride, is a vegan, and her new husband Sagar is an omnivore, although she is trying to convert him, and I hope she succeeds!
Monica invited a lot of her vegetarian friends to the wedding, and the invitation gave a menu choice of standard food/vegetarian/vegan, and asked us to name our preference when we RSVPd. So the number of non-carnivores there must have totalled at least 12, and we were seated at two tables designated just for us. This was a refreshing novelty for me, as in the past when I have been to weddings, I have been the only veggie there, and feel I am being awkward by asking for a special meal. I am sure you have all experienced the same thing (In fact, the last wedding I went to, before Monica's, was around 4 years ago, which was when I was still vegetarian. A vegetarian meal however doesn't seem to pose most caterers that many problems, but a vegan one is definitely more tricky.) I presume that although Monica is a very committed vegan it was difficult for her to make the wedding menu all meat- and dairy-free, as her husband and his family are omnivores. I have heard of other couples, who are both vegans, having a wedding menu which also caters for the omnivorous guests, which seems strange and a bit unprincipled to my friends and me, although I don’t wish to judge. Surely, when it is your own special day, you should have it completely in line with your own values, and you shouldn't feel you have to pander to a lifestyle choice that you strongly disagree with ? It's not too much to ask normal omnivores to eat vegan food just for one meal, and I do feel it is a missed opportunity if you don’t – you might win some converts to the cause by having all-vegan food, when people who would not normally try it at all realise how tasty it is!
This vegan wedding menu was certainly no exception, as our food was delicious and plentiful Indian food : we had poppadoms, samosas and onion bhajis for starters, rich spicy vegetable curry, rice, noodles, Indian breads and chutneys for the main course, and jellabi and halva for dessert. There was also a free bar all evening, and at the end we were each given slices of wedding cake and small boxes of Turkish delight to take away (which, we were assured, was all also vegan, which was impressive!) The room was beautifully decorated mainly in red and white, and the bride and groom both wore traditional Indian costumes, which were very colourful and sparkling. So it was a feast for the eyes,as well, and all thoroughly enjoyable.
The only part of it that made me a little sad was that I am currently single myself, as my own short-lived marriage did not work out, and going to a wedding when you are in that situation can make you envy the happy couple (not in a mean-spirited way though!) But I remember something the groom Sagar said in his speech (which Monica also said a few weeks ago on her hen night): “What is meant for you, won't go past you.” They were both referring to the fact that they have been together for several years, and have finally got married, after many ups and downs in their relationship (which, I believe, were mainly related to problems with their families not approving). But then they realised they were meant to be together, and the problems were smoothed over, so naturally we all wish them all the best for their future.
Whenever I despair of meeting the right man for me (who I would like to be vegan, or at least vegetarian) I remember the saying above, and remind myself that if he is meant for me, he won't pass me by! It also goes without saying that it would have to be someone who shares my views on only serving vegan food at the wedding. So if any of you want to do any match-making, be my guest! (and you can then also be my guest at the wedding!!)