Michael and I got married on the 12th of March 2016. We got engaged in Paris only 5 1/2 months earlier and started planning the wedding while we were travelling through Europe. I wanted to share with you some of the details of how we put together our minimalist vegan wedding.
I’ll also share some useful tips and minimalist vegan wedding ideas for when you’re planning your own. We also did a podcast episode on our wedding, so if you prefer to listen to it, you can check that out!
I’ll break it down into each part of the process and share some beautiful photos along the way that were taken by a super talented lady Lauren Campbell.
With so many more vegans globally, there are greater opportunities to start supporting businesses that are vegan and value eco-conscious business practices. This would have been ideal for us but there weren’t any options for us to pick vegan businesses specifically besides the business that made our wedding cakes.
Before we get into it, I’ve added a table of contents so you can easily go to what specifically interests you or to give you an idea of what you’ll find in this post.
Our guest list
We were both on the same page when it came to the number of guests we wanted at the wedding. Being minimalists, we were aiming for around 50 guests in total (which to some, may still be a lot!). I’d say making the guest list was probably one of the hardest parts of the whole wedding process.
Luckily, Michael and I both don’t have big families and only have our immediate families that live close by (well most of them). Our list got bigger and bigger as time went on and we ended up inviting around 80 people. Our wedding guest list ended up being 63 people in total.
We were happy with that number as it meant that we could still have a beautiful day but not feel like there were people there that we wouldn’t have noticed if they didn’t come (sounds harsh maybe, but it’s true). We knew well that we would upset some people because we didn’t allow children (besides our niece and nephew), partners that we didn’t know, and people we hadn’t seen in a long time or didn’t have much of a relationship with anymore.
This was a real challenge for us, and our minimalist mindset was well and truly tested. Like most, we don’t like upsetting people. I’m such a people pleaser that I really struggled with this part.
It meant a lot to us to have people there that we knew and to celebrate with close family and friends. It was just that simple for us.
I personally asked myself the following questions when making decisions on who to invite:
- Would I say hi to them if I walked past them on the street?
- Would I feel sad if I wasn’t invited to their wedding?
- Would I feel sad if I didn’t see them share our special day with us?
- Am I just inviting them because I would feel wrong not to?
- Am I just inviting them because they are family?
It’s worthwhile asking yourself these questions and setting your intentions before you start inviting people otherwise you might end up creating a guest list that you’re just not happy with. Sometimes family has a say in who you invite, but at the end of the day, it’s your special day, not theirs.
This was a no-brainer for us. The thought of creating physical invitations made me want to run for the hills! Knowing myself, they would have to be works of art, and honestly, I wasn’t prepared to spend days, even weeks on designing, printing, writing and posting them out.
Instead, we created a Squarespace website where people could fill out a form to RSPV and that would generate an email that was sent out to us to generate our guest list. It took us one full day to get it all done, and it was so worth it.
It’s much easier to make a website as there are plenty of templates to choose from. In total, the website cost us about $100 AUD. We had photos from a shoot we did with Lauren prior and some photos we got from the venue to include as part of the details of where it’ll be held.
It also made it easier as people didn’t have to save the paper and bring it with them to know where they are going. Having it online, made it much more accessible on the road.
We learned quickly that not many people seem to use this method of inviting guests in Australia, but it’s much more popular in America. All the people we spoke with wish that they’d done the same thing!
Note: A tiny portion of our non-technical guests needed some guidance on how to navigate around the website – so if you’re going down that road, be prepared to provide some support.
What we requested as gifts
I know I don’t need to say it but I will anyway. We aren’t big fans of gifting or receiving things. We’d prefer to gift or be given experiences or money to contribute to essentials that we may have on our wishlist.
This is something that we wanted to reflect through our wedding as well and wrote a beautiful poem about not needing to bring presents, but if they wanted to, they could contribute money toward our honeymoon or future experiences. As we decided to pay for the wedding pretty much ourselves and spent around $12,000AUD in total, every penny helped. More on this later.
Read more: How to Graciously Handle Unwanted Gifts as a Minimalist
The wedding favours
For the wedding favours, we decided to have beautiful handmade one-off presents. We sourced the little pots for the succulents second hand, and the succulents were mainly replanted from my parents garden. My dad did a fantastic job with them, and each one is unique in its own way.
We also had a little glasshouse where people could put cards in. It worked nicely with the planted succulents surrounding it.
The post-wedding thank you
After the wedding, instead of sending out Thank You cards to everyone, we waited for the photos to be finished and emailed everyone thanking them and sharing a link to our website that had been redone to share all the pictures from the day. Here’s a couple of outtakes of what it looked like. We sectioned each part of the day into different menus, so it’s easier to navigate through each part of our wedding day. This process also took us about a day all up.
What we wore
We were very keen to support local small business as much as possible. My dress was from an Australian Designer called Rachel Gilbert, and it was bought off the rack. A little tip, if you decide to buy off the rack, you’ll typically save some money as they generally give discounts for the dresses that have been tried on and aren’t custom made.
Keep in mind though that some shops don’t sell off the rack, so make sure you call up and ask before you go in to have a look.
Another great way to save money is to have a look at the previous seasons dresses on their website/catalogue and see if there’s anything there you like. Sometimes it’s worth asking as they may have them at the back and will do a reasonable price for them because they don’t want them sitting in their storeroom.
One of my friends did this and got her dream dress for almost half price! Let’s face it, anything with the word wedding tends to be more expensive so don’t feel bad for asking.
My shoes were ones I have owned for a few years and matched the dress well, so I just wore those. I didn’t think I’d have much luck finding nice vegan and fair trade white or off-white shoes to match my dress. Not to mention that I’d probably never wear them again!
Michael wore black pants that he already owned, and wore a jacket he bought just a few days before the wedding (one stressful experience we would both like to forget!) and shoes were from Will’s Shoes that we bought when we were in London from The Third Estate.
We wanted to keep things pretty simple but still feel amazing on the day. All those extra things that are traditional like wearing something old and something blue wasn’t part of our day.
A small local jeweller made my ring at the coast in Mogo called Juela. This ring was my engagement and wedding ring. Not being a ring person, I wanted only one and something relatively subtle and elegant.
Michael’s ring was from RevolutionBA Shop on Etsy. He wanted something that suited him and that was a little more unique. He had thought long and hard about what he wanted and loved what he picked.
Our ceremony was simple and only took 15-20 minutes. Our celebrant knew that we wanted something laid back and fuss-free. We wrote our own wedding vows and were happy we did.
I’ve always wanted to get married in a forest because it’s what reminds me of my childhood. I love nature and think that this was the perfect spot where we could celebrate our love for each other. It’s what really made our minimalist vegan wedding amazing.
Why we hired a photographer
Photography was an essential part of our wedding day. When we got engaged, that was the first thing we booked. We knew we wanted Lauren to shoot our wedding, so we worked with her to find a date that she was available.
This is something that many people regret not investing money into for their wedding. As a photographer myself, I knew what I wanted, and I was confident in Lauren’s ability to deliver on that. Michael loved her style as well, and how easy going she was.
Tip: Make sure you allow yourself enough time to find the right photographer for your day. Meet with a few and pick the one that you and your fiancé feel most yourselves around. Being picky is imperative! In saying that, not everyone can afford a professional photographer.
Our most significant investment was our photographer, but we value this a lot more than some other things.
Our vegan wedding food
Besides photography, this was the most important thing for us. As vegans and vegans that run a blog that shares recipes and lifestyle tips on veganism, this was the testing ground for all of our guests to sample what we’re about. Mainly catering for omnivores with maybe five vegetarians and two other vegans, this was our way to show how amazing vegan food can be. And no, it’s not just rabbit food!
My sister, who’s an amazing cook, offered to tackle the enormous task of catering for the wedding and delivered beyond anyone’s expectations. She made all the canapés and most of the dinner buffet.
We decided to outsource the curries last minute as she wasn’t confident in delivering something she would be happy with. Mind you, she’s not vegan herself, so it required a bit of out of the box thinking for her. We had more than enough food for everyone, and from the feedback, some people would convert to veganism if they could eat this type of food every day!
For canapés we had:
- Vegan cheeses from Sprout & Kernel and Damona from The Cruelty-Free Shop
- Seeds, nuts and dried fruit from a local bulk buying store
- Bread from our local bakery
- Marinated veggies and crackers were ordered through my sister that has connections in the catering industry
- All the vegetables for the dips and olives were from the local farmer’s market.
I collected an extra few boxes of fresh produce a few days before the wedding from a farm 15 minutes from where we live. They grow amazing organic food.
Our photographer didn’t get a chance to get to the canapés before people started eating them so unfortunately, you have photos of half-eaten platters.
The food for the buffet was terrific. We wanted to have a buffet so people could pick and choose what they wanted to eat and how much of it. We’re both big eaters and don’t like it when we don’t get enough food and feel hungry 30 minutes later.
Feast your eyes on the food we had at the reception!
The menu consisted of:
- Plain rice
- Lentils and brown rice with nuts and seeds
- Kofta curry
- Moroccan stew
- Rainbow vegetable salad
- Steamed greens (mainly green beans, asparagus, snow peas and broccolini)
- Potato and butter bean salad
- Fermented cabbage salad
- Green salad
- Pumpkin dip
Our drinks selection
The drinks were organic, vegan wines and champagne from a beautiful vineyard that we’d love to go and visit one day. I met the lovely lady at a market a few months prior and really liked how humble and well run their business was. We also had organic beer and organic iced teas that everyone loved!
The iced teas were freshly made and were really delicious!
The two flavours we had (with ice and freshly cut lemon and limes):
- Blueberry, papaya, goji and acai
- Lemon myrtle and plum
Our venue criteria
This was probably the longest process because we were looking for a place that catered for the following things:
- A venue that was available less than six months from the wedding date
- Somewhere affordable that allowed us to do self-catering
- Have the wedding ceremony and reception at the same place
- Be surrounded by nature
We finally landed on The Crisp Galleries, and it was pretty perfect!
I’d always dreamed of having the reception outside in a beautiful garden with a nice long table that was surrounded by trees, bushes and flowers. A sunset would reveal the decorative tea lights on the tables and the fairy lights that would follow the table from above.
We decided to have it indoors because we wanted to make sure that it didn’t get too cold for guests (even though it was a really hot day) and that we could control the outcome in case it was windy etc.
The look we were going for was to bring nature indoors and to have some beautiful handmade details around. My dad made the wooden stands that we put everyone’s names on. We were lucky enough to borrow all plates, cutlery and wine glasses from a friend that bought everything for her wedding a couple of years prior because she found it more cost-effective that way.
The napkins I purchased but pretty much everything else was borrowed. The only thing we had to hire was the chairs. We kept the table setting pretty simple so that things didn’t get too crowded on the tables and people would have enough room for themselves.
The flower arrangements for the tables were done by my aunty and sisters.
The guys at the venue were happy to do some pruning and cut down some vines for us around the property. They also strung strong wire across the room to support it. We just threaded some fairy lights in between to give it a slightly romantic feel and look like stars in the sky. The greenery and fairy lights were done by my family (lead by my brother).
We had two tables, and Michael and I just sat amongst our families. We didn’t like the idea of having a separate table from everyone especially since we didn’t have a bridal party. We wanted to be amongst everyone else.
Our budget was quite low considering how much most weddings cost here in Australia. With the average wedding costing between $30-40K AUD, we had no intention of spending a house deposit or an amazing six month holiday around the world for one day.
In being super transparent, and hopefully helpful, here is a screenshot of our budget spreadsheet.
The things that are in red are the ones that we went over budget. The ones that aren’t highlighted in red were either under budget or on budget. Overall, considering that we didn’t have much of an idea of
Things we saved money on
There were a lot of things that we saved money on because we were privileged enough to have many talented people around us or we didn’t see the need to spend money on it. Here are some things we either did ourselves or didn’t invest in:
- Hair and make up (my friends did it)
- We arranged the flowers for the tables ourselves. Lady Larissa did the other flowers like my hairpiece, bouquet and Michael’s buttonhole flowers.
- Catering (my sister did it)
- Bar tab (there wasn’t an option for that anyway, we bought our own)
- Printed invites and thank you cards
- The bridal party (let’s face it, this can cost quite a bit!)
- Engagement party, hen’s night and bucks night (another massive expense!)
- Wedding ring (for me)
- DJ or live music
- Two separate venues
- Videographer (lucky we have a friend that did it as our wedding gift!)
What we would have done differently
When reflecting back on what we could’ve done differently, we probably would’ve allowed an extra month to prepare everything as we feel like it got a little crazy towards the wedding day.
We also would’ve outsourced the catering to someone else instead of relying on my sister as the poor thing was stressed out wanting to make sure she made enough food for everyone. In saying that, she did a fantastic job but wished she enjoyed the wedding a little more.
One other major thing would’ve been to have the wedding closer to Canberra where we live. The guests had to drive at least an hour to the venue and were conscious of having to drive back home after the wedding finished. There might be a few other things along the way, but they were the three main ones.
A few months leading up to the wedding we asked our community if they had any tips on how to have a minimalist vegan wedding on a budget. They shared some excellent ideas, and we loved them all, but what we did, in the end, seemed like it reflected who we are as a couple the most. Backyard weddings are a wonderful idea, but it didn’t feel like the right fit for us.
A minimalist vegan wedding to remember
What were some things you went without at your wedding and were happy you did? Was there anything that you would’ve done differently if you did it all over again?
To end this post, here are a few more photos of Michael and I. Enjoy 🙂
What was your poem in the invitation asking for cash instead of physical gifts??!!
Wow, what a gorgeous couple! You look absolutely stunning and it sounds like you had a wonderful day! The more I read from your blog the more commonalities I find! My husband and I had a simple, elopement style wedding with just our immediate family (seven guests in total). Thank you for sharing a snippet of your special day with us (and belated congratulations)!
Husband wore own clothes & shoes
We used our own rings to symbolize as well.
We got married a month ago on the beach,
Minimalist – micro wedding.
Makeup done @ – Mac cosmetics DJ’s – $120 (redeemable towards purchases) did a stunning job
Total cost under $910 Aust
No Guests just our selves & our beloved dogs.
Happy days, that was the way we wanted our wedding & to celebrate our day without the stress.
Organising photo to be made into books for family
And I baked & decorated the vegan cake , vegan meal & toasted with Vegan wine
That is so beautiful!!! It took my breath away.
You’re too kind, Lenka. Thank you. It was a special, special day for us.
What a beautiful wedding! Congratulations!
I am so happy to find this blog! We’ve been engaged for 6 months and still haven’t planned a thing as the wedding biz is so crazy and frankly, I feel overwhelmed whenever I try to research.
We’re also set on it being 100% vegan which becomes a challenge for some caterers/venues. I love the bulk cruelty free shop cheese idea and buffet with beautiful curries. Thanks for the inspo! xx
You’re welcome! Yes, finding a caterer and venue that can do vegan can be tricky. Best of luck 🙂
You did a great job having a minimalist kind of wedding. I got particularly interested in the vegan food and how you survived without a vegan wedding catering service. Well. thanks to your sister who really put an effort to think out of the box since she’s not really vegan. I can recommend a catering service for your friends and readers near Los Angeles, CA, it’s called http://jenniecooks.com they are really specializing in vegan food.
Great, thanks for sharing Neva! I’m sure it will come in handy for someone 🙂
My fiance’ and I trying to have pretty much a similar wedding to yours (a part form the fact that we’re not doing a buffet) but it’s so frustrating. We’re being thrown at white fluffy things, and extra decorations and useless stuff that we really don’t want. So frustrating.
Oh we were so lucky that no one did that to us! They knew that we would refuse haha. Good luck!
Hello – I was wondering if you served any cakes or sweets at your wedding? We are thinking about forgoing the desserts simply because of the price the vegan bakeries are quoting us. We have 70 guests and consider possibly serving fruit instead. Lovely wedding, thank you for all the inspiration!
Hi Lola, we did serve cake. We had one chocolate cake with frosting in between layers (so a naked cake) and flowers – 2 tier. We also had a couple of raw cakes which funnily enough went first! You can make a few raw cakes ahead of time and just freeze them? Best of luck and have an amazing day! X
What an inspiration! Would you consider sharing the menu you served?
Hi Laura, We don’t actually have it anymore but will give you the ones that I remember. There was a malai kofta curry, Moroccan eggplant stew, raw veggie salad, steamed greens, lentils and brown rice, potato and bean salad, plain rice and fermented cabbage.
Hi! Your celebration was wonderful. Together with the bride we have a wedding at the end of August. Your blog is a great inspiration for me – we are also vegan and minimalist 🙂 May I ask to send more pictures of food? I’m from Poland. Regards.
Hi Gosia, congrats! Hope you have an amazing day 🙂 These are actually pretty much all the food photos we have from the wedding. Was there something in particular you wanted to know? Thanks, Masa
Amazing and inspirational! Since you didn’t have a dj, how did you handle music? I’m trying to have a minimalist vegan wedding myself!
Hi Codi, how exciting! Congrats 🙂 We just created a few different playlists but for the dance floor it was just one and plugged it into speakers that we borrowed from a friend using our phone. You can also do that on an iPod. Michael worked out how to blend/overlap the songs so there was no pause in between. Best of luck!
Love this article so much!!! I featured this post on my website and linked to this post as well. Thank you so much for providing such useful information! I didn’t use any of your info on your post so that users have to click here to get the information. I hope you get some traffic! Here is where I refer to your post: https://budgetedwedding.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/how-to-pull-off-a-cheap-vegan-wedding/
Thanks for sharing! Sorry only saw this now.
I absolutely loved this blog! Your wedding was breathtaking. I felt like I was there. I can’t wait to plan my vegan wedding. lol You guys gave our community some hope. I now know it is possible to successfully have a vegan wedding. Thanks for sharing your most intimate moments with the world!
Thanks so much Nicole! Happy you enjoyed it 🙂 YES! There is always hope.
Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Flick! 🙂
Wow! What a beautiful wedding & a truly amazing couple 🙂 Stay blessed guys, just going through your wedding story made my day! Respect for all that you peeps do for the animals & environment by living ethical and conscious lives as vegan minimalists. So inspiring! I also hope to have a minimalist vegan wedding one day. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience with us 🙂
Thank you so much for the kind words! We made your day, and you made ours with that comment! 🙂
So lovely! 🙂
Thanks Chelsey! 🙂
What a beautiful post! We had a minimalist vegan wedding in Brisbane in 2009, although we hadn’t even heard of minimalism at the time – we just did things simply. We saved money on cars (my dad drove me to the ceremony and we caught the public ferry across the river to our reception), photography (our best friend did it), the cake (my maid of honour made an amazing vegan chocolate cupcake tower strewn with rose petals), the dress (off the rack), the reception (we had a buffet at a restaurant that had a dance floor and bar, rather than booking a mainstream reception venue) and by cutting out any wedding traditions we thought were silly or unnecessary. We didn’t want to buy tacky items that we would only use for the wedding and which had no other function. Our vegan wedding for 87 guests cost about $8000.
So happy to have discovered your blog – it’s lovely to find somebody writing out of Australia who is on a similar journey. I’ve been vegan my whole life and my husband has been vegan for about 8 years, but we only started pursuing minimalism with intention about a year ago. Your blog is beautiful and I’m subscribing! x
Wow! Thanks for sharing Kamina and nice to see a fellow Aussie thats a minimalist vegan 😉 Sounds like you had a wonderful day! xx
Thank you for sharing this post! It was a really helpful and inspiring post, thank you! Not to mention I loved seeing your beautiful happy faces (what more could a wedding day want!). You both looked gorgeous and happy and it was so nice to see! It was also great to see you’re wedding rings and read about you only having one – I only want one too:) Thank you again for your post – I loved it for quite a few reasons 🙂
You’re more then welcome Eleni! Thanks so much for the kind words 🙂 Masa X
Such a beautiful wedding, I love how intimate and small the wedding was. Coming from a large Asian family, having a small guest list will already be a challenge in itself as family from both my mum and dad’s side alone will be about 60 people, not including my friends or partner’s side. There’s also a bit importance placed on tradition so I can’t say I entirely look forward to planning my own wedding. I’m working my way towards a more minimalistic vegan lifestyle and this blog was a treasure gem of a find. I also love that you guys are from Australia, as I’m from Melbourne. Your post on 38 Vegan businesses ideas was also quite interesting and I have bookmarked it to look at later.
Yes, we were very lucky not to have much family! I think that would have definitely been the trickiest part for us if we had a larger family like yours. Try and see the positives in it so you can enjoy the process. I was very careful to make sure I didn’t slip into any negativity during the time of planning as it can really make you just want to get it over and done with. Which is not the point of celebrating you and your parents love! We wish you the best of luck with all the planning and hope you have a wonderful day! Lovely to hear from a fellow aspiring minimalist vegan aussie 🙂
God/Goddess bless you both.
Thank you for sharing <3
Thank you for your blessings Monica 🙂
Thank you for sharing your preparations & special happy day with us!
My partner & I had a vegan wedding almost 6 years ago, we found it a challenge then to find vegan businesses to provide filling organic meals/cake/alcohol. Thank fluff things have changed! There are many more options & opportunities to support each other now.
You both looked spectacular, congratulations <3
Thanks so much Ashleen! Yes, it’s definitely much MUCH easier now then it was 6 years ago. Hopefully in another 6 years it will be much more socially accepted and make it very easy for vegan couples to celebrate their love together 🙂
What an amazing, inspiring day, from the flowers to the gifts to that gorgeous banquet – thanks for sharing your photos and insights 🙂
Thanks Diana! 🙂
It’s simple yet beautifully put together. I love it. This is what my husband & I want for our day, very private, small, outdoors, vegan food (of course), fresh coconuts to toast! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Congrats to the both of you. <3
Thanks so much Vanessa! Hope you have a wonderful wedding, sounds like it will be magical X
I’m having serious wedding envy right now! Yours looks to me like the most perfect day ever and I wish you both a lifetime of happiness, health and joy together
Thank you so much Sara! That’s really sweet of you to say 🙂 It was a pretty awesome day!
Michael and Masa,
Anthony and I would like to thank you for inviting us and we hope you enjoyed your well deserved honeymoon. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the wedding, you have given us a lot of inspiration for if/when we get married. I would have to say the food was absolutely divine and it was honestly the best food that I have ever had at a wedding. So wonderful that I made those delicious veggie kofta balls. You did a wonderful job xxx
Hi Chloe 🙂
Thank you so much! We were so happy you could both be there, it meant a lot to us! Hehe we expect an invite to yours in the near future! 😉 Any help you need when the time comes, just let us know. So happy you also enjoyed the food, that’s music to our ears! Hope you’re all well xx
Congratulations! Looks like a fabulous day. Best wishes for a long and happy life together 🙂
Thank you so much Karin! 🙂
Wow, what a gorgeous wedding! May you two have a beautiful life together!
Anyway, I discovered your site while looking through FMTV and I’m loving it. I immediately downloaded the cookbook and plan on making a few of the recipes this week. Keep up the great work; can’t wait for more cookbooks!
Thanks so much Melanie 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipes! X
Congratulations!… Beautiful couple.
10 years ago I got married after a 6-year relationship and now I realize it was a minimalist wedding!: No printed invitations nor thank you notes, few flowers bought locally, 60 guests, no wedding dress but just a white pretty inexpensive one, rings made locally, no diamonds involved… We enjoyed it so much and no regrets. =)
Thanks Orly 🙂 Sounds like a beautiful wedding! Who needs all the frills and fancies at the end of the day you will still get married!
Gorgeous wedding! Love how beautifully presented it was even though there was so much saving going on! Our wedding is in three weeks and I’m completely inspired by these images and so far it seems to be on a similar path with no engagement party, us being in Europe for the past 5 months planning for a wedding in Australia, and we were engaged in Paris as well! We also chose e-vites and I LOVE your idea of sending the photos with a link instead of save the dates. This is fabulous! There is so much unnecessary spending going on at weddings! Xo
Glad we could inspire you! There are a lot of similarities 🙂 Planning a wedding while overseas would be hard. Congratulations and hope you enjoy every second of it, it goes way too quickly! X
Thanks gorgeous! xx
Such a beautiful wedding, thank you for sharing! What a stunning couple you two are 🙂
Awww thanks so much Lucy, you’re making us blush!