The vegan menu was a huge hit with guests. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
The vegan menu was a huge hit with guests. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au

Vegan bride’s sneaky win at wedding

A vegan wedding? No way. That's how some of Georgie Purcell's family and friends responded when she said she wanted an all-vegan wedding.

"A few people expressed some disappointment and disapproval. I was surprised people felt comfortable enough telling us how we should plan our wedding," Georgie told news.com.au.

"We're at the age where we are guests at a lot of weddings, and I would never go and tell any of my non-vegan friends and family they should have a vegan wedding, so it was a little shocking.

"There were also passing comments like, 'Oh, you're not going to have a vegan wedding, are you? Some people don't want to eat vegan. You need to cater for everyone'.

"Someone also jokingly said they were going to order McDonalds by UberEats to the event."

But the couple were catering for all dietary requirements, including gluten-free, nut-free, and Fodmap friendly - it just so happened that those meals were also vegan, and anyone can eat vegan food: at the very least, for one meal.

A non-vegan wedding was simply not up for discussion.

Bride Georgie Purcell and her husband Ward enjoying their wedding feast. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
Bride Georgie Purcell and her husband Ward enjoying their wedding feast. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au


Georgie, 27, went vegan almost eight years ago - a natural progression after years of vegetarianism.

"It makes sense to me that if you love and care about animals, veganism is something you'd consider," she said.

Meanwhile, paramedic Ward, 32, went vegan almost 13 years ago, on his 18th birthday, after watching a documentary called Meet your Meat.

The pair met seven years ago at a protest against live animal exports, and fell in love on the foundation of their shared beliefs. Now, they live together on their own micro sanctuary in rural Victoria, complete with 16 orphan lambs, five rescue cats, and three dogs saved from puppy farms.

The couple met at a protest rally. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
The couple met at a protest rally. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au


Georgie and Ward saw their wedding as an opportunity to introduce their loved ones into their world of compassion and nonviolence.

"While veganism is largely a movement about ending animal suffering, the thing people think most about is what you eat - that's why it was so important for us to show you can still eat everything you love," Georgie said.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to show you can have all the flavours and tastes of your favourite foods without harming animals - so that's why a lot of our menu was imitation based.

"We're vegan because we don't like animal cruelty, not because we don't like the foods you like. It's just about creating them in a way that doesn't harm."

Only 30 of the 180 guests were vegan. But all were treated to a festival-style wedding - costing $140 per head - featuring treats from some of Melbourne's most popular vegan eateries.

The vegan menu was a huge hit with guests. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
The vegan menu was a huge hit with guests. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au


Georgie said food was one of the most important elements of the wedding, taking the couple six months to decide on the menu. They even booked one vendor - Woking Amazing - 12 months in advance to make sure they wouldn't miss out.

Some of the delicious vegan eats included chicken dim sims, eggy bacon rolls, garlic bread, wood fire lamb pizza, Caesar salad, chicken satay skewers, chilli cheese loaded fries, nachos and an enormous grazing table featuring vegan cheeses and other nibblies.

Dessert included fondant cookies with "go vegan" on them, a Smith and Deli doughnut wall, a soft serve machine with all the extras, a pack-your-own lolly bag Georgie designed, plenty of vegan alcohol, and a coffee cart with only plant-based milks - like soy, almond and oat.

And to top it off, a delectable two-tiered vanilla strawberry cheesecake with five layers of internal frosting.

How good does this cake look? Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
How good does this cake look? Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au


"I think the vendors were shocked at how fast the food went. There was a stage when the food wasn't even making it to the tables - people were just grabbing it as soon as it was ready, coming straight up to the tents because they wanted more," she said.

"We thought the grazing table was enormous and not going to get eaten - but it was gone in 15 minutes.

"Some of our harshest critics came up and said they loved the food, and how wrong they were. Others said the chicken was the best chicken they'd ever had - and it obviously wasn't chicken.

"We also got really great reviews about the dim sims and eggy bacon rolls - everyone loved them!"

Dessert time. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
Dessert time. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au

 

A whole wall of doughnuts. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au
A whole wall of doughnuts. Picture: www.beherebenow.com.au


Georgie's fashion and beauty on the day were also cruelty-free, with a custom-made wedding dress, and vegan cruelty-free hair and makeup products. The groomsmen's suits were also free of wool, with non-leather shoes. Even the photography was done by a fellow vegan couple at Be Here Be Now Photos and Film.

"It was just so important to us that our wedding reflected our values," she said. "It felt like a very soft nudging form of activism, rather than anything too political or in your face or disruptive."

Overall, the wedding - while controversial in its beginnings - had absolute rave reviews. A few guests are even considering taking the vegan plunge.

"It was exciting for us to know it was a big success, and that people genuinely loved it," Georgie said.

"At the end of the day, we all agree that we don't want animals to suffer - and if you show people it's easy to make the change, it just adds another reason why they should consider veganism.

"Even now, eight weeks later, we're still getting messages it was the best wedding they've ever been to, with non-vegan friends saying how good the food was, and asking for the vendors because they wanted to eat there again.

"My one regret is wishing I could go back and eat more."



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