I married him.
(Not just yet, but I will).
My absence from this blog recently has been in the most part due to my frenzy of organising after the lovely Buzz and I decided to get hitched. And the secrecy was because we were not yet engaged, and I wanted to be proposed to and he wanted to propose, so we were keeping it all under wraps. Instead of blogging, I spent my time caressing my wedding folder, emailing vendors and whipping myself into increasing fervour about bombonniere.
But now we’re official! He is my fiance and I am his fiancee. Without going into the teary details of the proposal, I will just say that it was perfect and meaningful and it rocked. And there is a rock.
Buzz also gave me the best present he could have on my 30th birthday when he said that he wanted to have vegan food at our wedding. This had been a little sore point for me, as early on our relationship I had made some sort of thoughtless generalised sweeping comment about it, inadvertently putting the omni Buzz onto a knife edge and asking him to do something he wasn’t yet comfortable with. I’d come to terms slowly with a compromise in my own head, reluctantly accepting that it was his wedding too. But blammo! Out of the blue on my birthday he said he wanted all the meals to be vegan. My heart went all butterflyey and pitter patter.
So as we embark on a planning a vegan wedding, I think this will become my fodder for the next year or so. There are of course a number of posts and blogs already which describe fantastic vegan weddings - not least of which is In The Mood For Noodles, when K and Toby had a potluck feast and hosted a truly brilliant reception - but as our wedding will be a bit more traditional, and really quite big at 150 guests, I think our trials and tribulations will be useful for any others planning an Offbeat Lite (as they say on Offbeatbride.com) wedding.
And so, Item the First!
The Grub & Booze
We were both on board with all vegan food, and as much of the alcohol as we could manage. Our first consideration was finding a venue that didn’t baulk at the idea of catering for 150 vegan meals, and more to the point, didn’t offer us a menu of salad - risotto - fruit salad.
This actually proved to be one of the most heartening aspects of all the organisation we did. Every single venue we contacted was very open to vegan meals and one of them - The Centre Ivanhoe - even prepared us an excellent sample menu before we went to inspect the venue. They will be using this on their website as an example of what they can do, so any couples looking for an Art Deco masterpiece should definitely contact them.
The other consideration was alcohol. We needed somewhere that could offer to either source vegan wine and beer for us from their own suppliers, or allow us to supply our own with minimal charge. The second option is much less desirable; the cost per head we were quoted to BYO was between $10 per bottle and $25 per head!
I had to come to a compromise on champagne. The only vegan champagne is Moet et Chandon, and maybe Veuve Clicquot, and our budget simply can’t stretch that far - and if it did I’d feel terribly wasteful. Our bridal table will have Moet - a girl has to have champers on her wedding day! - but I’m comfortable with something else being served to our guests and I would not be comfortable with not offering them champagne at all. Considering I had originally come to terms with a half omni menu, I think this a place I’m happy to rest.
In the end we inspected four venues whose capacity was adequate, and each of them was beautiful and extraordinarily accommodating about our needs. The Centre Ivanhoe, Quat Quatta and The Willows were all excellent and very helpful, and I would happily recommend them.
But in the end we chose the first place we visited, which set the benchmark for everywhere else. The Treasury Restaurant at the Sebel Hotel really captured us - it is an old bank now operating as a restaurant under a hotel , and the architectural virtues and sense of history really sealed the deal. The building is immaculately restored - nothing less glamorous than peeling paint - and offers the right balance between a sense of both spaciousness and intimacy that we want for our guests. We can hold the ceremony there (indoors is very important given it will be winter and evening!), then guests can head up to the mezzanine level for drinks and canapes while we get our photies, and then the reception will be held downstairs again. A bit of a change of scenery and no one (except us!) has to brave the dark and cold! And the best bit is that when the night is over, shoes are kicked off and eyes are closing, we can simply head to the lifts and be carried up to our room.