Love is not temporary but eternal. Countless couples getting married in 2020 have put their plans on hold and we’re still feeling that wave of weddings after three years of love and delayed ceremonies. Clearly, love is worth the wait.
We’re all ready to eat, dance, and grab a bouquet or garter tussle—but we want to keep it vegetarian. Many couples have a beloved Aunt Sally who will scoff at the “rabbit food” menu, or a Cousin William who will feel personally offended that the choice to eat buffet-style steak has been taken away from him. That’s why we called in the experts.
Suzy Silvestre of Chive Kitchen in Detroit, MI has catered vegetarian weddings and special events for years. She knows exactly what will please all types of wedding attendees – from a bridezilla to Aunt Sally and Cousin William. From appetizers to cake, here’s what to serve for a magical vegan wedding.
Make every guest happy
You’ve decided to host a completely vegan wedding—congratulations! Silvestre says you don’t have to advertise it, especially if you’re inviting a mixed partner. The food should speak for itself.
After enjoying a multi-course meal of balsamic roasted portabello steaks with sour cream and onion mashed potatoes, red wine demi-glace and caramelized onions, Caesar salad, cheesy baked mostaccioli and roasted seasonal vegetables, few guests will realize that a touch isn’t there. Meat or dairy graced their plates. Instead, they’ll be satisfied and curious about what was in that awesome mashed potato dish. Bonus: Unlike a heavy animal-based entree, your guests will feel light enough to walk the dance floor instead of sitting awkwardly at their assigned table after a plant-based meal.
Caterers like Silvestre’s focus on reducing flavor and appeal — not missing ingredients like butter or roasted chicken. “When we see our plated dinner service come back clean, we know we’ve hit the mark. I don’t stress about being vegan. The emphasis is on good food, creative food and good-looking food,” he said.
When asked about popular items served at weddings, Silvestre suggests that couples rely less on what’s routine and more on their unique party.
Think of foods and drinks that you have a passion for as a couple or your respective families. Do you want to nod to your mom’s famous holiday cheeseballs? Taco Tuesday marked on your calendar? Does your partner really want vegan lobster rolls at your Maine wedding? Work with it and let it guide your menu. A quality caterer should be able to pick up on your vision, likes and dislikes to create a spread that speaks to you as a couple.
Silvestre gave a few examples of custom wedding menus he has created. “I’ve created a vegan dinner that’s Wisconsin-inspired, a New Orleans-inspired dinner, as well as special and emotional individual dishes and cocktails for the family. I don’t want my clients to design the menu, I want to offer them something special that they didn’t know they could get,” he elaborates.
Must have hits
While the personalized menu will always resonate with the happy couple, there are certain edible items that will have all guests talking (and bridesmaids taking note whenever their special day arrives).
Portabello steak with the aforementioned sour cream and onion mashed potatoes is always a hit, according to Silvestro. It beckons a sense of a traditional wedding staple while adding plant-based ingredients i don’t know whats Testing Notes. Expanding on the mashed potato concept, Silvestre admits that guests can never seem to get enough of the spuds no matter the time of year. He suggests a mashed potato bar where guests can help themselves to a variety of flavorful toppings, from vegan cheese to fresh chives and more. Carbohydrates in general tend to be satisfying—pasta is also a “universal favorite,” says Silvestre.
Appetizers, buffet and plated dinners
Appetizers are a must to keep guests happy and engaged while the wedding party takes time to get the perfect picture. Personally, Silvestre loves the appetizer station. While he acknowledges that more variety means more money, multiple options enhance the guest experience and allow the food-loving couple to have fun choosing a variety of light bites.
When deciding on a buffet versus a plated dinner, Silvestre outlines the pros and cons of each. “I think guests can equally appreciate a buffet or plated dinner. A buffet is more affordable, and it allows guests to choose their items and fill their plates But there is something about a plated dinner that really makes one feel special and taken care of. We have a lot of requests for family-style dinners that include both buffet and plated. I find the family style fun and a little more affordable than Plated.
Time for dessert
We asked Silvestre about the popular cake flavors, and while he offered a few options, he reinforced the idea of customization … and ditched the traditional tiered cake altogether. Dessert stations are trendy, and like a buffet, they allow for more variety and guest interaction. To combine tradition with trend, Silvestre recommends ordering a small cake for a one-year anniversary and displaying a medley of sweet treats with a dessert station (which, of course, can include cakes in the form of cupcakes or slices).
Still hung up on the flavor of the cake, we sampled a few options from Silvestre. The strawberry basil, lemon-blueberry, mocha and carrot cake is popular with its signature creation: the pink squirrel. He assures us that it is completely vegetarian. Joy is a pink squirrel cocktail (crème de noix, heavy cream and white crème de cacao), inspired by a bride’s grandmother. While it may only be available at Chive Kitchen, it shows that you don’t have to go with the usual white-on-white with raspberry filling—get creative and see what your cake artist can come up with.
It comes down to the little things
Silvestre emphasizes that it’s the attention to detail and unique touches that elevate a wedding celebration. The forced marriage bias is indeed falling out of favor, but food-related takeaways are always appreciated. This caterer suggests giving away fancy mini wine bottles, chocolate truffles or bottle openers. “One can never have too many bottles or wine openers,” he reasoned. “And to keep it edible, a truffle or piece of chocolate is something everyone can be happy with.” Personally, we wouldn’t mind taking home a slice of cake as a favor. Cake-sized to-go containers or Tupperware are sure to be a hit if you plan to eat leftovers.
The small embellishments and intentional touches of each drink served and the appetizers enjoyed also help to enhance the guest experience. “A guest leaving the ceremony will begin by handing a small pink cocktail garnished with a rosemary sprig or fresh flower. The guest may not even know that a bit of decor brought them so much joy—they just know they had a great time,” Silvestre said.
Sample menu from Sol
After catering hundreds of weddings and events, we had to know what Silvestre would serve at his own shindig. He was not held back. The focal point will be a soul food station complete with vegan fried chicken sandwiches, coleslaw, hot sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, smoky collard greens, mac and cheese and Caesar salad. But she didn’t. A self-professed party-goer, Silvestre envisions multiple food stations to keep guests engaged. In addition to the soul food station, his event will offer a taco station, a carnival station of mini corn dogs and funnel cakes, a cold appetizer station with salads and canapés, a cocktail station with a wall of margaritas and a dessert station. Features “lots of sweets in different colors and shapes”.
What we make of it: Forget the flowers and blow the food budget. It’s much more fun.