Is Bringing Your Own Vegan Food to a Wedding Tacky?
A recent Facebook post has the internet divided over whether or not vegans should be able to bring their own food to weddings.
If you are vegetarian or vegan and were on social media this weekend, there's a chance you’ve heard about the girl who was wedding-shamed for bringing her own vegan food to her former roommate's wedding. Like the rest of the internet, you may have some major feelings one way or another.
On the one hand, having food restrictions of any kind (whether allergy, health, or lifestyle-based) can make public occasions a nightmare. No one wants to sit in front of a plate of food they can't eat. On the other hand, the photo evidence of this woman's behavior (from a box of dates at the ceremony to plastic containers of food at the reception), is just, well, weird.
Here's what happened: According to a wedding guest, another wedding guest (and attendee of the bride’s bachelorette party) drew attention to herself during the entire celebration. She "wreaked havoc" during the bachelorette party—shaming others for eating animal products and bringing her own containers of food out to eat—even though the bride picked restaurants with vegan options. She even brought containers of meals and snacks to the wedding despite food being available specifically for her at the reception.
Now, I'm a fellow vegan, and have been to and in many weddings since deciding to adopt a plant-based diet five years ago, so I get the struggle. I do. But I have some beef (of the Impossible Foods variety, of course) with this girl and the way she handled this situation as a friend and vegan. Here are my biggest problems with her behavior, and some (polite) suggestions for how she could have handled things:
Problem #1: The bride was extremely accommodating, and the guest still chose to be difficult
A wedding guest shared on the popular Facebook group, “That’s it, I’m wedding shaming” that the bride ordered a special vegan meal just for this wedding guest, and the guest still chose to bring her own meal—in a now-viral Tupperware container. The bride also sought to be sensitive to this guest’s needs on her bachelorette weekend by finding a vegan-friendly restaurant for her wedding party to go to and even let this guest take a pass on chipping in because the rest of the party was eating non-vegan snacks and meals throughout the weekend.
The woman brought her own meal to the (again, vegan-friendly) restaurant and “vegan-shamed” the other women in the bachelorette party all weekend long for enjoying foods like pepperoni pizza—apparently using words like “slaughter” and “murderers.”
You do you girl, but there's not need to force our dietary habits on anyone else. We vegans know how it feels to have people grill us on our choices—like whether we get enough protein—why do that to anyone else?
If I’m going to be dining out a new restaurant with a large group, I always look up the menu beforehand online to see if there are some decent vegan options. If I don’t see anything, I call the restaurant beforehand and see what my options are.
Nine times out of ten they will come up with something you can eat. So there's no call to bring your own food. But more importantly, eating with my friends is about being social! You can eat a snack before or after to supplement if the restaurant isn’t accommodating or nothing on the menu strikes your fancy. And dining out with friends (especially before a wedding) is not the time to share facts about slaughterhouses. Let your friends enjoy their steak.
Problem #2: The guest drew waaaay too much attention to herself
Besides her disastrous behavior at the bachelorette party, this woman was conspicuously carrying around a box of dates at the wedding ceremony, and even toted her dinner in a Tupperware container to the reception.
Okay. Yes. It’s important to make sure you will be adequately nourished if you are going to be at an event for hours on end—especially if alcohol is involved. But there are much better ways to go about it than wandering around with a giant plastic container of food all night like it’s a bouquet.
The post was littered with pictures of the wedding guest holding various containers. I’m sure she could have coordinated with a bridesmaid or planner (please don’t make the bride stress over this) about a place to stash her food, and she didn't need to bring it to the ceremony—she wasn’t popping medjool dates during the vows! Unless you’re a grumpy ring bearer or flower girl, you do not need food with you during a wedding ceremony.
If you absolutely have to have something with you at all times, choose something that can fit in a purse, like a nutrition bar. A girl holding her entire dinner in a see-through container at a wedding is asking for attention—and drawing it away from the bride.
I completely understand the decision to bring your own food. The “vegan option” at weddings or restaurants can often be bland or too low in calories to be considered a meal. I have no idea what she was going to be served at the reception, but if she was taken to a nice restaurant with several vegan options at the bachelorette party and still turned up her nose, it sounds like nothing would have been good enough.
But for most of us vegans, it's not that big of a deal. I have been pleasantly surprised by the options at most of the weddings I’ve been in or to—and one of the best meals I had was in Missouri—not a state you think of as a hotbed of veganism!
The problem here isn’t that this wedding guest was vegan but that she used her dietary restrictions to draw attention to herself and attempt to shame others for not having the same beliefs. It’s especially unfortunate that the bride tried to accommodate to her needs and she still acted out.
Whether you’re vegan, keto, or have other dietary restrictions, I’m all for taking matters into your own hands if you feel you won’t have adequate options at a wedding. Just please do it with some class. A wedding should be about the two people getting married not one person's diet.