I was so excited when I was invited to my friend’s wedding in Southern Italy a couple of years ago. My friend was vegetarian and had been for many years, so he and his beautiful bride-to-be decided that they would have a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony but that in a slightly less traditional manner, they would have an entirely vegetarian reception!
So that’s how I came to be seated in a gorgeous courtyard at a beautiful chateau, where every single course (there were about seven in total) at dinner was vegan-friendly. For someone who had been to several weddings since going vegan well over a decade before, it was a brand-new experience to have the option of eating every single dish that came out. And I did eat them all!
Italians don’t do anything by halves, and the reception was no exception. The caterers had obviously gone to great lengths to ensure that the food would be enjoyed by everyone at the dinner—even though many of the guests weren’t vegetarian and were initially dubious about whether they would enjoy the experience. Not one course of the meal was boring, bland, or repetitive, as out they came with salads, breads, soups, pastas, and more.
The best thing about the entire evening (other than the massive amount of food that I was able to consume) was listening to the conversations around me as the meal progressed. Not only were people enjoying the fresh, locally sourced homemade vegetarian food, they were actually discussing how they could make similar dishes at home and how wrong their view of vegetarian food had been. In traditional fashion, there was dancing between every course—but not many of us could heave ourselves onto the dance floor after the first couple of dishes were served!
After the wedding, I thought about the decision that my friend had made to hold a vegetarian reception and realized that it had done so much more than just keep him and his vegan friends happy. What he had done was to take 200 or so people who would previously have never thought to eat a single meal without meat and made them reconsider their entire view of vegetarian food—without any pressure, lecture, or argument.
I thought I would share this story so that it could serve as an example to others, as it was to me, of how every decision we make and every action we take can help animals. Activating the activist inside us doesn’t have to be about how many hours we can spend directly helping animals or how much money we can afford to give to charity. By simply living a cruelty-free life and showing other people how easy it is to do the same, we can all make a far bigger difference than we realize.
Posted by Claire Fryer