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July 13, 2007

Love is in the air at Vegetarian Times: Three staffers, including myself, will be getting married in early September. It wasn’t planned that way, but we’ve been sharing our planning tips with one another. My fiancé, Jonathan, and I have both been veg for years, so we assumed that no one would be surprised that our reception food would be vegan. But when we started planning, we got an earful from family and friends as well as potential caterers.

My well-meaning (and truly veg-supportive) mom spent months begging me to consider at least including a seafood entrée option. “Some vegetarians eat fish,” she insisted, ticking off the names of some “pescatarians” we know. “That’s fine for them,” I replied. “I seriously don’t care what other people put in their bodies, but I don’t want the reception to smell like fish.” A few weeks later, one last-ditch appeal to change my mind: “Ok, a nice shrimp cocktail appetizer, at least?” My mom’s family is from New England, and I know her worries stem from concern that the guests all enjoy their meals, not judgment about my diet choices.

I calmly joked to my mom that the menu would consist of a simple entrée of tofu with tofu sauce. “Everyone will love it!” I said. She was mildly amused, but I knew that the reception food would have to be fabulous and not scary for those used to choosing between beef and chicken.

A member of our wedding party regarded us blankly upon hearing the news. “Oh,” he said. “So what will the nonvegetarians eat?” Caterers were similarly concerned: One shook her head and recommended that we “at the very least include a nice chicken breast.”

Fortunately, we managed to secure our top-choice caterer, one of our favorite restaurants here in Los Angeles. Real Food Daily helped us come up with an omni-friendly menu: roasted vegetable lasagna or a polenta stack with roasted vegetables and tomato coulis, plus a variety of delicious vegan cupcakes. I just know people will love the food, and a number of our guests have already told us how much they’re looking forward to it. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I have a feeling it’ll prove what we already know: that no animal needs to die for us to fill our bellies with tasty food, or for Jonathan and I to celebrate our love.

— Lisa Barley, associate editor/web editor

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