weddings

Masa and Michael had a minimalist vegan wedding. You can too.

A minimalist vegan wedding might sound like an oxymoron, and a (hunger-inducing oxymoron at that).

But, bloggers Masa and Michael Ofei have shown the world it is not only possible, but also a beautiful, memorable and delicious way to celebrate the union of two, very uncluttered and environmentally conscious, souls.

“Our journey into minimalism started around three years ago, and we take a simple approach to life,” Masa said. “It’s not only about what you own, or the materialistic things, but also a mindset or philosophy to life. You prioritise what’s important, spend time on activities that are valuable, and are careful with the people you spend time with.”

This philosophy was evident in every aspect of Masa and Michael’s wedding. There were no ‘unnecessaries’ – no bridal party, no professional hair and make-up, no stylists, no live music, no caterers – and the union of the couple was prioritised.

As for the people Masa and Michael had around them? A ‘no partners/no children’ policy maintained the minimalist ideal and ensured the guests in attendance were the exact people Masa and Michael wanted to be there. There were 63 guests in total.

“We aimed to have 50 people – that list expanded as time went on – which wasn’t really our doing, more for our family. ‘If you invite that person, you need these people’ etc. etc.,” Masa said. “The most difficult part was drawing that line. And we did feel guilty abut that at times. We offended a couple of people, and had to explain why partners weren’t invited.”

“Some might think we were arrogant and selfish in deciding on the guest list, but we didn’t want our wedding to become a huge event that didn’t reflect us at all.”

The invitations themselves were also ‘minimalist’. Masa emailed a website link to people, where they could RSVP to the wedding and view photographs after the big day. This kept costs down (the website cost around $100.00) and also avoided the materialism of physical invitations.

Invitations and RSVP to Masa and Michaels's wedding were through a dedicated website. No physical invitations necessary.

For the ceremony and the reception, Masa hunted for a venue that would allow self-catering and was surrounded by nature. A 15-20 minute ceremony (with Masa and Micheal saying their self-written vows) was followed by a buffet dinner with cutlery, plates and wine glasses borrowed from a friend.

Creativity was a big part of the wedding day, with Masa's father making the wooden stands for table cards, and bunches of seasonal flowers in small glass vases around the table. The only thing Masa and Micheal had to hire for the ceremony and reception were the chairs.

"You have to be creative, and you can't be afraid to buy or borrow second-hand," Masa said. "We spent around $12,000 of our wedding, and we paid for everything ourselves."

Masa and Michael’s ceremony was "simple and laid-back".

The wine was organic and the food was an important part of Masa and Michael's wedding. As a couple who are "strong-headed" when it comes to ethics; dedicated to conscious eating, with organic and fair trade ingredients; and who run a blog that regularly posts vegan recipes, they saw the wedding as an opportunity to celebrate healthy, nourishing, ethical, vegan food.

"We wanted to showcase how great vegan food can be," Masa said. "People were a bit shocked at first that it was an all vegan wedding. But why would we serve dead animals at the celebration of our marriage, when it doesn't align with our values?

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Masa's sister did a lot of the catering for the big day. This was an offer Masa originally refused - because she wanted her sister to enjoy the day without having to work - but, as the date drew closer, and Masa was still having trouble finding a suitable vegan caterer, her sister insisted on coming to the rescue.

"We were originally going to have the wedding catered, but the quotes were unbelievable. There is also not much choice with catering with vegan food where we live. We found a lot of places only did canapés, or not enough quantity," Masa said. "My sister works at a restaurant cafe and with a catering company. She offered to help, and I originally said 'no', but finally agreed when I was running out of options. Looking back, I really should not have put so much pressure on her to do such a big job."

A week before the ceremony, Masa did outsource the curries, as her sister wasn't "100% confident in delivering these".

Vegan cheeses and locally-sourced fresh produce.

Sourcing the vegan ingredients for their wedding wasn't as difficult it first appeared. Masa travelled to Sydney from Canberra to find the best vegan cheeses, and used her local farmers' market to supply the fresh produce.

"We are at the farmer’s market every Saturday, and I talk to these farmers every week so I organised to pick up the ingredients a few days before the wedding," Masa said. "The whole thing ended up being much cheaper than any of the catering quotes. I would guess the food, all up, cost us around $1,500."

So how did the guests respond to a dinner that was completely free of animal products?

"Everyone loved it," Masa said. "We had several people telling us, 'if I could have this food everyday, I would be vegan too'."

"We also had heaps of food left over, and gave food to as many people as we could before going on our honeymoon. In hindsight, we should have had take-away containers at the wedding."

"If I could eat like this everyday..."

By sticking to a minimalist mentality, and bypassing the luxuries that you would receive (and pay for) with traditional catering or a specific wedding venue, Masa and Micheal were required to get their hands dirty.

"You have to be willing to work. We were there setting up the day before the wedding, and the morning of the wedding, and packing up the day after,' Masa said. "You need to accept that you won't have someone cleaning the plates and washing up for you - you have to do all that. Just be mindful you have to clean, and plan for this in advance."

And it doesn't stop there. Masa's minimalist approach to possessing only what she needs, and nothing that she doesn't, has seen her sell or pass on everything she used for her big day - including her wedding dress.

What's Masa's advice for anyone else looking to have a minimalist vegan wedding?

"Be sentimental but practical. Think outside the square, and ask yourself 'how can I do this in a way that's a little bit different, but still beautiful (and that also doesn't cost half a house deposit)?'," Masa said. "Don't be afraid to buy things second hand, and let people be involved."

"We never wanted a big, traditional wedding. Our wedding was everything we wanted it to be, while still reflecting our philosophy and way of life."

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