The Ultimate Guide To Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings:
Part 4, Catering

Photo by: Jessica the Photographer

If you read part three of this series, you know that the latest issue of New Orleans Weddings Magazine (on newsstands until the end of February 2020) includes our editorial Eco-Luxe: Make an Impact with Less Impact!  The concept with this shoot was to show that you can still have the gorgeous, luxe wedding of your dreams while still being conscientious.  To go along with that, part four of this series is going to focus on catering and also delve deeper into some of the aspects of the editorial.

While the Eco-Luxe editorial focused on vegan options, we know that not all of our clients are looking to host a fully vegan wedding.   For couples who are looking for locally sourced goods, whether they are vegan or not, this is something that most caterers can accommodate, including local favorite Black Pearl Catering who works intimately with clients & local vendors to source fresh, seasonal ingredients for their beautiful dishes.

Toulouse Gourmet Catering is another local catering company that loves to create custom menus for their clients and at one of our weddings with them recently, they created these stunning oyster shooters for the cocktail hour along with local beer & liquor selections (more on that later)!

Photo by: Eau Claire Photographics

For the editorial, we worked with Marie’s Fleur De Lis Catering to create a fully vegan menu.  They are a 3-star Certified Green and Woman Owned caterer & using their extensive resources and experience, they create delightful menus for fabulous events in the finest locations New Orleans has to offer.

Photo by:  Jessica the Photographer

While creating the menu, we based items off things they offer as well as some of our own personal favorites.

Photo by:  Sarah Alleman Photography

We featured a vegan “charcuterie” with some of our favorite items, all sourced from Vegan Essentials including:

Cavi-art Black and Orange Vegan Caviar Alternative: This unique alternative to caviar is made from seaweed, but looks and tastes like real caviar.

Orange Zest + Aleppo Pepper Fig Salami by Hellenic Farms: This vegan salami is made with premium dried figs, Aleppo peppers and dried fruits and nuts to mimic the taste and texture of traditional salami.

Vegan Smoked Salmon by Sophie’s Kitchen: Made with konjac root, an ancient superfood, this vegan smoked salmon has all the flavor of traditional smoked salmon but in plant-based form!

Strawberry Balsamic Artisan Cheese by Reine Royal Vegan Cuisine (available flavors vary): Try this seasonal, artisan cashew cheese and experience all the flavor you’re expecting from a traditional white cheddar, but without soy, diary, gluten or GMO ingredients! This cheese is blended with a strawberry balsamic reduction and accented with black pepper.

Cracked Pepper Dill Artisan Cheese by Reine Royal Vegan Cuisine: Perfect as a spread on crackers or crispy bread, this vegan cheese has notes of chives, dill and cracked black peppercorns with the tangy flavor you expect from aged dairy cheese.

We completed the board with crisp breadsticks and a selection of dried fruits and nuts. 

Photo by: Jessica the Photographer

The appetizer for the editorial was another favorite of ours, a seared “scallop” crafted from king oyster mushrooms which Marie’s Fleur De Lis Catering paired with a spicy soy glaze and pickled vegetables.  They then crafted a harissa cauliflower steak for the entree that was herb crusted and topped with a spicy harissa served over farrow with grape tomatoes and fresh basil.  For dessert, they served a strawberry chia pudding which blended coconut milk with fresh strawberries & chia seeds topped with whipped coconut cream.

In addition to the chia pudding, we also featured a vegan wedding cake by the amazing Shake Sugary, whose vegan options are as decadent as non-conscientious flavors.  One of their most popular vegan flavors is the Chocolate Raspberry Ganache:  chocolate cake spread with raspberry preserved and filled with raspberry buttercream and rich dark chocolate ganache.

We also featured escort cards for the editorial that were vegan macarons from the amazing Grey Bird Baking Co. which also offers gluten free options as well.

For the drinks, we substituted aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid) for the egg whites to get that beautiful foam underneath the beverage branding provided by Quianta Treats.  They can be printed with anything you like, are edible & last for up to half an hour in any hot or cold beverage.  The second drink we did was a coconut milk based drink with edible rose petal pieces sprinkled on top.  Try one of our drink recipes below:

Vegan Pink Lady
1 1/2 ounces of gin
1/2 ounce applejack
1/2 ounce lemon juice
A few dashes of grenadine
A small amount of aquafaba drainked from a can of chickpeas

Shake all ingredients together until the level of foam is desired.  If you want more foam, add more aquafaba & shake again.

Vegan Floral Coconut Crush
2 ounces floral gin (such as Hendricks, which is vegan)
1 ounce cream of coconut
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water

Shake with ice or serve on the rocks.  Garnish with edible flowers or crushed edible rose petals, which are often available at international markets or World Market in the spice section.  Hint:  we like to crush the petals a bit more after purchasing them from World Market so the pieces are very small.

Sourcing local alcohol & beer options is easy to do & is not only eco-friendly but you are also supporting local businesses & providing your guests with a fun taste of the city you are getting married in.  Local companies such as Cocktail+Creative can create customized bar packages to focus on this & create an unbelievable, one of a kind experience for your guests.   Since you know we love interactive & production elements, at one of our recent weddings, Quinn from Cocktail+Creative even made custom liquid & jello shots for our guest welcome area in addition to a potion bar where mini vials of “potions” were mixed together, changed colors & then could be consumed by the awed guests.  If you love this idea & want vegan jello shots, you can use agar or pectin as a vegan gelatin alternative.

If you are concerned about other vegan drink options, this is typically not something that is indicated on the packaging so you may have to reach out to the maker to ask about their clarifying & filtering process & whether animal products such as egg whites or fish bladders are used.  Another option is to go to a website such as Barnivore or to search for vegan alcoholic options.

In addition to asking your caterer to source local ingredients, there are some other ways you can be eco-conscious as well.    Ask about using chaffing dish fuel such as Sterno Green Heat or Greenscapes BioFuel.  Many certified green caterers also use earth friendly cleaning products & are open to helping reduce waste by composting scraps or donating extra food to local food banks or shelters.

If your caterer needs information on donating extra food, they can partner with the Second Harvest Rescue Runner program in the New Orleans area or Meal Connect in other parts of the country.

Check back in for our next blog post where we finish up this series: the Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings & make sure to sign up for our email list with news, helpful tips & notifications on upcoming blog posts!