Jessica & Justin’s Vegan Wedding at the Hoover Y Park

* Jessica, Academic Librarian & Justin, Columbus Alive Editor * Photographer: Shino Omura * Soundtrack for reading: “The Offering” by The Avett Brothers *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A sweet, homemade wedding with all of the perfect touches of a fall Midwestern day.

The Info—Photographer: Shino Omura / Venue: Hoover Y Park / Food: Wellness Foods Forum / Coordinator: Tiffany McGough of Every Event Elegant / Baked Goods: Pattycake Vegan Bakery / Flowers: EcoFlora / Music: Roma Celt Collision / Jessica’s Dress: Vera Wang purchased at David’s Bridal on super sale / Jessica’s Headpiece: Mignonne Handmade / Jessica’s Shoes: / Guest Book: Blue De Toi / Table Numbers: Dear Bella Girl / Table Seating: Joanna Blake HillCake Topper: LaDawn Elaine / Wedding Madlibs: Sweet Potato Shop / Lavender Seed: Plantables and Paper

Other cool stuff we should know about: Much of this wedding could not have happened without the generous help of friends and family. We loved our venue, but because it was a YMCA campground and park. We had virtually no help from the venue, so it was very DIY.

Every single vendor we used was local, and three of them were within four blocks of one another. It was important for us to celebrate local and environmentally friendly businesses. We purchased the flowers from EcoFlora and had a close friend and previous florist make the centerpieces. All of our food was vegan and catered by Wellness Foods Forum in Worthington, Ohio. Del Shroufe, executive chef, just published the official cookbook of the film Forks Over Knives. Our cake, cookies, and brownies were provided by Pattycake Vegan Bakery. Our coordinator put up all the decorations with the help of the wedding party, and we had a local celtic trio play during the ceremony and cocktail hour.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Jessica is originally from Florida and Justin from Ohio, so it was such an honor to have friends and family travel from all over the country (and as far as Australia!) to be with us on our special day. The wedding would never have happened were it not for the love and support of our friends and family.


Featured Sponsored Content

  • Kate

    I love the photo of the groom waiting at the altar with the officiant! Such obvious joy :)

  • Yay for Buckeye weddings! Everyone looks so happy!

  • This is so beautiful. Pretty, relaxed, gorgeous. I’m curious though, I know that having your wedding at the YMCA campground and park was very DIY. Did they look at you strangely when you requested it? Does anyone have tips for making a wedding work at an “unusual” location? It seems like something that may be hard to do…

    • Jess

      Not at all. :) This park does have quite a few weddings during the warmer months and was very accommodating. They just don’t provide any assistance in the set-up or tear-down process and we had to provide EVERYTHING ourselves. The caterer worked through a rental company to get chairs, linens, dishes, etc. and we hired a coordinator to handle decorating, set up, etc. Although it was a lot of work, venues like this are MUCH less expensive and we could bring in our own alcohol and food, so it was certainly the best option for us. If you are the type of bride who doesn’t mind doing a lot of the work, parks like this can be perfect. :)

  • Stacy

    Hey, this is where we’re having our reception on May 26th! I’m so happy to see how nice the Optimist Lodge looks when it’s all decorated!

  • So gorgeous! Looks like such a fun day, and you can just sense the ease and love from these awesome pictures. The fall colors have me drooling, too . . . we’re getting married this November in Maryland, and I’m really hoping some of those oranges and reds hang on for our big day! Autumn is hands-down my favorite season.

  • Emily

    I love this wedding especially because it was vegan! My husband and I are vegans, and we really wanted to have a veg wedding. What we ended up with was an almost-veg wedding. Although my husbands parents didn’t care one little bit, I met endless opposition from my side of the family, including my vegetarian mom. It became too much of an issue, and eventually we had to settle for one meat option at dinner. As a fellow Midwesterner, I’m so happy to see a successful vegan wedding in a place that can be so afraid of alternative lifestyles! Yay!

    • I am not a vegan but I eat vegan/vegetarian a lot (mostly because it is cheaper and easier). I also have friends who have a myriad of dietary issues: glutton free, dairy-free, Kosher, vegan, vegetarian, etc. So I am very comfortable with working around people’s dietary requirements.

      However, I have some issues with making people eat vegan if they aren’t used to it. I understand wanting to eat the entire menu at your own wedding, but I’ve heard too many stories of people who went to vegan weddings, were starving the entire time, and went out to get a burger afterwards. My parents went to an all-vegan wedding of a distant relative in the midwest (my dad grew up with the bride’s mother so they’re close to the parents). It was an elegant, black-tie affair, the bride and groom and presumably some of their friends were vegan but no one else was, and my dad texted me a photo of the menu because he was really incredulous about the whole thing. My parents are very liberal and accepting of alternative life styles. They aren’t huge carnivores. They eat pretty healthily–lots of vegetables and salads and legumes; they’re not overweight, they’re not gluttons. But all they told me afterwards was that: “It was a nice wedding but the menu was weird and we were STARVING.” Evidently the went out for burgers afterwards with a significant number (20+ people) of friends and relatives who felt similarly.

      So, maybe I’m in the minority here. I understand that you have to do what makes you comfortable, I get that. But I think that it is important to be aware of your guest’s needs; if you are having a sit-down dinner for your wedding and people are leaving hungry then you’re not taking very good care of your guests. And so many people just aren’t used to having vegan food–I’d be worried that I was sending people home hungry…and as a good Jewish girl who just wants everyone to be well fed and happy, that would horrify me.

      (I am not at all saying that this was the case at the wedding above, btw, which looked like a lovely and happy time and the setting is gorgeous–I’m just saying, this is what I have heard from non-vegans who have attended vegan weddings, and these are just my feelings about the whole thing. Considering I am going to have a large range of dietary issues, from Kosher to glutton-free, at my wedding, I have a fine line to walk).

      • Cleo

        I don’t know what the food was like at that wedding, but there are plenty of not-strange, not-health food types of vegan food. While you could have millet and tempeh teriyaki with goji berries (or something) at one vegan wedding, there’s also the potential for stuffed shells, vegan moussaka (pine nut cream, zucchini, potato, and eggplant), pad thai, falafel, grilled portabella mushrooms, etc., etc., etc.

        I don’t know what sort of vegan catering options everyone has, but my point is that there’s a way to do it where omnivores are eating familiar, tasty, and filling foods that happen to not have animal product in them. So there’s a way to think about your guests’ needs without just giving them the standard meat-starch-vegetable plate.

        This is especially relevant to me because my partner is vegan for moral reasons and would feel extremely uncomfortable serving non-vegan food at our prospective/future wedding.

      • Emily

        I understand that it is important to care for your guests, but I don’t think serving one meal that is meatless qualifies as not caring for your guests, and it certainly doesn’t mean they will leave hungry! I’m sorry your folks experienced that. The vegetarian menu we had planned included only “normal” foods that also happened to be meatless, like veggies and hummus apps, and a risotto for dinner. My feeling about the situation was this: I would not serve meat if I was having any of my wedding guests over for dinner. It felt wrong to serve it at the wedding. Anyway, we had meat at the wedding and people DID go home hungry. This had nothing to do with the presence of vegetables and everything to do with a caterer not doing their job right,

      • Maddie

        I think there are ways to send people home hungry with ANY kind of menu, restrictions or not.

      • Jess

        I understand your concern, and being a vegan, I have left almost EVERY wedding hungry :)

        That being said, we went to great lengths to make sure our food was accommodating. We served Veggie Potpies (which tasted just like mom used to make) for those who might be less adventurous, and Leek and Pine Nut Tarts for others. We also had tofu parmesan fingers (which were a hit), walnut and olive pate, and of course, salad and veggies. No one complained to me about the food, but I did get a lot of thumbs up. I have to say it was the best wedding food I’ve had, and I attribute that to our awesome caterer. I also had several people say the vanilla cupcakes were the best they ever had :)

        I agree, it can be difficult to make sure everyone leaves happy, but in the end, my husband and I had to be true to ourselves and that meant that no animals were harmed in the making of our wedding. :)

      • I am neither vegan nor vegetarian (though my fiance is vegetarian and we are planning a vegetarian pizza wedding with some vegan options) but I do know that it is possible to have a delicious, filling vegan meal. That did sound like an instance of poor catering, but vegan =/= go home hungry.

        Our plan is to get a bunch of different kinds of delicious veggie pizzas and also have a local caterer make some tasty vegetarian and vegan side-dishes. However, though we will ask our guests to let us know if they have any special food needs (allergies, celiac, etc.) we aren’t going to make a big deal out of not having meat. If people are just expecting dinner and you give them delicious and filling food, they are less likely to even ponder the absence of meat. If you prepare them for vegetarian/vegan and they have negative preconceptions of what that means, they might psyche themselves into being disappointed.

  • Optimist Lodge- the name alone sounds like a perfect place to celebrate your marriage! Such a sweet, joyful wedding. Congratulations!

  • This is gorgeous! And I LOVE your tattoo. Congratulations!

  • What a gorgeous wedding and lovely venue! And the bride’s tattoo on her arm of the tree? Amazing!! LOVE it!

  • Ashley

    Holy fuck that is beautiful (my actual first thought upon seeing these). Also, fellow glasses-bride, hayyy!

  • Frances

    Oh, I love your wedding, in fact I think I love everything about: your dress and how happy you all look, and that you didn’t cover up your tattoo (which is a ridiculous suggestion I read on a couple of websites) and your vegan cake and food :) It’s lovely and cheers to you for doing it your way :)

    Added after reading Ashleys comment: And horray for wearing glasses and looking pretty :) Why does the wedding industry always tell us that we need to wear lenses to look AMAZING on our wedding day???

  • Amy

    I love all the bridesmaids dresses! As in, I want to own them all because they’re so pretty!

    How were they chosen, if you don’t mind my asking?

    • Jess

      I actually gave the girls a swatch of the colors they could choose from and everyone decided among themselves what color they’d wear. Then I let them pick whatever they wanted! A couple of them got their dresses on Modcloth. The only rules I gave them were they had to be knee-length. I was SO pleased at how awesome it came out! They all looked beautiful. :)

  • Beth

    Hey! I was a bridesmaid in this wedding. I can attest to the fact that the food was AMAZING! There was plenty to choose from. I left over-full, even after a few hourse of doing the hustle. Jess did an amazing job, was a gorgeous bride, and will be planning my wedding (should I ever get married). She just doesn’t know that last part yet.
    Kudos to Shino for the gorgeous pictures!

  • Hey! That’s an awesome wedding. And? Mandolin!

  • I am bookmarking this to show to my fiance. We’ve been having long talks about what he and the guys will wear at the wedding, and I’ve been trying to work him past the idea that everyone is required to match and dress super formally with tuxes, or at the very least with suits and ties.

    Frankly, I don’t have any specific notions of how I want everyone to look. I just want everyone to be comfortable. It will be a summer solstice wedding (so possibly rather warm) and at a children’s museum (so people might want to be able to move around and have fun in their clothes). I know he actually *hates* ties, but he’s had it drilled into him that this is just the way things are done. (And who says that the WIC only effects the way women think?)

  • Jerri

    Absolutely beautiful!!! I am getting married at this very location on Oct 12th. How many guests were there and did you have a DJ? If you had a DJ, where did they set up at?

    • Jess

      Hi Jerri, sorry if this too late of a response but I just saw it! We did have a friend act as DJ for us and he set up in the top left loft area, over the men’s restroom. We had about 96 guests :)