Choosing a vegan honeymoon venue is not an easy task. Ours was made easy by the simple fact that our big fat vegan wedding had no legal validation, and we had to have another ceremony in order to be legally recognized as a married couple.
Cyprus seemed to be the easiest, most hassle free destination, and so we were off for 5 days of wedding/ vacation on the Mediteranean island.
Choosing your venue wisely
Looking back at our decision, choosing to get married and spend our honeymoon in Cyprus as a vegan couple might not have been the best idea, or at least should have been planned a bit better. Being the city girl that I am, I have never been exposed to farm lands and I did not realize what I might be exposed to.
On our way to get married at the town hall a truck full of pigs being led to slaughter passed us by. This was my first encounter with animals on the brink of death. They were crammed in, one on top of the other, their faces squeezed against the bars of the truck. The sight was unbearable. I wanted to scream, I wanted to stop the truck and free them, I wanted to shout for the world to hear, to get the world to acknowledge what is happening. But all I could do was cry.
Tip number one: try to minimize the chances of getting upset on your wedding day. I know these things are unpredictable, and in today’s society the cruelty to animals surrounds us, but even vegans deserve a break. Especially on their wedding day… So if you think you’re likely to encounter upsetting scenes, make sure you invest in some waterproof mascara and hide a few tissues in your dress.
Hotels, B&Bs and others in between
While staying on the island as part of our vacation, it quickly became apparent that we had entered ‘No Vegans Land’!
The realization that we were going to have it rough came on our very first day on the island: our hotel did not have even one vegan option on the menu. Not for lunch, not for dinner, not for snacks in the bar or restaurant. None. Every single option on the menu was drowning in either dead animals, dairy or eggs.
After talking to the person in charge of the restaurant on our first night, they agreed to make us a mushroom and olive oil pasta with their non-egg penne. Convinced that there must be something better out there, we promised to choose a different place to eat the following evening, and were comforted by the fact that breakfast will be amazing: soya latte, fresh fruit salad, antipasti veg and fresh breads galore, just like we are used to having back home. We were wrong…
Breakfast at our hotel centred around eggs, meat, cheese, butter and toast. A few chopped apples, whole grapefruits and some dubious looking baked beans were the only nod to healthy eating and the only vegan friendly options.
Tip number two: When choosing a hotel, enquire about their food options in advance. Research the local hotels to find the best option, or if possible choose a vegan B&B instead (they are popping up all over the place and are a fantastic alternative to the mainstream hotels). If vegan B&Bs are not at hand and the hotels do not provide a good alternative, try booking a self catering facility. The holiday villas outside our hotel all had sea-view and a private swimming pool, but you would have to be prepared to cook all your meals, or alternatively, have all of your meals out.
Size and popularity matter
I admit it. Scott and I made a newbie mistake. Thinking we did not want a touristy setting, we decided to book our holiday at the town of Larnaka, rather than dealing with the touristy buzz of Aya Napa. We did not consider the fact that the bigger a city is or the more touristy the setting, the more accommodating the place will be for a wide range of palates and preferences.
And so, after going from one restaurant to another, feeding on bread, chips, and what they would call salads (and we would call lettuce), we found ourselves dining in the only place where they actually had proper food: Larnaka’s Indian restaurant (thank goodness for vegan friendly Indian food).
We also quickly discovered where all the young people in the area hang out. We were walking down the street of Larnaka when the noise of loud teens became stronger and stronger, until we found ourselves surrounded by HUNDREDS of teens, sitting at tables eating from a two story branch of McDonalds. McDonalds??? Scott and I looked at each other puzzled. Does this evil place still exist? Who is allowing these children to eat here??? Yes. Our little bubble has been burst.
We ended up spending our last two days in Aya Napa. It might have been more touristy, but boy did we enjoy the food!
Tip number three: When you’re a vegan, size and popularity do matter. Unless you know where to go and what’s on offer at your destination (checking ahead for vegan restaurants in sites such as Happy Cow can definitely help), your safest bet will be to choose the places that have the most diversity and biggest crowds.
If you are in a place with no vegan options, don’t give up and try to make the most of things. This can be very easy if you just adopt an “asking” policy, which will not only help you, but will show business owners that there is a demand for cruelty free foods. Don’t see anything vegan on the menu? Offer ways that existing dishes could be veganized. One of the funniest moments for us was in Aya Napa, in a restaurant that offered wraps amongst other things, but none of them were vegan. When the waitress couldn’t help, we asked to call the manager, and after a few explanations, please, thank you and smiles, we got ourselves a yummy vegan wrap with pesto and grilled veg that looked and tasted divine. Funnily enough, after we got our dish, the table next to us asked the manager to order the same…
Don’t forget to have fun!
With all the prep, considerations and sometimes lack of food, it’s possible to get caught up in things and forget why you’re there. All and all Scott and I had a fantastic holiday that we will always remember. Not because of the food, and not because of the accommodation, but because of our love for each other.
More Vegan Wedding posts?