The Most Beautiful Wedding in the World (and it was vegan!)
Rating: 5 million
About a year ago, we went to one of the ATL Vegan Drinks dinner meet-ups. We got there pretty early and only Brett, who organizes Vegan Drinks, and his girlfriend Emily, plus one other couple we’d never met had arrived so far. Since the whole point of these is to meet new people, we joined this mystery couple at their table. They introduced themselves as Jana and Travis. The questions of what do you do for a living and where in Atlanta do you live yielded some happy results. It turned out that not only did they live in our neighborhood, but they lived right down the block from us. The other thing? About jobs? They’re both archeologists. (I know!) I immediately pictured them running down a tunnel hotly pursued by a giant boulder, a la Indiana Jones. It turns out that archeology is more report writing and less boulder-outrunning, but still. It’s a cool job.
We asked them so many questions all night, and they took it in stride when I explained that it was really aliens who built all that stuff and they should just stop digging. (I may or may not have the first three seasons of Ancient Aliens on DVD.) So, our neighbors are not only vegans, but also archeologists, and as if they could possibly get any cooler, they like to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy a cold beer, too. We became fast friends. We were thrilled for them when they set their wedding date, and so honored to have been invited to share their day. As we started to get to know them, we realized Jana and Travis are one of those rare and amazing couples. They’ve been through a lot together and the love they have for each other is remarkable.
They love the neighborhood as much as we do, and they wanted their wedding to reflect that. The reception was held in the ballroom of the historic Highland Inn. When we passed it on the way to the ceremony, I almost burst into tears at the sight of the sign out front, congratulating them. The Inn was built in 1927 and is one of the most charming buildings in the area. You can almost see the ballroom filled with dancing couples from the hotel’s almost ninety-year history. Guests were given compasses with their table names on them as we entered. Each of the table names was significant to Jana and Travis. Ours was named “Pine Level” which was the site Jana did her thesis on. The invitations and table decorations all carried the same theme, and were reflective of their lives as archeologists.
Keeping it in the neighborhood, the catering was done by Soul Vegetarian, a vegan soul food restaurant which is conveniently, right next door to the Highland Inn. I may have let out an audible squeal when Jana told me they were planning to have them cater. The buffet was really quite something to behold and featured some of the best dishes from Soul Veg. There was BBQ Tofu, their famous salad with Prince Dressing (I could just put a straw in that stuff), corn salad, mac and cheese, stuffed peppers, lasagna, BBQ kalebone (seitan strips), greens, cornbread, carrot salad, and green beans. Yes, we had some of almost everything. I wish we’d had the presence of mind to take a photo of the buffet before everyone started eating, but we at least remembered to take pics of our plates. Other than the bride and groom, we were the only vegans there and all of the omnivore guests loved the food. It was great to see people step outside of their comfort zone and try food they normally wouldn’t. I think the favorite dishes were the mac & cheese and the tofu. And the cornbread.
The cake was from Dulce Vegan Bakery and Café. Instead of a traditional cake, they opted for an assortment of cupcakes, which were beautiful. And delicious. We had chocolate, but there were other flavors too, including carrot cake and vanilla. They also had a small cake top for the traditional cutting of the cake. Instead of a tiny bride and groom on the cake top, they had their initials, which was perfect. There was a slideshow of photos of Jana and Travis behind the cake table and I got choked up more than once at some of them.
We are so thankful to know this beautiful couple. They are our food truck partners in crime, our “let’s walk to the pizza place” cohorts, our carpool to Vegan Drinks buddies, but most importantly, they are our friends. (And our cat sitters. That’s really important, too.) We wish them a lifetime of love, laughter and joy. Thank you, Jana and Travis for your friendship and for the honor of sharing your wedding day with you. We love you guys.