Wedding dilemma!!! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-27-2014, 05:10 PM
 
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Wedding dilemma!!!

Hi

I'm new to the forum but have been searching for some ideas and answers from anyone that can help. I'm 29 and have been veggie all my life. My parents brought me up veggie and I spent 15 years or so of my life as a vegan but have let it lapse due to convenience (a terrible reason but the truth!) I asked my girlfriend to marry me and we have started talking about wedding plans a week or two later... Now for the problem... She isn't veggie but is very good generally with eating veggie around me etc but her parents and family are quite anti-vegetarian. She finds it difficult as they make snide comments about it and things have come to a bit of a head at the realisation that I don't want meat at my wedding. I try to compromise on matters that are less important but I feel very strongly about it. I'm reasonably thick skinned having grown up as about the only boy I've ever come across who is veggie or vegan and have had the usual witless and unintelligent remarks and have my own equally witless and unintelligent retorts! My fianc? feels stuck in the middle, I don't feel willing to compromise on my only one 'demand' and I find it hard to accept peoples unwillingness not to kill an animal for half a day. I feel like they are being incredibly selfish and lacking an sense of perspective on the matter. Am I being selfish? Should I give up on my morals for one day to make everyone else happy at the expense of my own happiness? How can I explain to them how hurtful and unreasonable it would be to expect me to have something at my wedding that I feel so passionately against? They are an otherwise warm and welcoming Christian family.

Any help or advice is warmly and gratefully received!

X
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#2 Old 12-27-2014, 05:51 PM
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Run, this is a really hard one and no one can tell you what you should do.

But be prepared for this... If you do decide to push the issue, you need to be prepared for some fallout. At the very least, her parents will likely make HER suffer; they may berate her and badmouth you to her. They could choose to make a "scene" at the wedding - don't discount that possibility. Years ago a friend married someone of another nationality and her mother had this snooty, unsmiling, nose-in-the-air look in every photo... which no one noticed, of course, until the photos were developed, at which time it was too late to re-take them. They are stuck with those photos forever. Her parents also could choose to distance themselves, not come to the wedding, or just be crappy in-laws for years to come, over the food. Also, depending on how close she feels to her parents, she may feel you are forcing her to choose between you and them - don't automatically assume she will choose you. Right, wrong or otherwise, her parents have been a part of her life for a lot longer than you have.

On the other hand, I get wanting to have all veg*n food at your own wedding. It would be my preference as well, but if I marry an Omni, it is an item that I, myself, am willing to compromise on, at least a little bit. But that is just me (and by golly I *will!!* have a Vegan wedding cake, if I have to bake it myself!).

One question - who is paying for the wedding/reception? If the two of your are paying it all yourselves, that gives you a whole lot more say over what is served, and they have a lot less room to argue. If you are not paying for it, I suggest you consider doing so because you automatically have more control. Another option: you could elope - that would probably hack everyone off but it would solve the problem very fast. Or you might suggest as a compromise: instead of offering a meal at the reception, just do (vegan) wedding cake and punch - no other food. This used to be very common for weddings.

If they won't go for that, then you have some decisions to make. Your feelings are, far and away, NOT the only consideration for this occasion. You need to factor in your fiancée's comfort level with her parents, and what your relationship with them may or may not be. If she does not feel comfortable pushing the issue with her family, then you will have to take a long hard look at the entire long-term situation and decide what you will be most comfortable doing - up to and including the two extremes of having meat/dairy at your wedding, or breaking up.
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#3 Old 12-27-2014, 06:13 PM
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You could try serving some of the faux "meat" alternatives at the reception and see if they're okay with that. Some of them are very 'realistic.' This seems likely to be an on-going issue, beyond just your wedding day, assuming your two families ever visit with each other.

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#4 Old 12-27-2014, 07:35 PM
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I guess when I got married, I didn't even occur to me to have all veg food as the lone veggie in the group. Our wedding was a reflection of both myself and my husband, so I personally would have found that a bit unfair to him (though he has always been supportive of my dietary preferences). My husband picked whatever meat he saw fit to BBQ and the rest were my favorite vegetarian dishes (we had a really casual get together at a lake and made everything, including the cake at home or they grilled on site). All the guests tried a bit of everything and there was no complaints about the overwhelming majority being vegetarian fare since there was also meat too. I also bit my tongue about him having champagne (I don't drink and have family that shouldn't be drinking either) or the fact he got all the guys big smelly cigars And to be perfectly honest, it really didn't matter that those elements were there at the end of the day. It wasn't a party for me, it was a celebration of both of us. Compromising in a marriage has to start somewhere, might as well be the wedding day.

I'll be blunt here, I think if your going to the trouble of having a full wedding, it should include elements of both the people getting married. If you are having it catered, why not offer a vegetarian (or vegan) option you choose and a meat option she chooses then let the guests pick which they'd like for their main dish (that way both families have something they can enjoy)? Then it would be a 'menu' that reflects both of you You could do any side dishes and cake or desserts vegan. If nothing else, in interest in keeping the peace with her family it might be wise to offer something they'd like, even if it's one meat dish to keep the peace. The kind of people who think veg/vegans are lunatics to begin with being subjected to all animal free foods may well cause unnecessary drama... Start off on the right foot with the in laws and make sure she gets to choose one thing on the menu without your personal dietary restrictions to consider.

Last edited by Kiwibird08; 12-27-2014 at 07:37 PM.
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#5 Old 12-28-2014, 09:17 PM
 
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Nothing says a wedding blessing like dead body parts right? :/

Honestly it's you guy's wedding, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks especially if you guys are the ones paying for it all. It would be one thing if it was your in-laws wedding, you would be the guest, but this is yours and I think they can survive one day without meat and if they cant then put on the invitations the menu so your guest can choose to eat before or during the wedding. Win win situation. There are tons of refreshing meals that can be served that everyone would love.
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#6 Old 12-29-2014, 05:45 AM
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If you are paying, I think they need to butt out entirely. It is you and your fiancé's wedding, not theirs.

If they are paying, I think it is fair to set a budget you two must live within and to have some limits on how you can spend their money. Maybe have opinions. But if my parents tried to dictate the details I would fight them....not that that they WOULD because they respect me as an autonomous grown up. But I think it would be fair to refuse to let you use the money for alcohol, for example, if that is a moral boundary for them. But to insist that you ADD something to the wedding over your moral objection that can be cost-neutral or even cheaper sounds wrong.

It's possible this is just ignorance talking and some education might help. Do they understand this isn't just a fad or New Years health kick you are on and now pushing on others, but that it is a lifelong commitment and an ethical issue for you? Help them see how many vegetarians feel about killing animals. It also might be a matter of not understanding what vegetarian food is like...maybe they imagine their SAD, minus the meat. Which leaves you what...a dry potato and a wilted iceberg lettuce salad? Maybe show them some great veg menu ideas that would please a carnivore, that won't make them worry about guests thinking the meal they paid for was inadequate or cheap. Even invite them to your house for a nice veg dinner and explain how you feel. Having a nice meal served at the wedding might be more important to them than having meat, and they might not realize vegetarian can be nice. I've had this issue with people coming to vegan dinner parties at my house, fearing they won't have a filling meal or it will just be raw carrots or something haha. They walk away amazed that my feast was vegan cuisine.

Finally, not to open a can of worms, but I do think you need to sort out some important things about the marriage before the wedding. This may be a symptom of that not having been done. For example, will you have meat in your home? At dinner parties you host? Who buys it? Who cooks it? Do the parents know the house rules and agree to abide if staying with you? If you have kids, will they be raised as vegetarians? Are they aware of that? Will they sabotage by sneaking them meat?

Furthermore, how much input do her parents think they get in your everyday life and decision making? Are they "over parenting" your adult fiancé? Why does she allow them to do that? Is this going to be a pattern, with her letting them steamroll or standing silently while they make nasty remarks about her husband and veto decisions you make together? That would concern me, to marry someone with that going on. And what about your ability to communicate with the new in laws about important things to you? This might be a time to begin that process by getting her out of the middle and having a conversation with the people who will become your new family. Not a confrontation--that should be their daughters job if it comes to that. But a respectful and open conversation about your values and childhood is very reasonable.


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#7 Old 12-29-2014, 05:53 AM
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Romans 4:15 might be relevant here too, since they are Christians.
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#8 Old 12-29-2014, 06:22 AM
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There is one factor I had forgotten about that may be a concern for your in-laws (possibly)... And that is the quality of some veg meals you see at catered events. The first veg meal I ever had at a catered event was at a wedding. The food at the wedding was standard banquet food (chicken or something, I forget) and the couple specially ordered a veg meal for me and a few others. We got a plate of microwaved vegetables with a small half of a dry baked potato. That was it. No topping, no sauce of any kind, not even a sprig of parsley to make it look pretty. I could not even eat the salad because it came with ranch dressing on it. If your in-laws have seen this happen to anyone, they may be (rightfully) afraid this is what is in store at your potentially-Vegan wedding. And crap - who could blame them, that is a ridiculous excuse for a catered meal.

Now - obviously I have had far, far better veg food at many events! There are plenty of caterers out there who can do far better. But this kind of experience could easily strike fear into the heart of anyone.

(Of course, this is just one possible concern. I still think it is likely they just want to complain.)
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#9 Old 12-29-2014, 04:50 PM
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I always find it interesting when the word 'compromise' gets used when a vegetarian or vegan wants an entire event to not involve animals.

None of my family have serious or strong moral objections to eating plants or animals. I have a strong moral objection to eating animals, therefore the only one compromising (when we serve vego and meat-eater foods) is me. My meat eating family will eat my vego food, as well as the animals on their plate. They lose nothing in the deal, they don't have to put up with anything unsightly or at odds with their viewpoint. I'm the one who has to make their own food and is limited in selection to whatever I've had the ability or energy to make.

The issue with your fiancée's family is going to last long after your wedding day. Even if you compromise on it on that one day, it's not going to solve the problems of the future. Let your fiancée know that despite her family being anti-vegetarian, that you understand how lovely she is about the whole thing. You don't have to bag out her family, but if you can make sure you're reassuring her and reinforcing how wonderful her support of your vegetarianism is, then she might feel a little more empowered.


As for how you explain to them how hurtful and unreasonable it would be to have animal parts at your wedding?

You say "I find it hurtful and unreasonable that you expect me to have animal parts at my wedding, when it's something I'm passionately against".
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#10 Old 12-30-2014, 07:23 AM
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oooh ... that's a difficult one. I'll be making these decisions and negotiations myself shortly - I'm the lone veggie in my family and his. I'd prefer to serve a veggie gourmet meal with no added meat on the day but I'm pretty sure that's going to go down like a lead balloon.

However it does sound like her parents haven't talked to you about it and that's a bit odd for adults. If they're only concerned with what they're eating at a wedding I wonder if they are missing the point. Are they paying for it? If not then it's not really their concern. If they are contributing perhaps you can ask them to contribute to something specific (the bar bill? venue hire?) rather than it being a sum of money that they hand over and then feel it gives them a say in all parts of the wedding.

Fingers crossed you find a good solution.
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#11 Old 12-30-2014, 05:50 PM
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Here's an idea--start searching online for stories about rude wedding guests that didn't understand basic social etiquette. Start telling these stories to your future in-laws, couching them as things you came across as you plan your reception.

Here's one--a guest complained to me that she didn't like the flavor of the cake, and how rude it was for the bride to not serve a flavor she liked, since she had traveled a long distance to attend. You could tell this story and say, "Man, I'm really learning a lot about etiquette and confirmed it is really rude to complain about the food, as guests."


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#12 Old 12-30-2014, 06:02 PM
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Elope.

I simply don't understand the desire for weddings, never have. It's supposed to be a day dedicated to celebrating the union of two people in marriage, not for others to be critical of WHO they are.
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#13 Old 01-04-2015, 08:46 AM
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Hi Runbike85,

I've been a vegan for 23 years, and it's wonderful to hear from someone who's been a lifelong veggie.

I'm very happy for you and your fiancé, but please understand that your vegan dilemma is only just beginning. If you decide to have children, your future wife's parents will (of course) have a keen interest in the health of your children. If you raise your children vegetarian or vegan, your in-laws will blame their veg diet for any health or development problem that they might have. Your future wife will bear the brunt and pressure of their blame.

Bless you, I do want the two of you to be happy, but please understand that it will be difficult.

You are still a young guy. Maybe both you and your girlfriend would be better off with different spouses? You both sound like wonderful people, and you both deserve marriages that start off right.
.

Last edited by David3; 01-04-2015 at 08:49 AM.
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#14 Old 01-04-2015, 12:13 PM
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Talk to several caterers and see what veg*n options might be available so you can have some suggestions in mind for the in-laws. Some options might include a pasta bar with salads and breads, a burrito/taco bar, or Mediterranean bar with hummus and baba ganoush with olives, breads and tabouli (my favorite!). For more formal sit-down, consider vegetable curries, lasagna, or grilled vegetable kabobs or Portobello stacks.

If they do not relent, perhaps you can suggest that the station with meat be separated from the rest of food, so you won't have to see it.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#15 Old 01-04-2015, 08:26 PM
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Hi there!

I completely understand your predicament as I myself am a male vegan engaged to a female meat eater...

I would want the same thing as you! The thing is, is this within your control? Are you paying for it? If it is out of your control then it will be very frustrating but it's not your fault...

I guess you and I need to consider David3's post - if this wedding issue is too much, then what about raising kids? How would that work? Most non-vegans would probably not entertain the possibility of their children being raised as vegans...This is concerning for me at least...Anyway food for thought so to speak hehe
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#16 Old 01-08-2015, 02:52 PM
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Is it necessary that you have a full-on sit-down dinner at your wedding? You could just have a more casual, say, cocktail party-like affair with snacks or hor d'oeuvres in which case no one may even notice that the snacks are veg*n. Or you could have a theme dinner such as Mexican, Italian or Asian food; all of those can easily be vegan without any one missing the lack of animal parts and then just don't mention that it is veg*n to any of your guests at all, ever. Out of sight, (or hearing), out of mind can sometimes be the best policy. If the in-laws are not helping to plan or pay for it then you don't need to discuss the details with them. How ever, you may have to come up with some evasive answers that will satisfy them if they are the nosy-meddling types or insist on having some input.
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#17 Old 01-08-2015, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cienerose View Post
Is it necessary that you have a full-on sit-down dinner at your wedding? You could just have a more casual, say, cocktail party-like affair with snacks or hor d'oeuvres in which case no one may even notice that the snacks are veg*n. Or you could have a theme dinner such as Mexican, Italian or Asian food; all of those can easily be vegan without any one missing the lack of animal parts and then just don't mention that it is veg*n to any of your guests at all, ever. Out of sight, (or hearing), out of mind can sometimes be the best policy. If the in-laws are not helping to plan or pay for it then you don't need to discuss the details with them. How ever, you may have to come up with some evasive answers that will satisfy them if they are the nosy-meddling types or insist on having some input.
Yeah, snacks might be the way forward ...Will save money too (good in current economic climate )

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#18 Old 03-12-2015, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cienerose View Post
Is it necessary that you have a full-on sit-down dinner at your wedding? You could just have a more casual, say, cocktail party-like affair with snacks or hor d'oeuvres in which case no one may even notice that the snacks are veg*n. Or you could have a theme dinner such as Mexican, Italian or Asian food; all of those can easily be vegan without any one missing the lack of animal parts and then just don't mention that it is veg*n to any of your guests at all, ever. Out of sight, (or hearing), out of mind can sometimes be the best policy. If the in-laws are not helping to plan or pay for it then you don't need to discuss the details with them. How ever, you may have to come up with some evasive answers that will satisfy them if they are the nosy-meddling types or insist on having some input.
This could be a really sneaky way of getting around the meat. A lot of hor d'oeuvres are vegetarian, and there are a lot you can get made that way and I don't think too many people would notice.

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#19 Old 03-12-2015, 08:17 AM
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I agree with Docbanana's post.
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#20 Old 03-12-2015, 08:39 AM
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My husband and I were married this past January. He's an omni but very cool about it, I'm vegan, and my mom (who paid for the wedding) is one of those omnis who thinks vegans eat grass and twigs. We had full on arguments (screaming, crying on both sides) about the wedding dinner. I was adamant that I didn't want to serve meat on my wedding day, and she was concerned that she and our guests would hate the food. She claimed that it was rude to serve vegan food at a wedding, and I maintained that it was much more rude to serve meat at a vegan bride's wedding! This went on for weeks until, finally, we booked dinner at a vegan Chinese restaurant. It was either that or no dinner at all, her choice-- and she chose vegan food. As it happens, none of the guests cared much-- one brought a ham sandwich in her purse!-- and everyone had a lovely time because it was about the wedding, not the food. I say, stick to your morals and stand up for yourself. Refuse to budge on this.
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#21 Old 03-12-2015, 12:00 PM
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#22 Old 03-12-2015, 01:24 PM
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I don't think you are being selfish at all, it's your special day and you should be able to choose, the guests have to respect you choice of lifestyle. I agree with the other comments on what it might be like in the future...
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#23 Old 03-12-2015, 01:25 PM
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My husband and I were married this past January. He's an omni but very cool about it, I'm vegan, and my mom (who paid for the wedding) is one of those omnis who thinks vegans eat grass and twigs. We had full on arguments (screaming, crying on both sides) about the wedding dinner. I was adamant that I didn't want to serve meat on my wedding day, and she was concerned that she and our guests would hate the food. She claimed that it was rude to serve vegan food at a wedding, and I maintained that it was much more rude to serve meat at a vegan bride's wedding! This went on for weeks until, finally, we booked dinner at a vegan Chinese restaurant. It was either that or no dinner at all, her choice-- and she chose vegan food. As it happens, none of the guests cared much-- one brought a ham sandwich in her purse!-- and everyone had a lovely time because it was about the wedding, not the food. I say, stick to your morals and stand up for yourself. Refuse to budge on this.
A guest brought a ham sandwich in her purse? that's different...and so disrespectful! But well done you for standing your ground!
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#24 Old 03-12-2015, 01:41 PM
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I think a comparison could be made with serving alcohol. If one of the bridal pair had an objection to alcohol, I would not expect it to be served, no matter whether the bridal couple or the parents of the couple are paying for the reception.

(Likewise, BTW, if I am having guests over who have an objection to alcohol, either because of a drinking problem or for religious reasons, I do not serve alcohol.)

If someone cannot cope with not having alcohol (or meat) available to them for a few hours, then they have a significant problem which they need to address.

If the family of one member of a couple is making disparaging remarks about/to the other half of the couple, the person whose family it is has the responsibility to address the matter with her/his family. If s/he isn't capable of standing up to her/his family, then that is an issue the person needs to address before embarking on something as important as marriage.
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#25 Old 03-12-2015, 05:25 PM
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one brought a ham sandwich in her purse!--
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#26 Old 03-12-2015, 07:47 PM
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I always find it interesting when the word 'compromise' gets used when a vegetarian or vegan wants an entire event to not involve animals.

None of my family have serious or strong moral objections to eating plants or animals. I have a strong moral objection to eating animals, therefore the only one compromising (when we serve vego and meat-eater foods) is me. My meat eating family will eat my vego food, as well as the animals on their plate. They lose nothing in the deal, they don't have to put up with anything unsightly or at odds with their viewpoint. I'm the one who has to make their own food and is limited in selection to whatever I've had the ability or energy to make.

The issue with your fianc?e's family is going to last long after your wedding day. Even if you compromise on it on that one day, it's not going to solve the problems of the future. Let your fianc?e know that despite her family being anti-vegetarian, that you understand how lovely she is about the whole thing. You don't have to bag out her family, but if you can make sure you're reassuring her and reinforcing how wonderful her support of your vegetarianism is, then she might feel a little more empowered.


As for how you explain to them how hurtful and unreasonable it would be to have animal parts at your wedding?

You say "I find it hurtful and unreasonable that you expect me to have animal parts at my wedding, when it's something I'm passionately against".
I agree with this. It's not a compromise to serve meat, it's a compromise to not serve meat, simply because I'm assuming your future in-laws eat food besides meat. What I would do is try to serve veggie foods that won't scare away the typical omni - so no quinoa kale cabbage wraps! Instead, serve up some favorites that just so happen to be vegetarian - fettuccine Alfredo, vegetable lasagna, things like that. I don't know if you're wanting to do vegan or vegetarian, but obviously vegetarian would be easier. But I think it would be possible that a lot of the guests wouldn't notice, even if it was an entirely vegan menu. Sure, your future in laws may gripe, but if the veggie food is good enough, the rest of the guests will just wonder why the bride's parents are being so rude.
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