July 27, 2023

VEERAH Brides: This Vegan Bride Nailed the Jumpsuit Look at Her Civil Wedding Ceremony

VEERAH Bride, Shandi-Lee Rodriguez's, biggest challenge in wedding planning was making her dreamy bridal look happen.

Among the many lessons the pandemic has taught us, taking a leap of faith is one of them. After all, you never know what’s going to happen next. This is how vegan bride, Shandi-Lee Rodriguez’s, wedding planning began. She and her husband, Matthew Rodriguez, unleashed their inhibitions amidst pandemic delays and opted for a short but sweet civil wedding ceremony. During our chat with Shandi-Lee, you’ll learn about menu inclusivity, grace under pressure, why DIY is the way to go, and how a small wedding can still be grand. Read on and prepare to be wholly inspired by this delightful VEERAH Bride

When and where was your wedding held? What was your theme?

We were married on September 3, 2021. We are both pretty private people and we were struggling to figure out what to do, with the pandemic still having its limits. We thought about waiting, but eventually decided to just do it our way.

We got married at the town hall in our (current) little town of Bowmanville (in Ontario, Canada), that’s actually walking distance from our place. We had a short and sweet civil ceremony with just our parents, my grandmother, and of course, our wonderful photographer Lisa Hughes.There was no theme. Once we decided on having a small ceremony, I truly just started piecing things together around June and July (of 2021), and gave myself a deadline of September 3rd because I thought the date sounded nice.

What were the biggest challenges you had to deal with in terms of wedding planning?

The biggest challenge about the wedding that I had to face alone—as I never let Matt see my outfit—was dealing with my jumpsuit. I had looked into vegan wedding attire, and I fell in love with Rime Arodaky’s designs, specifically her jumpsuits. I found the perfect style and ordered it online. I received it early but had to have it altered to suit my petite frame.

I knew that getting the jumpsuit tailored at the peak of wedding season was going to be a challenge, but I researched the top tailor in my area and successfully found one. After the first stage of alterations though, I found out that the tailor made a mistake and hemmed the pants too short. She was very apologetic and tried to recreate it, but it just didn't look right. In the end, she graciously offered to buy me another jumpsuit! Thankfully, the Rime team shipped it immediately.

I approached the same tailor and figured there was no way she would make the same mistake twice, but understandably, she was shaken up and politely declined. I tried to get into a few other shops but they couldn't commit to the deadline. Everything else was falling into place, except my outfit. But like a gift from the universe, my mom’s co-worker—who was a talented seamstress—offered to alter it for me. She made sure every single alteration was precise and exactly how it needed to be. It turned out beautifully! She even made me a custom mask to go with it.

Shandi-Lee fought tooth and nail to make this dreamy ensemble happen. 

What were your wedding looks?

My husband looked handsome in his first ever custom black suit. I wore my iconic Rime Arodaky Patsy jumpsuit and my VEERAH heels. I knew I didn't want to wear a traditional wedding dress. Though I love all things girly, I think it was a bit of a shock when I told a few people that I would be wearing a jumpsuit. Little did they know it was the prettiest jumpsuit ever! I chose to wear a veil even in a civil ceremony, so I picked one from Rime Arodaky as well. 

I also wanted to wear an Etsy custom made floral headband, so I just attached it to the veil. I’m definitely not a conventional bride by any means, but this hack still makes me laugh! I did my own beauty look, and kept my makeup extremely light since I still wanted to look like myself.

The stylish couple, photographed by Lisa Hughes

Left: Touching details: white daisies and pink carnations, the grandmother of the groom’s favorite blooms. Right: Shandi-Lee wore the Venus designer vegan heels with her uniquely feminine Rime Arodaky bridal jumpsuit and veil.

Their precious dogs were all dressed up, too!

Can you take us back to the big day and share some highlights?

I wanted a super colorful bouquet so I approached the same florist (The Willowbranch) who helped us with our engagement to design it. To represent the presence of my husband’s grandma (who passed away a couple of years ago), I included her favorite flowers in my and my mother-in-law’s bouquets—white daisies and pink carnations. We also decorated our place with balloons for the after-party. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

My dad and I are the only vegans in the family, so I asked a wonderful local baker—Megan at Magic Oven Bakery—who makes all my desserts for events, to also make our cake and desserts. I also had ‘regular’ snacks for the non-vegans, since I wanted everyone to feel included. The good thing is that everyone was more than delighted to eat the delicious vegan treats!

We had our first dance in our living room to Kacey Musgraves’, “Golden Hour”, then had the mother-son and father-daughter dances as well. It was so intimate and comfortable. We had dinner at one of our fave local restaurants, Chanterelle Bistro. They are not a vegan place but they always make me amazing vegan meals—we love an accommodating restaurant! After everything, Matt and I ended the night in our favorite way—video games! I’m sure it’s not everyone’s idea of a perfect wedding, but to us it was. We look back on it often and so fondly.

Being a VEERAH Bride, what shoes did you choose to wear and why?

Full disclosure, I suck at walking in heels. I’m petite, so all my life people thought that I'm used to wearing them. I have really small feet and I’ve never been able to find perfect fitting heels, let alone be comfy in them. Though, I knew I wanted my wedding outfit to be extra special so I decided to wear heels! 

I scoured the internet for stylish vegan heels and landed on the VEERAH Venus heels, which are so classic and beautiful. I was attracted to the vegan and sustainable materials they are made from. I ordered them and to my surprise, they fit perfectly. I could tell they were made with care. I worked in the shoe industry for years so I feel I can spot quality work. I did have to practice walking in them though, but they were pleasantly comfortable. I look forward to wearing them again with the added bling to an event!

What was the most unforgettable moment of your big day?

The most unforgettable moment of my big day was walking down the “aisle”. My husband is a pretty big Star Wars fan and so is my dad, so I grew up with the classic trilogy and the iconic “Imperial March” (whenever Darth Vader appears). I snuck in a bluetooth speaker and coordinated with my dad to play it during my bridal march. I knew it would be an epic song and a great surprise to my husband. I ended up finding a beautiful, slowed down version of the song so it really sounded lovely to those who weren’t familiar with it. Seeing the look on Matt’s face when he realized what song it was was priceless.

Left: Cheers to a celebration of love! Right: The couple sharing a moment with their two rescue dogs, Tiki and Lolo.

Lastly, let’s talk about your honeymoon! Where did you go, and how has married life been so far?

We actually haven’t gone on a honeymoon yet. We are saving for a house and hopefully can make that dream a reality soon! We do try and have little local getaways and staycations when we can, but maybe for our anniversary we will travel somewhere for a belated honeymoon.

As they say, big things come in small packages, and we think Shandi-Lee’s wedding is a testament to that. As the bride put it, “I’m sure it’s not everyone’s idea of a perfect day, but it was ours, and we look back on it often and so fondly.” Their wedding celebration may have been simple, but it was prioritizing family and their happiness that made it impactful. We hope Shandi-Lee’s story made you smile, and ultimately, inspired you.   

All wedding photos by Lisa Hughes Photography

Bridal Jumpsuit and Veil by Rime Arodaky
Floral Headband: Etsy
Flowers: The Willow Branch
Cake: Magic Oven Bakery