The historical narrative at weddings has always been one of abundance and plenty, no one wants to look like they are skimping on the food at their wedding, or wants their guests to be hungry at any point during the day. But we have to change this narrative, there are ways to minimise food waste and still have your guests full and satisfied all day.
Around 10% of all food at a wedding is wasted, at an average wedding that equates to between £500 and £1000 of your money going in the bin. So not only does food waste have an environmental impact it also has an impact on your bank balance.
Here are some ways that you can minimise the waste whilst still having amazing food your guests will remember for years to come.
1. Serving your guests food
Having a sit down meal that is served to your guests means that they get the dishes they have ordered and there is a set amount on the plate that the caterer has carefully calculated to be enough. Whereas with a buffet or grazing table people are tempted to take more than they need as they want to try everything and the result is food left on their plates that no one can eat.
Credits: Ellie and Liv
2. RSVP's and ordering in advance
Getting RSVP’s from your guests is a given, but including food choices for the day with that RSVP is an important way that you can reduce waste. If your guests choose from a couple of dishes before the day you know that they are getting something that they like and will eat. Plus, asking for any dietary requirements means that these can be catered for and they don’t end up with something on their plate that they can’t eat. Also, providing an option to tick none, especially with starters and desserts is a good idea, therefore if someone has a small appetite and can only fit in a main course, or they don’t really do desserts and would prefer just a starter and main, you are giving them the option to tell you this rather than just ticking one for the sake of it and then leaving it on the day.
3. Be accurate with your numbers
You will always have people who RSVP initially but then for whatever reason let you know that they can’t come closer to the time. Keeping in close contact with your caterer and letting them know of these last minute changes will make sure that they are not buying and preparing food for guests who can no longer attend. Most caterer’s ask for final numbers a week or so before, but some will adjust closer to the day depending on how they work and what your menu is.
4. Combine your starters and desserts
There is always lots of food at weddings, canapes, wedding breakfast, cake, evening food. If your day is shorter, your ceremony is later on in the afternoon for example, then all of this may be too much in too shorter timeframe and you will end up with more waste. So why not consider combining some of these elements, for example having the canapes as your starters or serving your cake as dessert? By the time your evening food is served you want your guests to be ready for it so it gets eaten, but not so hungry that they are not enjoying themselves and are waiting for it.
5. Cook to order food trucks
Another good option, for day or evening food is food trucks that cook to order, for example pizza, gourmet fishfinger sandwiches, burgers, cheese toasties, sausage and mash, the choices are endless and if the food is prepared and cooked to order then any left over supplies can be used by the vendor the next day.
Photo: EKR Pictures
6. If grazing tables are your thing
If you simply have your heart set on a beautifully designed grazing table then there are still ways that waste can be kept to a minimum. Make sure that you hire a caterer that is experienced and knows their stuff, this way they will know how to calculate amounts correctly for your guest numbers so you don’t have a table full of left overs at the end of the night. Again make sure that you give the caterer accurate number so they know how many they are preparing for. And finally don’t be afraid to communicate with your guests, place a cute little sign on the table that explains you are trying to minimise waste in line with your ethos and asks them to kindly not pile up their plate but to come back for a second or even third visit if they would like some more. Once the food is on their plate no one else will eat it so minimising waste in that way not only helps to reduce the overall wastage of the day but ensures that there is enough left on the table for everyone.
7. Offer take away boxes
Takeaway boxes are a great way to help reduce the food you are left with. Many caterers will offer this option and box up leftovers before they leave. Alternatively you can purchase some boxes beforehand and nominate someone to be in charge of this towards the end of the evening. But don’t forget to get the DJ to announce it to make sure people know they are available when they leave!