Today I’m not going to be talking about cakes as such, but your wedding as a whole. And especially things you can do at your wedding to make it more sustainable. Now I’m not talking about a full on eco wedding. Although they can certainly be done, and there are many wonderful suppliers who can help you with that.
I’ve wanted to blog about this since I attended the Cornwall Wed Meet Up at Pentillie Castle a couple of weeks ago (stunning wedding venue by the way, if you’re still looking). One of the speakers was from the Cornish homeless charity St Petrocs, which may not seem an obvious speaker for a wedding industry networking event. But the lovely Laura was really inspiring! And she mentioned lots of small things that can be done that can make a big difference. And it got me thinking.
One of the first things she talked about was what happens to things after the wedding. And it made me realise that this was something I’d never really thought about. Of course we are all aware of waste and reducing it, so most of us would make sure any plastics are recyclable etc. But Laura pointed out other things you could do.
So this is the topic today.
What happens to things that are leftover after the wedding? All those flowers for a start. The table centres, the pew ends, the floral arches etc. These flowers are still perfectly okay and have several days left of giving joy. Laura suggested these left over flowers could be given to a local nursing home, hospital or hospice. Okay they aren’t ‘useful’ but they will bring a smile and brighten up the lives of others for a brief time. What a lovely thing. Having a balloon arch or installation? Why not give them to a local nursery or primary school for the children to play with and enjoy for a few days? And did you know you can now get balloons that are made from compostable materials?
You know those flip flops that many couple provide for their guests for dancing, and when the fancy shoes get uncomfortable? Why not donate them after the wedding, to St Petrocs or another homeless charity, or to a local street pastor group. They would be very welcome. The same with blankets you might provide if the wedding is outside.
Having wedding favours? Then why not think about giving a small donation to a charity for each guest instead? The ‘favour’ could then be a card telling your guests what you’ve done. Or you could donate to somewhere like the Woodland Trust for each table to plant a tree. If you want your guests to have something physical to take home, then maybe a packet of wild flower seeds.
Gift lists can be tricky when the chances are you’ve already lived together and have a toaster. We really struggled to think of things for our wedding gift list, and that was almost twenty years ago! So, again, why not ask for donations to a few chosen charities?
As far as sustainability goes there are a few things you can do that won’t mean compromising your dream wedding.
For example, did you know that the fondant I use for my cakes give a donation to the charity ‘Mary’s Meals’ for every box sold? So just by ordering your wedding cake from me, you’re supporting a charity and helping to provide meals to children in under developed countries. And it’s also one of the best fondants out there, so you’re getting the best too.
Stationery can be made with hand made paper from recycled materials. And it can be impregnated with wild flower seeds too. Have a talk with you stationer about recycled paper.
With the catering you can talk to them about using local produce, there are lots of caterers who only use local produce from regional suppliers. Also talk to them about what will happen with the leftover food, after all, you’ve paid for it. So why not think about food banks or soup kitchens who might be able to use it. Of course I’m not talking about what people leave on their plates, but anything that hasn’t been touched or opened (obviously not alcohol) At the meeting Laura talked about one couple who had an untouched tier of their wedding cake that they gave to one of St Petrocs shelters.
I talked before about wedding favours. Why not give each guest a metal straw for them to keep and reuse forever? They come in cute cases and a range of finishes. Or a reusable water bottle, also useful on the day if it’s a hot day.
Are you guests staying in hotels for your wedding? The little bottles of toiletries that hotels provide are very useful for homeless charities. I now collect them whenever I’m in a hotel, and when I get a shoe box full, I’ll be passing them on to St Petrocs.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. When you start thinking about it, you’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ll come up with.