Our favourite zero waste wedding food ideas

From large formal events to small intimate dinner parties, here at Social Pantry our aim is to always work in the most sustainable, planet friendly way possible, that’s why zero waste weddings are a big focus for us as a London catering service. There’s a lot to think about when considering your wedding reception foods and it often feels easier to overestimate to ensure there’s no shortage, but this can often be costly and wasteful, not to mention damaging for the environment. We’ve rounded up everything we know about zero waste weddings to allow you to be as mindful and protective of the planet as possible on your big day.

How much food do I need for my wedding reception?

No one wants their guests to go hungry, but without accurately estimating the number of guests for both the wedding breakfast and evening there’s also the risk of over ordering the food for your wedding meals. Consider the time your guests will be in attendance at your big day and the time between meals. Catered weddings can often be long days and hungry guests can become restless and tired. Don’t serve canapés just for the sake of it but if you’re having a midday wedding it is often the possibility that guests who have travelled to the reception would have skipped breakfast. Consider the times of your wedding carefully to accurately anticipate when your guests will appreciate the offer of food rather than just serving refreshments because it is the expected thing to do.

Catering for dietary requirements at a zero-waste wedding

From vegan wedding guests to dairy-free menus, catering for weddings can throw up so many types of dietary requirements. To ensure you don’t overcompensate for dietary requirements in keeping with a zero-waste wedding, it’s important to gather all requirements from guests at an early stage to make sure you’re not ordering alternative dishes ‘just in case’. Sending out the menu options before the big day and making it clear that all options are final is also a key zero waste wedding food idea. Let your guests know that it’s important to you that your big day is as waste free and environmentally friendly as possible and that by letting you know their menu preference is a way of them positively contributing to this.

What to do with the waste?

As well as being better for the environment, donating left over food and drink is a lovely way of supporting causes in your community and sharing the love of your special day with people not as fortunate. Local food banks will often be happy to take any surplus food and drink to offer to the homeless. This can be arranged by your wedding caterer or feel free to reach out to a local charity personally to arrange collection.

Love local

Using local produce not only supports smaller independent businesses that have been hit hard during the pandemic, but it also saves on pollution and ensures your zero-waste wedding is also zero waste in unnecessary travel too.

Have your cake

Although lovely to look at, wedding cakes are often hugely wasteful with so much being thrown away once the cake is cut and the photographs are taken. Save on waste and budget and go for a smaller centre piece, there are all sorts of creative options for wedding cakes these days, think outside the box and go for something that you’re not going to be left with at the end of the night. Cheese board cakes and smaller cupcake options can be great zero waste wedding options. If you’re still set on the big traditional cake look, one tier cakes that are also made up of non-edible tiers are great ways of giving the big cake effect but without all of the wasted food at the end of the day.

These are just a few of our zero-waste wedding planning tips to get you started but do please get in touch with our dedicated team here and we’ll be more than happy to offer advice on how we can create a zero-waste wedding menu that works for you.