Plant powered. Offer a plant-based menu for your reception. Vegan and vegetarian options are becoming increasingly common on catering menus, so your caterer may already have a lot of delicious ideas. Almost everything has a plant-based alternative these days. Your dream of a burger slider bar for dinner can be a meat-free reality, and your perfect buttercream-iced cake can be made without dairy or eggs.
A plant-based menu won’t just be lighter on the planet — using far fewer resources than animal-based foods — but the lighter fare will help get your guests out on the dance floor rather than sitting at their tables with the meat sweats.
Less is more. If a totally vegan or vegetarian menu isn’t possible, offer meat in smaller amounts via appetizers or side dishes instead of in larger portions for a main dish.
Go local. Ask your caterer to look into ingredients that can be locally-sourced to lessen the transportation impact. The same applies for beer, wine and liquor for a bar (if you’re having one).
Opt for organic. Organically raised food doesn’t use synthetic chemicals for pesticides and fertilizers, so there’s less soil and water contamination. Organic farms also help support local pollinator populations since they avoid pesticides that kill indiscriminately.
Save room for dessert. Consider cake alternatives that don’t require guests to return to their table, since they’re usually up and about dancing and socializing by the time cake’s getting cut. Cupcakes and doughnuts are a great grab-and-go option for this. S’mores can be fun too, especially if you have a fire pit people can congregate around.
If you want to have a cake at your wedding, get one baked with organic and local ingredients. Vegan cakes are another delicious option.
Buck the buffet. Plated dinners have more control over portion size and often result in less food waste than buffet dinners.
Donate leftovers. Ask your caterer/venue if you can donate leftover food to a local food bank or shelter to eliminate unnecessary food waste.
Dessert to-go. Give takeaway boxes of cake as your wedding favor, instead of getting stuck with a bunch of leftovers you can’t finish yourself.
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Photo Credits (top to bottom): Drew Bird.