According to Greenbrideguide.com, in the United States, more than 2.5 million weddings happen every year- this equals over 6,800 weddings per day! On average, every single one of these weddings creates a whopping 62 TONS of carbon dioxide waste and 600 lbs. of garbage. While it would be nearly impossible for all of this waste to be 100% eliminated, a new trend in the wedding business has certainly picked up over the last six years - making weddings more sustainable, and creating not just happy couples, but a happy planet.
From the eyes of a catering business, "going green is one of the great business opportunities of the 21st century, and the rapid growth of green weddings and green wedding consulting groups is not surprising," according to David Cooperrider, a business professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Caterers today are expected to have a green package available or to offer ways for the future Mr. and Mrs. to go green during their wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner, and everything else.
Here at The WEBstaurant Store, we understand that you, the caterer, must first and foremost keep the bride-to-be happy (we don't want any bridezillas!). To keep the bride all smiles, you have to be ahead of the curve – so we are here to help!
Instead of following the age old saying of "something borrowed, something blue, something old, and something new", we have created our own motto – "something clean, something lean and something green."
In order to keep the bride and groom, guests, and crazy Grandpa George (they all have one) clean and green, eliminate the use of paper products and disposables. Go a step further than using traditional china dinnerware by offering reusable Bamboo dinnerware to your clients. This dinnerware type includes bowls, cups, mugs, plates and platters, all made with bamboo fiber combined with high-quality break-resistant melamine. Not only will this dinnerware look au natural, but if the adorable (yet clumsy) flower girl drops a plate, it won't break!
As the caterer, look for an affordable, yet elegant, way to reduce the number of plates, cups and bowls that are being used. An easy way to do this is by recommending that the bride and groom have a buffet for their reception. By having a buffet, the guests will only take what they can eat, or want to eat, therefore eliminating the need for serving platters on every table.
Lastly, keep your newlyweds clean after smashing the cake in each other's face with cloth napkins. These look elegant and are a good investment for any catering company since they can be washed time and time again.
If your bride and groom are looking to go with the all veggie or organic wedding, then kudos to them - but if your clients want a little meat on their special day, suggest lean meats (chicken or turkey) to them. Inform them of the affect lean meats have on the environment, and that their choice of lean meats will reduce the amount of methane that is being released into the air (from beef). According to The American Journal of Clinical nutrition, on average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption or limiting it to lean meats is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
Create a list of local farmers, markets and produce stands showing them where you get your foods from. That way, your clients have confidence that their food will be fresh and local.
Put green in the background of their special day by suggesting an outdoor wedding. According to the Bridal Association of America, their Wedding Report stated that in 2009 35% of weddings in the U.S. were outdoors. Although outdoor weddings can be more challenging than indoor weddings (rain/wind/hurricane/tornados/the list goes on), on the right day, the scenery is well worth the risk. Wineries, parks, courtyards, backyards, beaches and even mountains are great places to suggest for an outdoor wedding venue. The perks to having an outdoor wedding (besides the gorgeous pictures) include a (usually) cheaper cost and necessary décor, unlimited space, and less travel for the guests (venue and reception in one!)
As for recycling your food and items - talk with local farmers and companies to see how you can donate your leftovers (maybe giving them to a farmer where they can compost the scraps). Or here is a suggestion: If you are a catering company, start your own compost from the food scraps and then grow your own veggies that can be used at later weddings! If you are not too keen on saving food scraps, then try to save leftovers and package them up for guests to take with them. (Be sure to look into eco-friendly take home containers too)!