There are lots of reasons why you might be looking for ideas about responsibly sourced food for an eco-friendly wedding. Perhaps having a wedding with a small carbon footprint is important to you? Maybe it’s about knowing that your food comes from a sustainable supply chain, or possibly even that animal products are meeting high welfare standards? Whatever your motivations are for an eco-friendly wedding, this blog post will give you some top tips to help you source the right food for your wedding. It’s guest written by Lara Kenny of Love from lila xx, a bespoke wedding cake company based on the Surrey/Hampshire border, specialising in responsibly sourced cakes.
How does food fit into an eco-friendly wedding?
Let’s start by talking about what type of responsibly sourced food you might be looking to include in your eco-friendly wedding. There are so many different, and often competing, types of responsibly sourced foods that the best way to think about the topic is by focussing on the values that are most important to you and your partner, so think about whether you want a wedding:
- With a small carbon footprint
- With minimal environmental impact e.g. deforestation
- With minimal human impact and/or exploitation
- That supports local economies
- Where animal welfare standards are important
- Where you don’t want any animal products to be used at all
- Which avoids harmful chemicals and/or unhealthy ingredients
- That avoids waste
Once you know what’s important to you, you can start to find the right food and suppliers to suit your eco-friendly wedding!
My best food tips for your eco-friendly wedding
There are lots of different ways that you can include more responsibly sourced food in your wedding, and your priorities might differ depending on what you and your partner value, but here are some of my best tips for selecting suppliers and making food choices:
- Look for suppliers that share your values from the outset. They will often be the best equipped with experience, knowledge and connections that will prove invaluable when planning your eco-friendly wedding. This might mean looking for caterers who only use locally sourced ingredients or high animal welfare standard meat, or finding cake makers who specialise in vegan/vegetarian cakes or responsibly sourced ingredients.
- Be clear with your supplier(s) about what is most important to you. Remember the bullet points in the previous section? Let your supplier(s) know what you’re trying to achieve e.g. reduce food miles, ensure meat meets high welfare standards. That way, they can make decisions and suggestions based on your needs.
- Think about which accreditations you look for in your food, whether that be organic, free-range, Fairtrade, etc. and let your supplier(s) know what they are from the start as it’s easier for them to incorporate this into your costs and menus.
- Be clear with your supplier(s) about what is not acceptable to you e.g. high welfare standards are more important to you than sourcing regional food, or you would rather have locally sourced fruit rather than having it shipped in from another country. Sometimes, this might mean making compromises (on price, availability, choice etc.) but it means that you can both be happy with the choices you have made.
- For all sorts of reasons, seasonal food is a good bet when it comes to responsibly sourced food, so think about when you’re getting married, look at what’s in season, and try to plan your menu around the types of meats, fruit and vegetables that you will be able to find at the time. My favourite source for food by season is from BBC Good Food online.
- As well as looking for seasonal food, looking for locally produced food can also contribute to a few different aims, e.g. reducing food miles, supporting local economies. Do some internet searching, speak to local shops and ask your venue and other suppliers if they can recommend locally available ingredients.
- Identify a few key elements of your menu (e.g. cake, meat, vegetable) and work with your supplier(s) to design a delicious menu around this particular element. Skilled chefs will be able to showcase special ingredients, and if you’ve gone to the effort of finding a really lovely piece of meat or local vegetable, it would be a shame not to have it centre stage! One way of showcasing really good, organically grown, seasonal ingredients is by using edible flowers to decorate your cake, ‘cheese’ cake, dishes or even drinks/cocktails. They look really natural against a backdrop of a semi-naked wedding cake and will be picked to order from suppliers such as Maddocks Farm Organics (my personal favourite).
- Think about how you will cater to vegetarian and vegan diets. There’s been a big shift in the UK towards less meat, and it’s likely that many of your guests will at the very least be flexitarian. You don’t need to design your wedding food around anyone except yourselves as it’s your special day, but having a well thought through vegetarian or vegan option will be hugely appreciated by lots of people. This might even include sourcing champagne or prosecco that meets vegetarian standards. If it’s a simple swap between brands, then it’s a great way to include everyone without impacting those who don’t choose to follow a vegetarian diet!
- Finally, you might think about simple ways to reduce food waste at your wedding. Instead of serving dessert, you can serve your cake after dinner rather than as a separate treat later on. Instead of having food plated and served to guests at their table, provide guests with a buffet so that they only need to take the food they like and will eat. If there’s anything left at the end of the wedding (and it’s been prepared and stored carefully), you might even want to give leftover food to a local charity or shelter.
Finding responsibly sourced food to complement your eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can be a really nice way of incorporating your own values as a couple into the day. So make a few decisions about what you would like to include, and find the right suppliers to help you achieve that. Good luck and happy planning!
With love from lila xx