Your wedding will be a big expense on your pocketbook but your food and desserts don’t have to be. Finding alternative ways to save money can help stretch your pocketbook. Whether you’re serving a candy buffet for dessert and favors or inviting guests to take home leftovers, here are our top 10 creative alternatives to throwing out your wedding food. These tips will help you save money and feel better about not wasting food.
- Next Day Meals: With a few extra Tupperware containers or cute favor boxes you can create meals for the rest of your weekend. Instead of having to grocery shop or cook the next day you can feed your family and bridal party with take home leftovers. This is incredibly handy for the next couple to avoid having to shop for food that will go to waste over the honeymoon.
- Feed the Homeless: Some local homeless shelters will let you bring food for donation. Be sure to ask your local shelter in advance to know their policies. Some states have law prohibiting catering companies from reusing food so your catering and local shelters should be contacted with details.
- Doggie Bag It: If you’re unable to deliver it to a shelter consider doggie bagging it for guests to take home. They’ll appreciate your eco-friendly gesture that saves them from cooking the next day. With cute personalized favor boxes, create labels or tags inviting guests to serve themselves up their favorite menu item. Fun labels and personalized “doggie bags” will make it fun and upbeat to take home leftovers.
- Bridal Brunch: Not keen on serving takeout? Incorporate the leftovers into your bridal brunch the next morning. Invite family over to share some omelets or quiche made from your wedding meal. They’ll appreciate your cost consciousness while enjoying a free meal.
- Treat the Staff: Family buffet styles often end up with leftovers. Invite the caterers or venue staff to sit and have a bite to eat. They’ll appreciate your generosity and won’t keel over from hunger.
- Deliver to Relatives: So your great aunt couldn’t make it to the reception because she’s not well? Pack up a care package and hand deliver it to her. Any sick or bedbound relatives who missed out on your big day would love a thoughtful gesture such as delivering a meal to them. They’ll get to share in your wedding food while listening to you recap your favorite moments of the night. Be sure to pack up a little of everything, including a wedding favor and piece of dessert!
- Serve the Needy: Abuse victims and domestic shelters would love the donation of food. Families who can’t afford to go out to eat or shelters on limited budgets are great places to donate your leftover food. Consider delivering your wedding bouquets with a few containers of wedding food to cheer up their night and fill stomachs in need.
- Edible Wedding Favors: Instead of serving a variety of desserts that go to waste if they’re uneaten, give guests wedding favor cello bags to scoop up their desserts as edible favors. You can use favor bags or cupcake boxes to allow guests a wedding favor they choose and design themselves. A DIY cupcake buffet will let guests decorate cupcakes to their own choosing then take them home for a late night snack.
- Leftover Liquor: If you’re serving champagne, you can use the leftovers for brunch mimosas. For wine and beer, host a barbeque party and invite your friends to partake. Any leftover wine bottles make great hostess gifts or holiday favors for friends and family. Give a personalized wine carrier bag with a bottle of wine as a great personal gift for mom and dad. Ask your bartender or caterer to box up the extras for you to take home. Save a bottle or two to open on your anniversary.
- Wedding Cake Box: Don’t forget the time honored tradition of saving the wedding cake. After the cake is served and leftovers are boxed up for guests to take home, be sure to remind your event planner or venue supervisor that you wish to save the wedding cake. Traditionally the top tier of the wedding cake is saved for the couple to open and enjoy on their one year anniversary.
There are plenty of ways to reuse and enjoy your wedding food, wedding bouquets and your centerpiece. The ultimate eco-friendly wedding combines budget friendly ideas with these alternatives to wasting resources. Many ‘green weddings’ use these tips to saving money by reusing their wedding supplies. Don’t overlook the food as a way to help others and cut waste. You’ll be happy you did and have a good memory to helping others on your big day!