Charlotte and Nick Baker managed to feed 135 guests on rejected food that was delivered one day before the wedding.
Most couples would be panicking if, one day before their wedding, they still didn’t know what would be served to 135 guests for dinner. Not Charlotte and Nick Baker – the pair was patiently waiting to see which food would be rejected by local supermarkets in order to make a zero-waste wedding feast.
The Bakers got lucky. At the last minute, a grocer handed over a load of frozen chicken that was several days away from its expiry date, as well as some fruit that was starting to go soft. The Guardian described the delicious-sounding meal:
“[The chicken] was cooked with white wine and mushrooms as a main course – alongside vegetarian chili and rice – while the berries were transformed into fruit salad and topped with clotted cream. Whole trays of berries were heading for the bin because a couple of punnets had the odd squashed or slightly mouldy fruit. The starter was platters of cheeses and cold meats.”
Catering was done by a restaurant called the Fur Clemt Real Junk Food Café in Wigan, England, which specializes in repurposing ingredients that would otherwise go to waste – or, as its website explains, “intercepting surplus food to fill bellies, not bins.” Catering weddings is not something the Café usually does, but it accepted the Bakers’ request with excitement. Shirley Southwood, co-owner of the Café, told The Guardian:
“We’d never catered for a wedding before and I had a few sleepless nights wondering exactly what food would come in. The only item I had to buy was a bottle of white wine for the sauce.”
It was a risky but daring move, and one that contrasts beautifully with the culture of excess enveloping most wedding preparations these days. Charlotte and Nick were conscious of both wanting to uphold their own zero-waste values, as well as protesting the “obscene over-expense and excess” of weddings, while “minimizing [their] contribution to this trend.”
It makes me think of my own wedding, nearly seven years ago. While my husband and I were not committed zero-wasters and did plan the menu in advance, we opted for a caterer that sourced all food locally, making it a wonderful ‘100-mile meal’ of sorts. (I still lust after the dessert spread – delicious platters of apple crisp and peach cobbler with whipped cream – and wish I’d eaten more that night.) We cut costs by not buying a wedding dress (borrowed from a friend), asking Grandma to do the floral arrangements from her garden, and making our own wine for the event. It was a family effort, and one that neither of us would change in any way.
It’s inspiring to hear stories like the Bakers’ and know that there is another way to do things, no matter what Brides may tell you.