Weddings can be so wasteful. Much of the waste is a product of the desire to have things be just right. When ten wedding guests haven’t RSVP’ed and it’s two weeks before the big day, it’s often easier to order extra food and extra wedding favors that may or may not get eaten and taken. If you’re a DIY bride, having more supplies than you need can prevent future disasters. And most wedding gowns are worn only once.
I was incredibly lucky when it came to my own wedding leftovers because I have a grandmother who has a finger in just about every local church and charity. My wedding gown? It was given to the family house of worship so a future bride could wear it. The extra DIY supplies and favors? That same church has an active community theatre, so problem solved. And the massive quantities of leftover food went to a local halfway house that accepts perishables. By the time my wedding day was over, almost everything had been distributed or delivered to the appropriate recipients thanks to gram.
Not every bride has such a thoughtful relative to turn to, however. We’ve discussed wedding gown donation in the past, and it’s pretty easy to unload DIY supplies (think Craiglist or Freecycle), but what about food? The sad fact of the matter is that tons of uneaten yummies from wedding receptions goes into landfills each year because many — if not most — charities do not accept donations of perishable foodstuffs. If you don’t have enough local relatives to ensure that everything goes home with someone who owns a deep freeze, it’s almost guaranteed that perfectly good canapes, entrees, and desserts are going to land in the trash.
Unless, that is, you live in one of the thirty cities that Special E serves. From Boston to Vancouver to London, this service rescues leftover food from events like weddings, then recycles them in ways that help the planet and people in need. Some leftover food from wedding receptions goes to food banks, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters to feed people that are hungry and homeless. What can’t be fed to people in need is converted into organic-rich compost.
Drink containers get similar treatment: Empty cans of beer and soda are collected after wedding receptions, and the recycling proceeds are used to purchase cans of food for abused and abandoned pets. Special E will even rescue leftover remnants of beverage containers such as bottle caps and wine bottle corks to re-purpose them into jewelry and decorative products. Proceeds from the sale of these goods are used to buy beverages for children that are thirsty or don’t have access to a safe supply of drinking water.
Finally, Special E is also happy to take floral arrangements and centerpieces so that these can be delivered to nursing homes, hospitals, and other places people need cheering up. For a complete list of what kinds of donations they can accept, click here. They even come right to your wedding venue to pick up, which means that dealing with wedding leftovers in a responsible way has never been easier!
photo by Bill Jurevich