We went behind the scenes with Dinner Ladies a female-led catering company, who have a passion for creating delicious, seasonal, planet-conscious food. They share their tips on how to host a sustainable wedding – from food and drinks to tablescapes. By looking at ways you can reuse and source locally, the memories of your sustainable wedding can live on months and years past your special day.
How can couples be more mindful when choosing their wedding menu?
Aside from opting for vegan and vegetarian, we love to take a low waste, seasonal approach to our menus. Our planet conscious canape range makes use of wonky fruit and veg, leftover rinds and herbs and off cuts. We make a lot in-house, like our kimchi, and love to pickle and preserve to give food a longer shelf life. The wedding and events industry can be wasteful by its very nature, so we’re always looking at ways we can reduce and reuse.
Whether you are having your wedding in a London venue or marquee style at home, we love the opportunity to work with suppliers local to you where possible. We also work closely with our fishmonger and oyster supplier to use seafood that is wild and sustainably fished. Instead of smoked salmon, we opt for UK freshwater trout. We only use lobster in the right season, sourced from Cornwall and with the certified MSC blue tick.
When it comes to pudding, not everyone has a sweet tooth so instead of having this served at the table, go for a grazing station which allows your guests to choose and can double up as your evening food. Your wedding cake can even be the centrepiece, or a cake made from a stack of all British cheeses if that is more your thing.
Any tips when it comes to drinks?
Think local and opt for an English sparkling instead of traditional champagne. While prices may rival champagnes and other traditional method sparkling wines, as they are often made in smaller batches and production costs are higher, you have the satisfaction of knowing this was produced and delivered mere miles away from your wedding.
You can still indulge in a cocktail hour, but go for cocktails that are also kind to the planet. We substitute butter bean aquafaba in for egg whites in our whisky sours for example, and like being creative with leftover bits used elsewhere in your menu. We recently used apple cores to make a delicious shrub as the base for our Spiced Apple Stormy. Garnishes can even be sourced from your garden or you can infuse your spirits with leftover herbs and spices.
We also source our spirits from the brilliant East London Liquor Company who make their gin, vodka, rum and whisky over at their Hackney distillery. They’ve recently launched Project Refill which cuts down the number of bottles in the world, and will be rolling this out on a larger scale soon so we’re excited to get this going on weddings and our other events.
Are there ways to reduce waste when it comes to dressing the tables?
Hiring in equipment, crockery & cutlery is the best way to go (we used Options Hire here), unless you’d like a few statement pieces of crockery (we’re obsessed with The Sette, pictured here) down the centre of the table.
A nice way to incorporate sustainability into your dressing if you’d still like a statement floral canopy or ‘moment’ (Boom Blooms pictured), is to pair this with dried flower table arrangements. We worked with Anuschka from Wrapped Flowers who embedded these beautiful stems in cork rounds so you can bring them home after your wedding or round to your friends’ for that next dinner party. Potted plants are another great zero waste addition to your table. And if you are having your wedding in the countryside, why not forage for foliage to decorate your chairs and tables.
We’ve printed menus and name places on seeded paper, for a more eco friendly option that looks just as beautiful. Opt for natural confetti made of dried petals and aromatic herbs (just make sure this doesn’t stain the venue floor)! Source eco-friendly handmade candles from local businesses, or go for LED candles that can be hired or reused.
Any recommendations for couples looking to make their own table decorations?
There are so many great ways to upcycle and bring your personality into the tablescape – jars as candle holders, vintage vases, dried petals, upcycled fabric runners. We recently loved creating name places out of shells and leaves for our supper clubs – this would look great on a wedding table too.
Barrels and logs can be used to dress or create a custom built bar if you’re into DIY, and wooden trunk slices can be used as display heights on a pudding table or bar. Use pillows, baskets and crates you might have at home for seating areas. Head vintage shopping – window panes and mirrors work really beautifully as welcome signage, rugs can bring a homely feel to a venue, and lanterns add extra romance.
See Dinner Ladies in action at their future supper clubs. In April, the team will host a Wasted Supper Club – an evening focused on food waste education and bringing together some of the UK’s leading sustainable suppliers. You’ll be able to bring along any unloved surplus food items from your fridge for the chef team to cook up in under three hours.
Photography – @luisastarlingweddings Luisa Starling Videography – Alchemist Designs @alechemist_wedding_films Styling, food, drink, wedding stationery, event management – Dinner Ladies @dinner_ladies Venue – 100 Barrington @100barrington Celebrant – India Bel Ceremonies (TWIA SE Celebrant of the Year 2023) @indiabelceremonies Flowers – Boom Blooms @boom_blooms and Wrapped Flowers @wrapped_flowers Tableware – The Sette @the.sette , Options Hire Wedding Dress – Clover London @clover.london Make Up Artist – Szilvia Balog @szilviabalogmua
Related Article: How To Plan A Sustainable Wedding