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How to make your wedding more sustainable! From a cake designers perspective!

I think nowadays, it doesn’t matter if you are generation X,Z or J, leading a more sustainable and eco conscious life is the only way we are going to be able to preserve our beautiful planet for years to come.

I have seen firsthand how wasteful and throwaway the wedding industry can be, so hopefully I can shed some light on certain areas and set you off with some tips which will will help you on both the path of sustainability and keeping money in your pocket.

Back in the olden days!

Just kidding! Back in 2016 when we were planning our own wedding, we were on a tight budget which made for a very DIY wedding.

I had genuinely thought looking back that we had done it all in a fairly sustainable way, but after having a Pinterest board purge recently, I’m thinking perhaps not!

We (ok, likely myself in a pit of “but we really need this”) had saved some hilarious pins for our special day and although I’m pleased to say we didn’t get them all, here are some of the things we considered.

  • Plastic drinks glasses to avoid the cost of hiring.

  • Bubbles in tiny champagne bottles and tubes.

  • Flip flops for the evening for our guests. I mean, we married in April. In a cow shed. In England. And flip flops are hardly comfortable! What on earth was I thinking

  • Balloons for the evening.

  • Foil streamer wall

Thankfully, we only had the top two, however there are of course some things I would have done differently if I had my day again which neatly leads me on to -

DIY weddings

Not all DIY weddings are on a budget, but for us it was a big factor which came with its own positives and negatives. You will likely not buy as much unnecessary crap and stick to the must haves and things that are important in your day.

Like us, you may end up making some cost cutting decisions which impact negatively on the environment.

For instance. We used paper plates, cups and napkins. Sounds fairly harmless right, but any recyclable tableware that has been soiled with food is landfill.

If we had budgeted to hire plates and glasses etc, it likely wouldn’t have cost the earth and they would have gone on to be used dozens more times for other couples.

We could have even bought mismatched plates from a car boot and resold or donated them after the wedding. We live and learn!

It’s not all doom and gloom, we did make some pretty great decisions as well like -

  • We bought charity shop board games for the kids, made a ring toss with old bottles and a bean bag toss. Some games we still have, some we donated.

  • The hessian fabric used for our barn curtains was re sold for someone else’s wedding.

  • The jars for the flowers were recycled.

  • My fake fur was a second hand shop find!

  • The bunting went on to be used at my brother in laws wedding.

  • The lights were used at a school prom. Some we still use now.

  • We used dried flowers for my bouquet and hair clips.

  • Seasonal daffodils and tulips for the tables.

You can have a nosey of our day over at -

Tips on how to start!

Start with your suppliers. How sustainable is their business? It might seem like a simple one, but there are a tonne of fantastic wedding suppliers out there consciously making eco choices in their businesses and the likelihood is that if they are passionate about it, they will very likely talk about it on their website or social media.

If it’s something that’s important to you, are you going to be a little disappointed if you find your caterers wrap everything in clingfilm or if your invites and stationery are non recyclable or if your florist is using 0 eco practices?

Here are a few South West based suppliers you will love who are consistently working on their environmental footprint. I will continue to update when I find more!

(These guys catered our wedding and were insane!)

It’s worth asking yourselves what is truly needed and what could be skipped.

Do you need that much food in the evening? How many times have you gone to a wedding and everyone is too drunk or full to eat the buffet at 9pm?

Do you need to buy sunglasses for your guests incase it’s sunny and they happen to not have brought their own?

Have a think back to weddings you may have been to and make adjustments to minimise the chances of waste.

Can a wedding cake be made more sustainable?

Absolutely! There are loads of options when it comes to your cake!

Some of the biggest changes that can be made are down to the individual cake designer and there method, but here is what I am doing to make my business more sustainable

. Whenever I can, I like to use seasonal flowers and foliage. If it’s a a naff season here in England, I like to use organic dried flowers from Brothers Farm, pressed, painted or piped flowers or work on minimalistic beauties.

. I use wooden dowels instead of plastic.

. We use whenever possible reusable silicone cling film, silicone lids and plastic boxes.

. Fruit fillings are made using berries hand picked and bought in our beautiful British summertime and frozen straight away.

. As long as it doesn’t impact the flavour in any way, I swap out dairy cream and butter for plant alternatives.

. We use rainforest alliance chocolate and cocoa.

. I make fridge cakes out of our leftover “waste” cake and buttercream. (More on that delicious detail later)

. All paperwork is printed on recycled paper.

. Our cake tasters deserve a space to themselves so will go into more detail on that labour of love shortly!

Is there anything you would advise against

There are a few cake making practices which are not particularly environmentally friendly but here is my biggest pet peeve.

One big one is using fake tiers for larger cakes. Some cake makers suggest using dummy tiers for couples wishing to have a taller statement cake, but when less cake is needed on the day. However, cake dummies are made of a non recyclable material, polystyrene.

I believe there is a chance that industrially it can be recycled, but it will almost certainly end up in landfill after your wedding.

There is a myth that it will cost less to have fake tiers, but I can tell you this now, they are no easier to decorate than an actual cake (if anything they are a pain in the bum because they are so light) and the time to decorate is the same. So basically, you are paying the same price for a decorated hunk of foam and actually only saving a small amount of money by it not being actual cake.

Here are some alternative options for a show stopping cake!

. Hire a beautiful cake stand. Adds so much height and grandeur to a cake.

. Use a spacer. These can be made in different shapes and sizes and can be dressed with gorgeous flowers to create a floating effect.

. Dress up your cake table. Don’t have your cake displayed on a dusty old table on a white table cloth with no pretty bits around it. Make the cake table an extension of all your beautifully decorated guest tables.

. Give your cake an insane backdrop!

So, What on earth is a fridge cake?

Well my friends. A fridge cake is a delicious bar of heaven!

People always seem shocked that I have leftover cake in my house and that we don’t just scoff the lot, but after levelling off each cake to get those perfect tops, it really does end up mounting up to more than a family of 3 should eat.

The fridge cake was born from my hate of waste, but thankfully they seem to go down an absolute treat and I have had no complaints so far!

I also donate our fridge cakes to our community (and sometimes our lovely friends) which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so it’s a win win! Januarys offerings went to our local care home and the hospital.

Here is all you will need to make them for yourself!

. Leftover cake scraps

. Buttercream or ganache

. Something to drizzle - chocolate, fruit compote, icing.

. Toppings of choice.

. Food processor

  1. Crumble some cake into the food processor and add in around 1/3 the amount of buttercream. I don’t have exact measurements here as it really depends on how soft the cake is when you are making these.

  2. Whizz it up until it starts to form a ball. It will have a sandy texture at first. If it doesn’t form a ball, add in some more buttercream/ganache until it does.

  3. Press into a container. I use the foil takeaway containers when I am giving them away or plastic tubs if it is for us to nibble on.

  4. Drizzle on melted chocolate, fruit compote or If you don’t have much in the house, pop a tablespoon of biscoff spread, nutella or lemon curd in the microwave for a few seconds! Makes a brilliant sauce!

  5. Top with something tasty.

  6. Allow to set in the fridge. Cut into slices or small bite sized pieces.

Here are some recent yummy variations

. Chocolate cake with milk chocolate drizzle and mini eggs.

. Lemon cake with lemon curd and fresh blueberries (or freeze dried raspberry)

. Coconut cake with passionfruit and mango purée

. Almond cake with white royal icing and glacé cherries

. Vanilla cake with white chocolate drizzle and fresh raspberries

Our cake tasters

Now I’m giving our cake tasters their own little space in the spotlight because they were a labour of love and I did a tonne of research to make them as sustainable as possible.

Here’s a little breakdown of what makes them special.

. Beautiful grey boxes from The Tiny Box company . Luxury, yet still able to be recycled

. The ribbon on the front is made from recycled saris by an Etsy company The happy black cat store.

. The wax seal is actually a fridge magnet so can be used again and again.

. The tag is my business card and is printed sustainably by The Sustainable Print Company

. The card inside is recycled and able to be recycled from Eco Craft

. Plastic free vellum paper with floral pattern

. The plastic around our cake samples is fully compostable and is also by Eco Craft

. Even the tape and the stickers are compostable.

. The information card has seeds imbedded in it! Get growing!

If you would like to order one of our Classic or Deluxe boxes, head on over to our shop, but don’t forget to pop me a message to check for wedding availability. No one will be sad they are a box of cake, but they may be sad if they fall in love with our flavours and we are already booked!

So what can we takeaway from this?

The biggest thing I can advise it to do your research, check around and ask questions. If having a sustainable wedding is important to you and flows on from how you live your eco conscious lifestyle, then check your suppliers have the same passion as you.

Really think if something is necessary. Maybe have a sleep on it. Impulse wedding buying must be a thing! It’s like if you go shopping when you are hungry. Bad move!

Go make yourself some fridge cake! You definitely won’t regret that!

And lastly, if you are in search of an eco friendly cake designer and would love a cake which reflects the season, then pop me over a message. I would love to hear about your amazing wedding plans.

Much love

Tash x

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