Charitable Bride? How Not To Waste Food From The Reception

Weddings and other celebrations can be sources of great waste.  We’ve all been to a celebration where a dozen desserts are offered up to a room full of people whose bellies are already bursting, only to go uneaten.  People generally want to be gracious hosts, so they frequently order more than they need of everything.  All too frequently, the excess bounty from multiple courses is thrown away.  But, it doesn’t have to be!

There is a Better Business Bureau-recognized charity called Feeding America that can put your bounty to good use for those in need.   Feeding America is a charity that has a nationwide network of 200 food banks that do “food rescue”, which is picking up unserved food from celebrations and restaurants, and distributing it right away to people who need help feeding themselves or their families.


For those concerned about liability, there are “Good Samaritan laws” in many states that hold you harmless from any food donated in this manner.  So, that shouldn’t be a stumbling block to preventing waste, and helping to bring aid to people in need locally.  Lawmakers have incentive to make it easier for you to be generous, and help people who need help.


If you’ve never experienced the satisfaction that comes from reaching out and helping, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to find a charity whose mission resonates with you, and get involved.  Whoever you help will feel better as a result, as will you.  You might even inspire someone else to reach out and give of their time, talent, or resources too!


Many couples are not only ordering favors, but also making donations with part of their wedding reception budget.  What better way to start off your life together than by making a socially conscious donation?  But at a minimum, work with your wedding reception venue to find the food rescue organization in your area who will come (complete with all the necessary containers) to pick up what you and your guests didn’t use in your celebration.  Again, just go to, and follow their links to your state’s local food rescue organizations.

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  1. Paul Andrews

    When I have my wedding in a few years I’ll make sure very little or no food is wasted. I’ve heard some terrible stories of huge banquets of sandwiches, snacks and cake being thrown away after the party into several garbage bags. I personally think a good idea is to encourage guests to take lots home with them or simply not prepare quite so much, by taking into account the number of guests who will be attending.

  2. Chef Marney White

    I think you have some great ideas there, Paul. Of course, you want to be a good host, and have enough of everything for everyone. But there is often lots of excess prepared. Taking it home, donating…both of those options work, just so long as perfectly good food isn’t thrown out in such a time of need for so many people.

    Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

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