Post # 1
Hi bees! I’m looking for advice on place settings. My FH and I decided to use eco-friendly dispoables (palm leaf ones) for our wedding reception. It fits pretty well with the rustic theme and BBQ menu and we like that it makes for easy cleaning without the eco-damage. Since we’re doing a buffet line, our caterer suggested having a stack of plates at the serving station and doing place settings at each of the tables with only the napkins (folded flat) and utensils (set next to the napkins). We’re also planning to add cardstock paper menus to each of the place settings on top of the napkins to dress up the settings a bit. I also hate going through a buffet line not knowing in advance what will be served and thought the menus would also be great for this reason.
My concern though is that the reception space is a converted barn with open windows and doors. I’m worried that the menus, napkins, and utensils might blow away if it’s windy that day since they’re so lightweight. I thought it might be nice to place a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on top of the menus to help weight them down. For those who’ve used disposables and paper menus for place settings in an outdoor or semi-outdoor space, did you have to do anything special to weigh them down? Is my idea to use a chocolate as a weight dumb? I’ve seen people use rocks and such, but that doesn’t appeal to me because I don’t like putting inedible things on a place setting. TIA!
Post # 2
I have been to a couple of weddings that were in barn type buildings and both used disposables. One wedding had a menu on the table,but it was just one for the entire table. It was on a metal bird that had one of those split ring photo wires on it. The other wedding had some kind of card on the table for everyone, but I can’t remember what it was. They weighted them down with a candy bar that had a wrapper that had the wedding couple’s names and wedding date on it.
Post # 3
I think a candy to weigh it down sounds like a great idea. But just FYI – “Eco disposables” won’t biodegrade any time in this millennium if they’re thrown into a landfill where they’re surrounded by plastic (and therefore not exposed to sunlight or oxygen). This is a prime example of greenwashing. If you’re going for environmentally friendly, make sure to offer a recycling bin and composting bin and actually use them. Otherwise your attempt was for not and unfortunately probably cost you more than plastic would have. Maybe choose a candy that has a recyclable or compostable wrapper, too?
Your wedding sounds like it will have really cute touches! I’d personally probably want to weigh the paper down with little pinecones for a fall wedding, but I guess people probably don’t want pinecone bits on their plates. 😂
Post # 4
It’s a bit backwards to me that you want to be eco-friendly, and are going to so much trouble to make extra garbage. A menu for each place setting looks nice, but is such a waste paper-wise.
What I would do: nix the idea of place settings for a buffet. Just have everything up there. You can find a big chalkboard to display your menu at the front of the buffet and sell it after. have the napkins and utensils at the end of the line.
If you are super tied to your idea, I think the ferrero is a good idea. But if it’s actually windy, even that won’t stop it from flying around. You could do 1 menu per table in a stand. You could try to find different ways to weigh the other things down, maybe wrapping the utensils in the napkins. Also what are you using for glasses?
Post # 5
drewby1121 : There’s nothing eco-friendly about using disposible plates, napkins, and cutlery. It appears you’ve been tricked by some excellent greenwashing tactics. I love the menu idea above, but I would absolutely use “real” cutlery and plates at a minimum. Even for backyard functions, we use reusable napkins and dinnerware. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is the wasteful and unnecessary garbage we constantly create when dining.
Post # 6
We also did one big menu on each side of the line so people could decide as they were waiting. For place settings, we left the plates at the buffet so people could grab them and then did the place settings at the table with their napkin (rented) in the middle and their silverware on either side.
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2018 - Location
So all of this is going into compost? Soiled paper can’t be recycled
Post # 8
Cloth napkins and washable dishes, glasses and flatware are recommended by almost every environmental organization as being more earth friendly, from the Ocean Conservancy to Tree Hugger to Earth Wise, and they are so much nicer to use. You can rent the linens and just pile them all in a bag for drop-off or pick-up after. Plates, glasses and flatware typically just require rinsing and replacement in the boxes in which they were delivered.
ETA: Bonus–no worries about anything flying away. I’d stay away from chocolates if it could be warm in the barn. You don’t need more than one menu per table.
Post # 9
drewby1121 : A’s PPs have said, disposable plates and cutlery just aren’t that eco-friendly. From an environmental point of view, you’d be better using real crockery and cutlery. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be white China and more suited to formal setting, there are loads of options for crockery that would fit a rustic theme. Pinterest has loads of options from plain plates to patterned plates.
From a practical point of view, having a small menu to read from at your buffet is going to massively slow things down as people will be reading the menu as they move along the line and trying to work stuff out.
Post # 10
I love that you have eco friendliness on your mind, however, compostable materials cannot be thrown in with the recycling. They must be separate. And I’m guessing this will be difficult to implement during a wedding.
Is there a specific reason you aren’t using traditional plates and silverware? This would also alleviate the worry of items blowing away.
I like the idea of recycling a chalkboard and using it to write your menu. Mismatched items add to a more rustic feeling.
Post # 11
Thanks all of the additional information about the palm leaf disposables not being entirely biodegradable. I’ll definitely look into it some more. It was recommended by a few folks on Reddit’s Wedding channel and I thought it would be ok because there is a separate compost bin at our venue. For cups, we’re planning to rent glasses but they will be at the drinks station. We want to minimize people having to make multiple trips and juggle holding plates, drinks, silverware if possible.
The reason we’re not going with real plates and silverware is that we can’t afford it on top of the glasses. Our catering company also charges a significant fee to bus the tables unless the plates and silverware can be easily thrown away. I like the idea of thrifting mismatched plates and utensils but this is a destination wedding for us and since we’re doing most of the planning on our own and flying there, we can’t bring those items with us. I’m definitely all ears if anyone has other ideas!
Thanks for the suggestion on having minimal menus as well. I really like the chalkboard idea and the suggestion to do only one per table. I’ll definitely think about doing one of those options. To be honest, I’ve found it incredibly hard to be eco-friendly when it comes to wedding planning because most things are only single use, we’re on a tight budget, and we want things to look good, be easy, and not time-consuming. I’m trying hard to be somewhat conscious and of course open to learning more from others. Thanks for not laying me out for not being 100% on top of it / completely informed.
Post # 12
If you want to be ecofriendly, don’t pick dinner plates that will only generate waste when real dishes and cloth napkins serve the purpose AND don’t generate a lot of one-time-use waste.
Post # 13
JiminyCricket : Yes, I understand that. By in my comment above yours, I mentioned that I can’t afford to rent real plates and dinnerware (along with the additional cost of having them bussed or cleaned) and since I’m traveling by plane to the wedding I can’t bring thrifted or purchased plates with me. There’s no option to mail plates and silverware to the venue if I buy them online. What ideas would you suggest if you feel so strongly about using real plates?