Couple serve up wedding breakfast - with a twist

By Ella Wills
BBC News

Image source, Guzelian Photo Agency
Image caption,
Wedding guests were unaware that the banquet was created from surplus food

When Kayley and Joe Tilston's 280 guests sat down for their wedding breakfast they were treated to a sprawling feast.

The lavish banquet included sea bream, sea bass, ox, pork ribs and chicken, with vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian diners also catered for - all created from surplus food that would otherwise have been destined for the rubbish bin.

Guests only found out the origin of their meal after they had tucked in, with the big reveal by the bride and groom drawing "huge gasps" from across the room.

However, Mrs Tilston says their response to the meal at Victoria Hall in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, was "incredible", adding that many headed back for second and third helpings.

Mrs Tilston, 34, says she and her new husband, 35, "try to avoid waste wherever possible".

"We will always be creative about what we can cook from leftovers to avoid throwing them away," the health worker tells BBC News.

"So the idea really combined our morals with the logistics of catering for so many people.

"The average wedding breakfast can cost up to £25 per person or more, so with nearly 300 mouths to feed it made sense," she adds.

Image source, Guzelian Photo Agency
Image caption,
The bride's headpiece was made using surplus flowers

Catered by The Real Junk Food Project, which runs "pay-what-you-like" cafes selling "waste" food, the event stopped more than 250kg of food from ending up in landfill.

The food was re-imagined as a selection of canapes and a festival-style buffet served up in recycled cardboard packaging with the newlyweds paying about £5 a head to feed their guests, saving them hundreds.

Other aspects of the wedding were also reused and recycled.

An old room divider acted as the backdrop for the ceremony and photo booth, while decorations were gifted by the groom's Ska Punk bandmates, two of whom recently had their own weddings.

The bride's headpiece was adorned with surplus flowers provided by a florist friend, and she plans to redesign her wedding dress for future wear.

Mr and Mrs Tilston's big day was not the first time a couple have chosen to serve up waste food at a wedding.

Image source, Guzelian Photo Agency
Image caption,
The bride and groom had nearly 300 mouths to feed

Real Junk Food cafes in Manchester, Wigan and Leeds are all reported to have catered similar events.

In October, a couple sourced everything from their wedding cake to chilli main course from Oxford Food Bank's surplus stock.

It comes amid the rise of not-for-profit "pay-what-you-like" projects in the UK, which have been set up either to help people struggling to put a meal on the table or for environmental reasons.

Eggs & Bread in Walthamstow went viral in June after a man's Twitter thread about its donation-based model allowing people from all walks of life the chance of a good breakfast.

At ToastLoveCoffee in Leeds, all ingredients are donated from local shops and would have been otherwise wasted.

In south London, Brixton Pound Cafe uses surplus food to create vegetarian and vegan meals for "everyone". In 2018, the cafe saved 3.2 tonnes of food from landfill.

The Real Junk Food Project was launched in 2013 as a cafe in Armley, Leeds, offering meals produced from waste food.

It has since grown into a global network, and works to redistribute food that has been over-ordered or mislabelled by retailers, or it has passed its sell-by-date.