Saturday, November 7, 2009

To rent or to buy disposable, that was the question.

The decision to self-cater brought with it a lot of other decisions. Like, do we rent dishware, buy plastic disposable, or buy biodegradable/compostable? I knew I did not want to use plastic and fill landfills with lots of stuff from our wedding. So for me, it came down to biodegradable plates/forks/etc or renting real dishes. I decided to use the adorable bamboo biodegradable disposable items I had found online and I even managed to get my mom on board with the idea too! We chose some cute little bamboo plates and utensils and fully biodegradable paper cups to order and then tallied up the cost for what we would need. Then we realized that for not too much more, we could rent ("recycle") real dishes that would look more elegant than disposable. And I did want our wedding and soirée to be elegant. "Simple and elegant" was a description that had guided me throughout the planning process. And I knew that if I got the biodegradable, I would have to figure out how to get everyone to separate their trash and then make sure that the biodegradable items got composted. Somewhere. And I had no idea how to make that happen.

So we decided to rent dishes, champagne glasses, water glasses, plates, serving plates, utensils, coffee urns, etc. We had a company recommended to us, and we went with them because he also had the best prices we had found. Only after renting did it sink in that all these dishes were now my responsibility and I had to keep track of them. I knew that we would probably lose some and break some and this stressed me out. Plus I had no idea who was going to manage scraping the dirty dishes and emptying the glasses before replacing them back in the containers, since our servers were leaving before the soirée would be over. So on the day before the wedding I was desperately wishing I had gone with the compostable option, so I wouldn't be so worried about being unable to control the dish situation. I envisioned glasses being left in bathrooms and us racking up hundreds of dollars of fees for lost and broken dishes. And I did not imagine this but on the night of the reception, I found myself dealing with the dishes as we were cleaning up (at the end of the party). And I again found myself wishing I had gone the (environmentally friendly) disposable route, instead of "recycling" by renting.

After it was all said and done, we went to settle up payment with the rental guy, and amazingly, we only had 4 missing/broken items...out of everything we rented! Which amounted to only $14. Feeling giddy with relief, I decided I was glad we had real dishes, which did look elegant and had a nicer "feel" to them than disposable. And we used real dishes for the Welcome Dinner the night before too. Our soirée did not create lots of waste and that feels good. And I did not have to figure out where or how to compost lots of stuff, which would have been a pain. And I did not have to leave our reception hauling bags of compostable items to our car as we drove off on our mini-moon.

But I will say that I plan to buy the adorable biodegradable stuff for some event in the future!

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