Hosting Sustainable Events
at Heroncrest and beyond
The information provided below will inspire and guide you towards more sustainable choices for your wedding or event. At Heroncrest, we have a track record now of diverting 93% of all waste to either be composted, recycled, or reused. We of course have our own thoughts and learnings to share on the topic, and we want to help guide and support others like us in finding more sustainable ways to live and interact.
Hosting a sustainable event is actually simple.
To get started we want to outline three decisions you can make that will greatly impact your ability to have a sustainable event.
1. Choose a sustainably ran venue
2. Choose vendors that operate using sustainable practices
3. Making sustainable choices when it comes to disposable items
Choose a sustainably ran venue
This first one is key. Trying to work with a venue that does not take sustainability seriously is not a recipe for success. If it is important to you, you should find a venue that puts sustainability first. You can still manage to run a mostly sustainable event with the right help but knowing the venue and their associates are looking out for you and making smart choices on your behalf will make all the difference. Especially when it comes to behind-the-scenes decisions. We do not believe that people deep down are that resistant to operating sustainably, but in most cases, it is a lack of education on the topic and a lack of systems and processes. We ourselves took time to realize what needed to change in order for us to get to where we are today, and we are always looking for ways to share those learnings with others, be it clients, vendors, or other venues.
Venues that are serious about sustainability will have a robust plan for how to handle and sort waste. They will be partnered with the right companies to ensure every item has a designated way to be handled and disposed of properly. For example, if you choose a venue that has not managed compost sorting before they will probably have to hire out the task which will mean higher operating costs for them and of course a higher price for you.
A venue that runs a sustainable operation will be your best friend and partner in making smart decisions and will help you find the right vendors. I know we love to talk about sustainability and love to prove the naysays wrong when it comes to common misconceptions like "It can't be done" or "it costs too much" we have heard these many times but have a proven track record that it can actually be less expensive and provide an even greater guest experience which is what we are all about.
Choose vendors that operate using sustainable practices
Your second-best help in this journey is finding the right vendors. These are the companies and artisans you will hire to provide your guests with the experience you expect. I believe asking your venue for recommendations is the easiest way forward, but we get excited about meeting new and local companies so finding your own vendors can be fun and educational as well.
Seasoned vendors of course play a huge role in setting the standard for your region and the expectations of your guests. However, finding new and up-and-coming vendors that are also passionate about sustainability can be a great way to help out new local talent and can also help you find someone willing to go the extra mile.
Sitting down with the owners of these companies and getting a chance to meet them during setups has become one of our favorite parts of operating a venue and we know that most vendors are willing to hear you out and help you make the right decision.
If sustainability really is a keep driver for you be sure to bring it up early in the conversation. A vendor that is comfortable talking about their recycling program or sharing details of their most recent events will give them a chance to set you at ease and ensure you are both on the same page.
Making sustainable choices when it comes to all the above
This is the most tangible decision you will make. Literally deciding what will be brought in and used for the event. This is the largest impact you can make on your event...period.
You can pick the venue of your dreams and hire all the right vendors but if someone just goes and picks out cheap acrylic plates for your event there is almost nothing that can be done to undo that decision. It really does break our hearts when a client has gone out of their way to make their event as sustainable as possible to then be outdone because of a well-intentioned individual having made an error and purchased the wrong item. Last-minute decisions like that are probably the hardest to correct. We have ways to mitigate those issues for ourselves but hosting detailed planning sessions will always be a good start. One of the best options is to focus on durable items where possible as much as possible.
Hosting a gala using rented linens, plates and cups will never go out of style, and since most everything will be cleaned and reused, it remains one of the most sustainable choices you can make. As the need for some disposable items will come up, choosing and enforcing the use of compostable materials is key.
We host events for groups of 150 to 1200 weekly, and we find that the more intimate an event is the higher-end the event should feel, so only rented items will do. On the other hand, hosting an event for 1000 to 1500 means volume, and choosing to go compostable will be the smartest choice. Now, enlisting the use of compostable items for beverage service and dispensing wedding cake is an easy decision to make, and with so many options on the market today you can be sure to offer one that still matches the tone of your event.
Again, if you are working with a venue and vendors that already manage sustainable events, lean on them to help you make those decisions. They may be able to get you better prices on compostable items, and of course, they will also be able to help you negotiate better pricing on rentals as well. Relationships matter in this business.
In conclusion, for now
There is so much to be said on this topic, and we will add additional subtopics in the future, but for now, we want to keep this simple and hopefully inspire those that have not had an event with us before, or other venues, to take on the challenge to host more sustainable events. We want to see this become the norm and not the exception.
There feels to be a lack of mentorship in this industry when it comes to running a sustainably focused business, and we hope to change that by being upfront with what we have learned and taking on the challenge of opening up the dialog so that others can share and be heard as well.
We are ever learning and looking to grow.
Six things to avoid buying if you want to host a more sustainable event
Are you looking for a checklist of things to avoid that will help you host a more sustainable wedding or event? If so here is a list of top offenders that can easily be replaced with more suitable and sustainable options. Based on our business today these account for about 60% of the true waste that has accumulated over the past year.
Acrylic plates and cups
Anything made of polystyrene, or white foam.
Really anything plastic that is not compostable