A THRIFTY bride and groom fed their 280 wedding guests today with food destined for landfill.

Kayley Cookson and Joe Tilson enlisted the help of food waste charity The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) to create a menu made up entirely of food heading for the bin for their wedding at Victoria Hall, Saltaire.

Something old, something new something borrowed, something blue – the things a bride cannot be without on her wedding day. But what about being green? Would you serve food that would otherwise have been wasted to your wedding guests?

That's what Kayley and Joe did with the help of the Wakefield-based charity.

Kayley explained they were keen advocates for the project from the start. "We are environmentalists at heart and try to avoid waste wherever possible, recycling everything we possibly can. We visited a TRJFP pay-as-you-feel cafe in Saltaire and sampled the food at a pop up in Trinity Kitchen in Leeds and loved it.

"Before even booking our wedding, we had discussed TRJFP being involved in the catering on the day. We enquired about wedding catering and received an enthusiastic response back from Adam Smith, the founder, and we were excited to go ahead."

Set up by Adam Smith in 2013, The Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort to bring about a radical change in our food system. A third of food is wasted globally – around 1.3 billion tonnes. But the charity says the perception of food waste is not always the reality. The food The Real Junk Food Project intercepts is "waste" simply due to structural problems in the food system, whereby goods are over-ordered, mislabelled or generally overlooked, not because it is all past its sell-by date.

In West Yorkshire, the charity puts perfectly edible food that would otherwise not make it to plate through quality control and makes it available to all on a 'pay-as-you-feel' basis.

In less than a year of being operational, the Wakefield Sharehouse alone had saved over 100 tonnes of food from being wasted; instead being distributed to individuals, cafes, schools and community groups. Since its inception, TRJFP has inspired over 120 projects globally at its peak, with Wakefield as project HQ.

Catered by Zelig, TRJFP Wakefield's event catering arm, wedding guests were only told the origin of their meal once they had started to eat, with a big reveal from the bride and groom, along with TRJFP's founder, trained chef, Adam Smith.

There were canapes and a barbecue ranging from ox, duck and chicken with vegan, gluten free and vegetarian diners all catered for.

Adam Smith said: "Catering for a wedding with surplus food epitomises the atrocity of the environmental issues facing us all. TRJFP provided food for 280 guests, showcasing our talents, the quality and range of food, and the scandal of what is needlessly wasted.

"By allowing food to go to waste, we are losing valuable resources; labour, land, energy and water used in production. Food waste alone accounts for a land use footprint of 1.3 bn hectares, 28 per cent of agricultural land and 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the food system.

"We are very proud and honoured that Kayley and Joe invited us to cater for their big day, and it was fantastic to see their guests' reactions at the big reveal, after they'd consumed surplus food. Changing people's perceptions through events like these are key to success. By spreading kindness, The Real Junk Food Project provides the network to power the solution."

Kayley said: "We wanted the guests to be impressed, inspired and completely clueless until the big reveal, and we hope they will talk about it to others that may not have thought about it before, and the word spreads about attitudes to food and waste."

"Myself and Joe been brought up with the value of waste not, want not, and being inventive with leftover ingredients to avoid throwing them away. My husband and I want to see a world that we care more about, where there is less mass production, more recycling, and better use of resources."

For Kayley and Joe, the surprise element only added to the event. "We took a gamble, as most couples will have tasted in detail what their guests will be receiving, but this to us was pretty exciting. We loved seeing the guests' faces when they found out that the food would have been discarded if it wasn't for TRJFP; which is amazing!"

With more Sharehouses on the horizon over the next 12 months, a partnership with Fareshare and the launching of the Kindness into Schools programme with 19 partner schools across Leeds and Wakefield in September, the project says it is continuing to grow to meet the enduring environmental challenge of food waste.