Hi friends! My name is Mallory and I am the founder and lead planner for WasteKnot Weddings and Events. For my first blog I would like to introduce myself and share with you why I decided to start WasteKnot.
I was raised near Orlando, Florida (USA), and began taking dancing and singing lessons at an early age. Performing onstage quickly became a passion of mine and after earning my Bachelor of Arts in Music, Vocal Performance, from Rollins College I started my professional career performing at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks. I took some environmental science and writing courses in school that started my interest in how I could do my small part to watch my environmental impact, but I did not make it a main priority or career interest at that time. I knew that choosing to dance professionally had a time limit due to the physical demands, so I chose to pursue the performing arts. In 2011 I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and the Caribbean while performing on my first cruise ship contract, which opened my eyes to new countries and cultures. After my contract I was able to save enough to make the big move to New York City, which I called home for over seven years while performing, auditioning for Broadway shows and working many different side jobs to help pay my rent.
One of those side jobs was working in catering as a server for special events where I was able to see how every kind of event comes together, from lavish upscale weddings to intimate corporate luncheons. I enjoyed working alongside wedding planners, event liaisons, farmers, chefs, florists, and decor teams to create a beautiful collaborative event with extreme attention to detail. However, I also noticed how much waste is produced at particularly large-scale events, especially food waste that is thrown out and cannot be redistributed after the event due to strict regulations for donating food. I always brought food containers with me to bring home, but often there was a large amount thrown out, especially perishable foods. l felt so sad seeing the single-use plastic water bottles handed out at corporate luncheons (most of the time not even put in the recycling bin) or the wilting salad sitting on the buffet table to be thrown out in a few hours. It made me think, could some of this waste, if not all, be prevented if the planner had actually cared about our planet? But of course, I was just a catering server focused on getting a pay check and memorizing lines and song lyrics for my next audition.
While performing my last contract onboard the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship I sustained a severe knee injury and ended up getting surgery after. While healing at my parent’s house in Florida, I started to think of different career paths I could explore that would be less stressful on my body. I was also in a long distance relationship with my partner, Youri, at this time who went back to his job in Quebec once his contract as a marine engineer on the Oasis was finished. After physical therapy, I decided to go back to New York City one last time and pursued mainly singing auditions, as my knee was still not fully recovered. However, the city and the shows no longer had the same drive it once did for me, and I decided to move to Quebec to be with Youri and see what Canada had to offer this “retired” American performer.
Youri and I got married on December 14, 2019 at my parent’s house in Florida. I took this as a chance to come back to my eco-values and plan an eco-friendly wedding. Some of the eco-alternatives I used included having a shuttle service from the hotel and back for some of the guests, using all compostable plates and utensils for a modest buffet, catering from the local grocery store deli and a German restaurant nearby, and using a fantastic rental company providing drinking glasses, tables, chairs, linens, lighting and the tent. It was not perfect and nowhere near “zero waste”, but it was definitely a step in the right direction and looked stunning (see my gallery for photos!). We saved money and resources by limiting purchases and getting creative with what was already existing. As someone who is an expert with multitasking, I felt in my element planning my own wedding and achieving success while reducing my environmental impact, and I knew I could make this into a career one day.
After our awesome wedding, Youri got offered to work in the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. Hooray and goodbye, cold Quebec! Although the pandemic was and is difficult for everyone in it’s own way, I am actually grateful I had the opportunity to take the time to pursue what was important to me and start working towards new goals and a new career for myself. I applied for my permanent residency and while waiting for over a year for the outcome I took advantage of online courses and became a certified yoga instructor, certified wedding planner with The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC), competed the Eco-Wedding Seminar with WPIC, and completed the Sustainability Mastermind program with Eco-Friendly Events Canada (developing and keeping eco-habits).
Since receiving my Canadian permanent residency in July 2019, I have been educating myself on the environmental impact of events and weddings and creating resources for the top solutions and alternatives while gaining experience working at Sky Helicopters Event space as an Event Liaison, assisting weddings with The Wedding Concierge Canada lead planner, and working as the assistant rental coordinator at Greenscape Design and Decor. I visited my family in Florida for Christmas in 2021 and hosted an eco-friendly family dinner party (look out for that blog) and when I came back I looked at the goals I wanted to accomplish in 2022. So here we are, the launch of my very own earth-conscious wedding and event planning company, WasteKnot! Thank you for reading this lengthy introduction and I am so excited to see what the future brings!