Flowers scattered, plates of half-eaten food lying on tables – unattended, running taps- abandoned, fairy lights flickering all through the night- making use of the uncalculated amount of electricity, plastic water bottles deserted unapologetically, the list is endless. Such is the aftermath of the big fat Indian weddings and it can get an eco-conscious person filled with immense guilt.
Making sustainable choices is the need of the hour. Shruti Tiwari, Managing Partner – Vogue Luxury Weddings shared on the need for eco-friendly weddings, “In today’s day and age, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to various kinds of material that may or may not be a necessity for a wedding, simply because we have the resources and means to procure it. Being in the Wedding and Events industry, it is very important for us to make conscious and eco-friendly choices that we are hopeful others will follow. We are seeing times where the entire ecological balance is slowly going off the charts and if we do not act upon it now, we may not even have a chance to say – ‘it is too late’.”
“An eco-conscious wedding can be defined as an event that is mindful of the impact it has on the environment and minimizes the damage caused to the environment to a large extent.”
More than a billion weddings take place in India every year. An average Indian spends 1/5th of their accumulated wealth on weddings (right from the intricately done wedding cards, magnificent décor to avant-garde sartorial choices). Though a happy and elated occasion, it is a noted fact that the Event and the Wedding industry is one of the largest contributors to the wasted environmental resources.
But has the multi-billion dollar wedding industry changed with the sustainable wave? “The graph of making choices for the wedding festivities has shifted significantly from the elders of the family to the couple in recent times. Many wedding affairs are turning towards being more private and intimate, some as small as only having family and close friends, and even to Destination Weddings, where only chosen few guests are invited. The environment-friendly materials use starts with the invitation cards made up of recycled or seed paper and extends to sustainable fabrics, biodegradable cutlery and return favors. These products are consciously sourced and chosen to minimize the carbon footprints.” said Shruti Tiwari.
Planning an eco-friendly wedding does not have to be a boring affair. Devyani Kapoor, Founder and Curator – Shuffling Suitcases (India’s first slow community curated by a slow fashion advocate), also a proponent of sustainable fashion set a new benchmark by adopting mindfulness and sustainability for her own wedding in February. Explaining the struggles of planning her own wedding, she shared “Weddings in India are synonymous to pomp and show with hundreds of guests, tons of food and grand décor. Belonging to a Delhi Punjabi family, it was a challenging experience to convince our families for a green wedding, which wasn’t the easiest choice but was a right one.”
If you have wedding on your cards this year, here are some Devyani approved ways to plan a green wedding.
Choose Eco-Friendly Invitations
“Save Trees” is a serious slogan. If it is mandatory to send invites, use paper that has a high-recycled content or is made from an alternative fiber, such as hemp or bamboo. Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of 380 gallons of oil, and keeps almost 60 pounds of pollutants out of the atmosphere. Pour out your love for art with beautifully handpainted invites crafted with hand- made paper.
Pick an Eco-Friendly Venue
When you think about wedding planning, the first thing one does is choosing the right wedding venue. Go for venues like palaces, gardens, beaches or temples that encapsulate the aura of nature. The naturally beautiful backdrop allows you to let go off the sets and extra paraphernalia associated with it.
Embrace Sustainable Sartorial Choices
Have a salwar you have worn just once? You could wear it for your mehendi or your haldi ceremony. If you actively follow the sustainability trend and have innate regard for our country’s rich textiles and crafts, get your trousseau essentials or even your wedding lehenga or saree handmade by the locally sourced tailors and artisans. Devyani adorned an intricately handwoven Dhakai Jamdani saree handcrafted by an artisan in Bangladesh. For jewellery, opt for pieces you can rent or go for your ancestral jewellery.
Be Conscious with the decor
If you are keen on using florals, make sure you do not make use of exotic flowers like peonies, hydrangea or orchids as they need a lot of care and also are expensive. Instead, go for flowers like roses and marigold that are easily accessible around us. Make use of handmade soy candles to light up the venue as they are more eco-friendly and have minimal carbon footprints. The candles used at Devayni’s wedding were hand-poured soy wax on wooden logs from carpenter’s waste wood.
Holistic Meals to reduce food waste
Meat and poultry industries are hugely responsible for a massive amount of carbon emissions. In addition, an elaborated menu increases greater chances of wastage. Aim for a simple menu that is majorly vegetarian. Choose a few non-vegetarian dishes if necessary, but do not go overboard.
Mindful Wedding Favours
Let your wedding favours also reflect the idea of sustainability just like your wedding. Gift your guests’ saplings or opt for bracelets and potlis( filled with plantable seeds) handcrafted with upcycled fabrics from local tailors.
Keep the total number of your guest list small. The lesser number of guests, the lesser the resources used and wasted. Be it food, fuel, fabrics or energy.
Recyclable Cutlery and Utensils
Make use of utensils and cutlery items that are sustainable and recyclable. Devyani made use of Kulhads, sourced from local potters to serve water at her wedding with no plastic and use and throw involved.
Make your wedding a special and a memorable one by doing your bit to save the planet and it’s resources. Also, do not forget to share your eco- friendly wedding ideas with us!