Weddings are going green in India, and we love it! In our new series #BetterWeddings, we bring you stories and resources that’ll inspire you to say ‘I Do’ to eco-conscious weddings.
What is your idea of the perfect wedding? A grand location, all your loved ones under one roof, celebrating the perfectly dressed couple who are about to take a vow to spend the rest of their lives together?
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Rejecting the conventional ideas of grand decorations and plastic cutlery, the eco-conscious couple decided to go green. It was, however, their day and they didn’t want to add on to the plastic burden of the planet.
In a humble ceremony in Mumbai, with a few close family members and friends, the couple used recycled, eco-friendly products for decorations. And it was not just replacing plastic products with bio-degradable ones, but making a conscious decision on the utilisation of natural resources in the products.
Deepa told The Better India, “Our first thought was to have only a court marriage. But following our ancient rituals which have their own significance is important to families. And we decided to choose a middle ground between both.
“Now we see its importance because, at each step, the exercise of thinking about each choice seeped through everyone, from us to the close families to the vendors to our friends and finally to all those who graced the day.
“And now we’re grateful that it’s spreading even further.”
Speaking to the Indian Express, Prashin said, “There is a lot of misunderstanding about what exactly is eco-friendly. Vendors argued that using tissue papers was justifiable as it is bio-degradable, not understanding that to make them, thousands of trees are cut and it’s made from fresh pulp.” Deepa told the publication, “They tried to coax us to give in to the ongoing practice saying ‘log kya kahenge’ (what will people say).”
Deepa told TBI, “Surprisingly, the greenest alternatives are the most hassle-free and at the same time they are more economical. What took effort was to convey the thought behind it. Because the simpler choices left people baffled. It took us multiple iterations to convince the vendors of our decisions. Some took it in good stride and played along and some even completely ignored our directions and went about it their way.”
The couple even refrained from sending out physical invites for their wedding ceremony.
Paper itself costs quite a few trees for manufacture and add to that the ink and plastic embellishments that beautify a wedding invitation and you’re looking at an aesthetically pleasing environmental hazard.
Instead, the couple sent the word out through WhatsApp and by personally meeting their friends and family in Mumbai.
Their journey to an eco-friendly wedding began when Prashin decided to propose to Deepa at a friend’s farmhouse in Kerala.
“I knew a diamond ring won’t work for Deepa,” Prashin told TBI adding that, “That’s when I asked a friend of mine, who makes musical instruments to make a wooden ring for her. He helped me inscribe our initials on the rosewood ring, which actually looks like a design!”
From there, the couple decided on a local wedding hall that has good ventilation and doesn’t need air conditioning.The decorations were also minimal and the food at the wedding consisted of six dishes–each made of seasonal vegetables, cooked simply and tastefully. The leftover food was taken away by the guests and given away to the needy.
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Although Deepa and Prashin’s parents were on board with the idea of a green wedding, certain traditions during the ceremony were not very easy to reject or avoid. Weddings in India are a massive event where hundreds of near-and-dear ones can meet each other and bless the couple.
But soon enough, all the people who mattered to the couple joined in their eco-friendly celebration. They even contributed to making decorations that were eco-friendly!
“Many friends made hand-made posters using old papers and things lying around in their homes, on which we explained what we had tried to do,” Prashin said.
“In fact, the main welcome board with our names was also made from a cardboard box of an LED TV purchased by a friend. With some pens and colours, he turned the board into something special inscribing our names–and it was beautiful,” Deepa added.
The wedding ceremony seemed to be a wonderful event, one that was celebrated with loved ones who genuinely understood Prashin and Deepa’s way of life, one that incurred minimal costs to the environment! What’s more, they even gave “return gifts” to their guests in the form of seed balls–a ball of cow dung, manure and a plant seed that the guests can simply throw out, and grow a plant!
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Signing off, Prashin told TBI, “I’d also like to point out that this is not a concept wedding for us- it’s a way of life for us. This wasn’t just for the wedding, this is how we intend to live our life. We believe in bringing something to our home only when there is a real need than a perceived want. So we still haven’t purchased/sourced a fridge, washing machine, microwave and so on. We are planning to continue this till we reach a point where we cannot function without it. We have not reached that point yet. Most of the things in our house are either from our families home (unused/recycled utensils) or purchased second-hand from friends. We hope to continue this in as much detail as we possibly can.”
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)