Many of us are familiar with the concept of a big fat Indian wedding.
They comprise loud music, extravagant decor, lavish meals, and expensive attires, all of which serve to depict the prosperity of the families coming together.
While on one hand, this trend continues to exist, there is another fast-growing group of couples who have begun to see through the shiny veil.
For them, it is not about how big a wedding is, but how unusual and meaningful it can be.
Keeping this in mind, a couple in Puducherry decided to set the wheels in reverse, and return to their roots.
“For any couple, their wedding day is of paramount importance, but it need not be accompanied by a big party. It can also be a meaningful affair, which leaves people with sweet and lasting memories. And, we saw this happening in our wedding ceremony which was in harmony with our traditions, cultures as well as nature,” said the 30-year-old groom, requesting anonymity, to The Better India.
A simple ceremony with a lasting impact is what this couple had in mind, so they decided to go green and ensure that their wedding in January 2019 would be completely eco-friendly.
And, in this, their first step was to redefine wedding cuisine.
“Food is one of the most important parts of a wedding. I remember when I was a kid, the idea of eating at a wedding was fascinating, especially because people would get to eat lavish meals that they don’t usually eat in their daily lives. That, however, has changed now. Families no longer wait for weddings or festivals to eat good food. So, we wanted to introduce people to more simpler and healthier meals, and show them how this food can be both healthy and delicious at the same time,” he added.
Keeping the menu traditional, they experimented with healthier alternatives like healthy rice varieties, and millets.
“We did not use white rice (polished), maida, sugar, and refined salt. Instead, we used naturally and organically grown items—from vegetables to groceries,” said the brother of the groom.
To eliminate the use of plastic and paper, the food and drinks were served in plates made of leaves and ever silver (stainless steel) tumblers, respectively. Even for invitations, the minimal use of paper was promoted.
“We introduced e-invites for friends, and minimal paper invites for the elders, which explained the nature of the wedding, including the food items and their health benefits. Many people feel that millets cannot be made in a tasty manner, but we proved all that wrong. After tasting the meal and knowing its benefits, more and more people became interested and wanted to know more about them,” he added.
From eco-friendly bags by an NGO, Yellow Bag, to hand-woven clothing by Nurpu Handlooms, Tula and Chitrika Handlooms for the wedding attendees, the efforts made by the couple to promote a green and sustainable lifestyle was loud and clear.
“We had planned to make our wedding a platform for learning and awareness about the environment and how simple and small changes can impact it. So, it was important to not just give the guests a one-time taste of an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, but enable them to inculcate it. And that’s why, at the wedding, we made sure to introduce every farmer, craftsperson, and the NGOs who provided us with organic food, clothing, decor, and other such assorted items,” the 24-year-old bride said.
The couple’s wedding invitation also encouraged guests to donate for a more significant cause, instead of giving them gifts.
“We solicit your presence more than your present (gifts). We would urge you to donate for a cause to ForestFirstSamithi.org for planting trees in the Western Ghats which is the source of rivers for South India on our behalf,” the invitation stated.
The event even included a feedback section!
Many people marry for their families, while some do it for themselves. This couple set a truly positive precedent by marrying for their family, themselves, and the environment, making it a memorable experience.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)