From using bioenzymes to clean the steel cutlery to composting the banana leaves used to serve meals, Jayashree and Abhinav have proved that big fat Indian weddings can be fun and responsible at the same time!
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When Bengaluru-based Jayashree Arun Kumar and Abhinav Bargur’s wedding got fixed last year, the duo wanted to celebrate their special day in a unique way. And the idea of a green wedding came naturally to the eco-conscious families of the bride and groom.
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Once the idea took root, the families got down to the logistics. The guest lists, venue, getting the right caterers and planners and of course, the reaction of the guests!
To address the doubts, Jayashree’s uncle got on board Green Utsav, a city-based initiative that organises zero-waste parties and events.
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“What exactly is a green wedding?” questioned one of the relatives.
To which Rishita Sharma, Green Utsav’s founder replied, “A wedding that does not harm the environment in anyway. No kind of non-recyclable waste like plastic is generated in any of the functions. This ranges from the food served to decorations.”
Of course, the doubts were not resolved immediately. In fact, till the final week of the wedding, the Kumar family was unsure if the wedding would turn out to be as expected.
With close to 3,000 people in the guest list, we were not confident of how the guests would react if they were asked to reuse cloth napkins or steel glasses considering plastic cups and tissues are used in huge numbers during weddings. We decided to trust Rishita and her team and were committed to the idea, Kumar tells The Better India.
The wedding was a two-day affair and involved sangeet, puja, wedding ceremonies and the reception. Except for the sangeet, Green Utsav organised all the functions which included two breakfasts and lunches and one dinner.
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Interested in finding out how Jayashree and Abhinav had their zero-waste wedding? Here is a list:
- Recycled paper was used to make the wedding invitations.
- The money earmarked for gifts for the guests was used to purchase 3,000 cotton pouches to give a coconut to each guest and buy cloth napkins.
- All the meals were either served on banana leaves or ceramic plates. Drinks including tea, coffee and water were served in steel glasses. Green Utsav team used bio-enzymes to sanitise the cutlery.
- Only flowers and leaves were used for decorations which were minimal. The flowers were brought in reusable cloth bags. The decorations and banana leaves were later sent for composting.
- Green Utsav team manned all the water stations to ensure hygiene.
- Though there was hardly any leftovers, the surplus food was sent to a local ashram.
By going eco-friendly, the couple managed to save close to 30,000 items of disposable waste. As per Kumar’s knowledge, there was no litter, “Many of the guests appreciated the green move and there were only two plastic bottles in my sight. The entire place looked clean. Green Utsav did a commendable job,” he says.
Though Green Utsav has organised several eco-friendly parties and events including weddings but a wedding of this scale was their first.
“It was a daunting task for us but the families handed over the entire planning to us and trusted us without any interference. This made it easy to coordinate and take charge of the event. It was a collective effort of the families and the Green Utsav team of caterers and decorators who worked to ensure that the wedding went off smoothly,” says Meena Subramanium, a core member of the organisation.
Just like any other couple, Jayashree and Abhinav and their families wanted the wedding to be memorable. Suffice it to say, that they not only managed to do so but also proved that the big fat Indian weddings can be fun and responsible.
You can get in touch with the organisation here.
Picture Courtesy: Green Utsav.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)
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