The wedding season is here, and most of us are overwhelmed with invitations! While fun, big fat Indian weddings are quite infamous for generating copious amounts of waste.
However, many millennial couples are treading the eco-friendly path on their weddings by opting for zero-waste celebrations. Though the trend is yet to catch on a widespread scale, it is almost imperative to laud these endeavours.
Here is a beginner’s guide to organising a zero-waste, organic and 100 per cent sustainable wedding. And guess what, it’s way easier on your pocket too!
1. No more cards
Wedding cards, no matter how ornately they are designed, are a thing of the past. Welcome to the age of digital or e-invites. You can simply unleash your quirky and creative side on a digital poster or presentation, highlighting the events of your week-long jamboree (as Indian weddings generally are!)
This even allows you to personalise your invitation, pushing aside all formalities and norms of a printed card.
If you’re worried that senior guests might frown at an e-invite, there is a simple solution. Rahil and Shaily Shah from Vadodara, who got married in a zero-waste wedding in 2019, share a tip, “To do away with all dilemma and disapprovals, we requested them to graciously accept this digital invitation as we were inviting the environment to our wedding as well.”
2. Minimalism is the keyword
Keep the decorations to the minimum to avoid heaps of waste later!
For example, fresh flowers, which are both expensive and wasteful, can be replaced by their customised satin/fabric variants. Not only are these reusable, but will also accentuate the elegance of your venue.
In fact, these satin/fabric flowers can be strewn and stitched into beautiful garlands as well!
However, if you are a true connoisseur of flowers and cannot imagine your special day sans the fresh aroma of roses or vibrant orchids, then make sure you send the blooms for composting afterwards!
3. Electric lights out, solar lanterns in
With all the flashy iridescent lights, halogen lamps and dazzling LEDs gleaming up your venue, light pollution is inevitable. Moreover, these fittings also consume an enormous amount of electricity. In fact, at a typical Indian wedding around Rs 1.5-2 lakh is spent on lighting alone.
Solar-powered lights are, therefore, the best sustainable alternative. Beautiful solar lanterns and lamps can also add that rustic touch to your wedding. You can even opt for this solar lamp with radio and play the perfect music as well!
4. Clinky-clanky cutlery
One of the largest categories of waste generation at weddings is plastic cutlery. India generates a staggering 26,000 tonnes of plastic every day! This can be easily avoided by using reusable cutlery like steel or glassware.
If you’re thinking fancy, earthenware like bone china is another option. Banana leaf is another alternative which plays out in perfect harmony with the traditional vibes of the ceremony. You need not empty your pockets in buying sustainable cutlery as rental ventures are more accessible today.
Here is a list of organisations in different cities that let you rent cutlery:
- Bengaluru: Rent-A-Cutlery
- Gurugram: Crockery Bank for Everyone
- NCR: Trash Trimmers
- Chennai: Namma Ooru Foundation
- Mumbai: Brass Line Hirer
- Pune: Zero Waste Party
- Ahmedabad: Hamdubhai Mominbhai & Sons (HMS)
- Hyderabad: The Bartan Company
- Panaji: The Sophisticated Touch
Note: Make sure you stay away from plastic bottles and paper napkins as well!
5. Go Organic
If you are following an organic lifestyle, it is a given that you’ll keep up with the same on your big day. Contrary to popular myths, having an all-organic wedding does not cost a bomb.
From vegan, animal-friendly make-up products to organic ingredients on your dinner plate, it takes just a little effort to ensure no chemicals make their way into your wedding. Here is a whole range of organic, cruelty-free beauty and wellness products that you can opt for.
6. No food waste
Food waste is perhaps the saddest part of Indian weddings. Between 10-20 per cent of the food goes to waste at an average Indian wedding. Cumulatively, it amounts to USD 14 billion worth of the best meals!
Many NGOs today are tackling the food waste problem by collecting surplus and donating it among the underprivileged. Notably, Feeding India, Robin Hood Army and No Food Waste are doing incredible work all over the country to curb the food wastage menace. Get in touch with any of these organisations and help feed some needy people on your special day.
7. Return Gifts
The tradition of giving return gifts to guests is an essential part of Indian weddings. Perhaps, the best sustainable return gifts are plants – which are deeply meaningful and eco-friendly at the same time.
From dry fruits, sweets and savouries to skincare essentials, other popular return gift options can also be entertained in the zero-waste style, by making use of reusable containers, jute bags or cloth purses!
They say marriages are made in heaven. So, why should your wedding leave behind a trail of waste for the planet? There cannot be a better start to your journey of a lifetime than zero carbon footprints!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)