Green vows

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 23 July 2019

It’s encouraging to see how young couples are opting for eco-friendly weddings, which leave behind minimum waste

Just a few days back, netizens went berserk when South Africa based businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta spent Rs 200 crore on their sons’ weddings at Auli, Uttarkhand. But what created greater controversy was the 4,000 kg wedding waste that was generated. This led to the High Court asking the District Administration and Pollution Control Board to submit a report on the harm caused to the environment due to the waste. 

Indian weddings are all about grandeur, traditions and flamboyance. A lot of planning and funds go into the attire, jewellery, decor and banquet, but little thought is given to wedding waste. From invitation cards to plastic glasses to the huge amount of electricity used for the decorations, weddings can generate a lot of trash and cause harm to the environment. 

Thankfully, conscientious young couples are opting for green or eco-friendly weddings nowadays. They are taking small steps to bring about a big change. They are going green in their wedding celebrations with the choice of accoutrements which are reusable. Natural and sustainable edible choices and décor elements can keep things even more ecologically responsible. Their focus is to make weddings more memorable. 

Piya Jadhav, founder, The Wedding Twist, says, “Slowly, the younger crowd is making changes, however, it is still tough to convince the parents and families of the bride and groom to opt for green weddings.” 

Damini Oberoi, founder and owner, Q Events, says that more than the elites, working couples are going for environment-friendly weddings. “They do not have family pressure to follow the social norm of ‘a big fat wedding’. Also, they are the ones who spend on their wedding so they stick to a budget. For my own wedding, my husband and I decided to print just two cards — one for the gurudwara and the other for the temple. Rest everyone else were sent e-invites. Now, the older generation too has starting accepting e-invites.” 

She adds that a lot of young couples want natural surroundings as wedding decor rather than artificial adornments. “When people go for destination weddings, the places are so beautiful that they do not need any extra decoration. Many a time, event companies put up so many things like structures and drapes, which are not needed,” says Oberoi. 

Small changes here and there 
Wedding planners say that they are coming up with initiatives to make changes in the way they organise weddings. These changes are not drastic but they are enough to save the environment in a small way. 

Jadhav says that one can reduce carbon footprint by opting for morning weddings. “Evening weddings mean usage of too much electricity. If people opt for morning or sunset weddings, the electricity consumption will be less. Also, tissue papers are unnecessarily used. Instead, we could use cloth,” she suggests.  

Oberoi says that as an organisation they have been promoting eco-friendly weddings for a long time. “We have been making small changes. For example, there is a lot of wastage of food at weddings, so we have tied up with the NGO Feeding India. The NGO collects all the leftover food and gives it to the needy. Other than that, we also try to recycle the flowers that we have already used. We use it for making soaps or perfumes.” 

Oberoi says that brides can recycle the outfits and jewellery. “They can redo their mother’s bridal wear and jewellery the way they want,” she says adding, “Instead of artificial flowers, organic flowers can be used. We use a lot of products which are from our junkyard. We use scooters, rickshaws, old rods etc. We also use metal structures which are reusable for a longer period of time rather than the breakable ones. We use potted plants and also give it as return gifts.”   

Bollywood celebs inspiring others 
Many Bollywood celebrities are also choosing green weddings and inspiring others as well. Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja, who got married last year, opted for an e-invite for their wedding. Television actors Rubina Dilaik and Abhinav Shukla’s wedding card was an organic one, made of MDF and recyclable paper, which made it totally biodegradable. 

Model-actor Milind Soman and his wife Ankita Konwar planted a sapling for every guest who attended their wedding. Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli gifted saplings along with their wedding invite to their guests. 

Shehzarin Udwadia, director, Wedniksha (an initiative by Wizcraft), who had planned Sonam and Anand’s dream wedding, says, “Today, couples prefer eco-friendly weddings to conserve the environment and ensure that their celebrations do not cause any hazard to it. The celebrity wedding of Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja saw great eco-friendly essences in most details of the wedding. From the wedding invitation to the decor, everything was carefully curated to ensure the same.”
Udwadia further adds, “In today’s digital time and era, every reference is taken from online spaces and most wedding planning decisions are made from what’s aspirational. Celebrities definitely have a great influence, so they do create benchmarks for wedding planners to recreate similar backdrops and ambience to feel nothing less than a diva/ prince on their big day.”

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