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A GREEN WEDDING - Eco-friendly Wedding

Recyclable cutlery, potted plants as decoration, functions held in daylight to avoid wasting electricity – the Indian wedding is taking a turn towards sustainability. Find out how you can plan yours too, in an eco-friendly way.

 Indian weddings are synonymous with vivid colours, twinkling lights, thumping music and much fanfare. They scream abundance and extravagance. So, when you hear the words eco-friendly associated with a wedding, you wouldn't be blamed for having your doubts. However, it is truly possible alongside a beautiful affair. “In today's world, more than ever, it is important to conserve natural resources,” says soon-to-be married Jahnvi Kapoor, from New Delhi. “A wedding is such a waste of resources and causes so much pollution, we should definitely be more responsible and make it as eco-friendly as possible.”

Jahnvi has taken a few steps to make sure her wedding doesn't hurt the environment. More events will be held in the daytime to make use of natural light, and to cut down on the noise pollution, loud music blasted through speakers has been avoided. Wedding planner Lakshmi Rammohan of Dreamweaver Weddings, Gurgaon, has seen more couples, especially NRIs, incorporating environmental friendly practices into their wedding. “My clients being primarily NRIs come with a far more heightened sensitivity to the environment,” says Lakshmi. “The biggest impact has been to the wedding invite; it is now printed on recycled paper or handmade paper and in much smaller Quantities. Couples are even opting to send e-vites."

When it comes to a wedding, location is everything and this can play a vital role in how eco-friendly your wedding is. According to Candice Pereira, creative head and wedding planner at Marry Me Wedding Planners, Mumbai, “The perfect venue for your eco-friendly wedding could be as simple as your neighborhood garden. The venue itself could be beautiful and not need much decor. You could also consider holding both your functions on the same day, at the same venue – to save on twice the amount of decor as well as transporting guests from one venue to another."

When it comes to decor, what Indian wedding is complete without flowers? Our weddings make copious use of flowers and are used on everything from the stage to the entrance. But, while they may look beautiful, cut flowers do die soon, giving rise to large amounts of wastage. “Opt for plants and mini trees from your local nursery,” suggests Candice. “This would really keep with the nature' feel – similar to (Prince) William and Catherine's wedding decor.” If you cannot do without flowers on your wedding day, then try to use local flowers as much as possible, suggests wedding planner Archie Paranji from Hyderabad. There are even agencies that will collect the flowers post-wedding and dry them to make organic colour according to Lakshmi. Lights are all-important at an Indian wedding. And it may not be possible to hold all the events surrounding the wedding during daytime. “When lights need to be used, go for LED lights,” says Archie. “They consume less power and so even the use of a diesel generator is reduced.”

A big no-no at an eco-friendly wedding is plastic. "With hundreds of guests attending, we realised that serving food in plastic dishes, while it would be easy would also result in a pile-up of rubbish,” says newlywed Prinitha Shankar from Bengaluru. “So we opted for traditional "yellai saapad, where the meal is served on a banana leaf for all our wedding functions.” Archie suggests terracotta as well. “Mud pots and bowls can be used to serve many dishes; these dishes looks pretty and are eco-friendly at the same time."

When it comes to wedding favours, there are plenty of eco-friendly options available. “As favours or giveaways, your best option would be anything edible!” says Candice. “Especially organic honey, homemade jam, organic cookies, coffee or tea.” A novel giveaway are potted herbs.

Simple applications put into effect can make your wedding an eco-friendly one. “Pick venues that have the said practice in play – this will encourage more venues to put basic eco-friendly practices into play,” says Lakshmi. You can build awareness about the environment, and maybe even influence friends and family to follow similar practices.

Eco-friendly doesn't mean sparse or shoddy. So, speak to your planner and here's to saving the environment, one wedding at a time. 

Dreamweaver Weddings It is very often difficult to marry practicality and eco-friendly practices in the wedding scenario, so it would be good to engage a consultant to calculate the carbon footprint of your wedding, learn what measures can be taken to offset them and carry out those measures. These measures need not be at the wedding itself but could involve friends and family taking an informed action in the right direction. A lot of people think planting trees is the solution; while it is, it cannot be indiscriminately done, as you could end up with the opposite effect of what you want.

Marry Me Wedding Planners Eco-tourism has picked up as an activity with leisure travellers all over the world, and honeymoons are no exception. A lot of green honeymoon destinations have incorporated a variety of environment-friendly practices like recycling programs, using decor made with reclaimed materials, green-energy usage, nature-conservation programs and other sustainable practices that enable its customers to enjoy a gorgeous getaway with a clearer conscience. There are fabulous options for an eco-friendly honeymoon in India and abroad, so do some research before picking your honeymoon destination.