Outdoor mandap at Ankur-and Riya Patel’s wedding
Big fat Indian weddings can be grand and extravagant, but wasteful too. However, 2020 paved the way for more mindful celebrations. Green weddings—eco-conscious nuptials that are high on sustainability and low on carbon footprints—are the new normal modus operandi. Here’s how you can plan a wedding without killing the planet:
Digital invites are step one in the conscious wedding starter kit. If physical invitations are non-negotiable, use recycled or plantable paper (biodegradable and embedded with seeds) with vegetable-based inks. Reduce the number of inserts, and go paperless with your save-the-dates. Plantables and Plantcil specialise in seed paper invites and stationery. Art Papyrus uses recycled craft and cotton paper.
Outdoor venues? Just say yes. A wedding at a farm, botanical garden or even your own backyard offers more than just an Insta-friendly natural backdrop. Social distancing becomes easier, and décor can be minimised (especially for daytime celebrations). Ask your venue about recycling, reusable décor, and energy-efficient lighting. Host multiple functions at the same spot to reduce fuel emission.
Out: exaggerated floral centrepieces. In: reusable décor. Work with sustainable farm-to-venue florists for these. For her intimate garden wedding, actor Dia Mirza opted for plastic-free décor. She sourced flowers like mogra and rajnigandha from local vendors. Choose With Love, Nilma, Concepts.Green and Nose to Tail to ace eco-conscious décor.
Add zero-waste catering and a farm-to-fork spread to your menu. Replace single-use plastic with edible cutlery. Use seasonal produce, with potted herbs doubling as décor elements and fresh garnishes. For a traditional touch, host a sit-down lunch with banana leaves as plates. Tie up with food banks like Feeding India and The Robin Hood Army for leftovers and surplus.
In July last year, Princess Beatrice wed Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a vintage Norman Hartnell gown borrowed from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Follow her lead and wear an heirloom piece from your mother’s collection for your pheras too.
Like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, send out a sapling with your wedding invite. Or plant a tree for every guest who attends your wedding like Milind Soman. Wildflower seeds as wedding favours? They are Natalie Portman-approved. Pack them in upcycled fabric potlis from Vipul Shah. Edible gifts like jams and dry fruits in reusable glass jars will be a hit too.
Natural elements were aplenty at orthopaedic surgeon Ankur Patel and hotel operations executive Riya Patel’s wedding in Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles. The mandap was created around four trees. Rustic lanterns were the only décor. “The cliffs and ocean in the background made for a picturesque setting; we needed little else,” says the bride. The couple went green with their varmalas too, made using Italian ruscus leaves with a touch of hyacinth flowers.
Top tips from experts
Devika NarainTop tips from mindful wedding designer Devika Narain, founder of Devika Narain & Company, who strives to source elements from within 100km of the venue
1.“Go local with décor details. Think about where things are coming from, and where they will go. This will help smaller businesses, and reduce your carbon footprint.
2.“Reduce or completely do away with floral foam. It’s non-biodegradable and takes years to decompose. Use vases with water or chicken mesh instead.”
3.“Importing flowers is a nightmare in the current situation. So working with homegrown and locally sourced flowers presents an interesting challenge.”
4.“Say no to plastic in the form of bottles, wrapping or flex prints. Create water stations at fabric to wrap gifts, and build a reusable wooden dance floor.”
5. “Use seed paper for all your prints. Partner with brands creating interesting products from used flowers. Potted plants and locally sourced goodies make for great favours.”