There are sustainable weddings. And there are the quintessential fun and big fat Indian weddings. But can one manage to have them both? Yes, with a little effort you can and here’s a fine example of one such sustainable wedding that took place recently. This gorgeous wedding celebration that took place in Surat, Gujarat sets a true example of exactly how it’s done. Ashreen and Naitik Shah’s wedding had all the shenanigans of what one would expect from a luxurious wedding, yet sticking to the theme of sustainability and environment-friendly celebrations.
Eco-friendly weddings are slowly but surely gaining popularity. And the best part, planning it is no rocket science. It just requires one to be mindful and look at generations of accepted norms within the wedding industry through the lens of sustainability.
A few important areas the couple focussed on were venue selection, guest lists, stationery and invites, decor, clothes, gifting and lastly waste management.
Since the couple was quite intent on getting majority of the aspects consciously done, they got on board ‘Nosetotail green events’. According to the bride, it was essential to get someone on board who were also conscious about environment and would themselves come up with creative alternatives.
Starting from the invites, the perfect tool to set the tone of the celebration ahead, guests received a digital copy to cut down on paper wastage. We’re living in a digital world and must leverage it in every way possible for a cleaner planet. Also, courtesy Covid, the invite list automatically got reduced to close family and friends who relished every special moment, yet saving on the carbon footprint.
India has some of the most beautiful destinations for a wedding, however the city and venue was chosen on the basis of the guest list. To start with, since majority of the guests were from Surat, the groom’s hometown, it only made sense to have the celebrations there and reduce travel related carbon emissions.
Moving on to the decor…while the theme and decor for all the wedding and pre-wedding functions was visually starkly different, there was one thing in common. It was all decorated elegantly using fresh seasonal Indian flowers, upcycled scrap elements, and other earth friendly materials like jute, terracotta and wood. There was a lot of thought put into every design to avoid the use of toxic florist foam and single use plastics, which otherwise end up in the landfill and pollute our soil and water bodies.
When it came to clothing, it’s very difficult to find sustainable clothing in wedding wear. Finding labels that involve conscious process at each stage is nearly impossible. But trying not to compromise on our values, the bride and the groom bought pure fabrics and not polyester or manmade fabrics. So, fabrics and styles that are timeless and will last a lifetime were chosen. The bride’s roka lehenga was repurposed from her mom’s old saree and her mehendi lehenga was from upcycled material, cocreated with the label ‘Maga’.
The gift favours and room hampers consisted of local delicacies packaged in earth-friendly reusable pouches and boxes, something the guests could take back home and continue using for a long time.
Lastly, and most importantly was waste management. This required the entire network of the hotel staff, decorators and the guest themselves to work together and ensure firstly, limitation of waste generated and finally segregation. There are organisations like ‘Concepts Green’ also who specifically help in segregation of waste at source during events. At every step, there was attention given to sustainability, without compromising on any of the luxuries in terms of décor, food and other arrangements.
After all, a sustainable wedding makes everyone happy – the couple, their guests and also Mumma Earth!