Weddings are overwhelming, from venue and clothes, to decorations and food. And with that comes waste that would be left to rot and then mixed to be sent away to a dump yard many, many miles away from the city? Can wedding celebrations be ecofriendly and green?  Yes, definitely!

When Girish and I decided to take the plunge, it was but natural that we would opt for a no fuss, no frill wedding, without compromising on the beauty of the occasion. As I look back at the eve of our first anniversary, here’s what we did.

Invitation: We decided to do away with printed cards and only printed four cards for the registration purpose. The next step was to convince our parents that an e-version is the best. “How do we invite someone if we were to visit their place without a card?” Simple what’s app or email it, while orally inviting the friend or relative. If you really have to print a few extra cards for the elders in the family, by all means do so. 

The Mehendi Ceremony: We hosted the ceremony at home. Though the lunch and dinner was catered, it was delivered in large steel containers that ensured no unnecessary packaging and disposables.

The Wedding: We opted for a simple registration at the Marriage registrar’s office and so apart from the exchange of the rings, we chose garlands that automatically went in to mom’s compost bin. Now what happens when there is a ceremony- depending on what it entails – a stage set up, place for people to sit…make sure that the decorations used are not made of multilayered plastics and where ever possible use something that can be recycled, reused or composted, opt for seasonal flowers! Remember if in Karnataka, flex banner is banned.

The Venue for Lunch and Cocktails: For the both the occasions we chose a restaurant and a pub that needed no decorations. The lunch venue had natural light and was adorned with palms trees all over. There was no signage outside the restaurant signaling P Weds G. Water was served in glasses and there was a water station. There was no need or table cloth and though there was buffet lunch, care was taken to avoid any wastage of food, and the left overs was collected separately, weighed and sent for composting. The cocktails had finger foods, that needed no cutlery, but the pub made sure steel was used. Stirrer was also steel based and not plastic.

The return gift was a coconut, in a cloth bag, that could be reused for groceries and other shopping. Beware of polypropylene bags disguised as cloth bags!

The Final Wedding Walk: What does one shower on the newly wedded couple? Go back to the traditional way and use flowers (But it must be done in a place that can then be collected and composted) , and if in South India it is turmeric and rice mixed together. Make sure there is no glitter, sequins, coloured paper confetti, thermocol balls, striped streamers or glitter paper. While they do make for excellent photograph, it is not worth the damage. And we did away with itJ

Yes we did receive a lot of gifts and thankfully only six out of the many gifts came wrapped in paper/plastic.

All in all, for the both of us, it was simple fun filled memorable, classy and elegant affair more so, as it was guilt free and without doubling our ecological footprint and burning a hole in our pockets. Thinking back, I don’t think we needed to tell our guests about our ecofriendly wedding as many of our friends and colleagues have embraced the green way. It had all the elements of a traditional wedding, music, dance, drama, without the additional tension of handling waste.

So what’s our tip? Given that each wedding is unique, find a style that works for you and your partner without comparing your wedding to any another. Do what is best in your budget. An eco-wedding doesn’t have to be small, it just have to be mindful of wastage. Your caterers must abide by the prevailing rules and opt for non-disposables. Chose seasonal flowers and if possible weigh the waste, and lastly remember to have fun.

Pinky Chandran