Imagine receiving a wedding invitation on an earth-toned, biodegradable paper. You are instantly impressed with the to-be-wed couple’s initiative and you look forward to the wedding date.
The blessed day finally arrives and you are amazed by the open venue. The decor is handmade by the bride and groom and their family. You immediately feel the intimacy and closeness the couple share with their near and dear ones too.
Just as you turn to leave, you notice a station of potted plants with your name on it. And you get to take it home and nurture this reminder of a beautiful, eco-friendly wedding you were a part of.
As we head into the wedding season, here are a few things you ought to know before planning your big day.
1. Eco-friendly invitation cards
A plantable wedding invitation card by Mostly Handmade | Photo credits: Mostly Handmade (@mostlyhandmade on Instagram)
Opt for digital or e-invitations and do away with traditional printouts. These are cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
If you still want to go with the traditional printed cards, consider using eco-friendly materials like recycled paper or seed paper that are biodegradable and embedded with seeds that can grow into plants.
Another suggestion is to use the same material to print the list of events or the food menus at the wedding.
Here are a few brands that offer eco-friendly invitation cards:
- Seed Paper India – contact: 6364699837
- A2 Naturals – contact: 9148426999
- Mostly Handmade – contact: 96633 79781
2. Choose an open venue
An open venue or an outdoor wedding during the daytime would help in reducing the consumption of electricity. But while doing so make sure you choose a venue with abundant shade and tree cover.
Here are a few venues you can consider:
The Tamarind Tree
Temple Tree Farm
Shree Swargha Heritage Wedding Venue
3. Reusable decor and local flowers
Consider repurposing materials like coconut shells, glass bottles, antique vintage pieces, earthen pots, old wooden furniture, and so on to make DIY decorations. Paper and cloth decorations can easily replace the usual plastic ones.
Get creative on your big day. Use chalkboards at the entrance, signages on mirrors, dried flowers or leaves to shower the couple, and materials like jute as decor to add a rustic charm to the venue.
Opt for only using locally available flowers that are in season. This would help in reducing the carbon emissions from transportation and support local farmers or vendors. Another alternative is to use reusable artificial flowers made of fabric materials or paper.
Here are a few wedding decorators you can consider:
- Panigrahana weddings
- With Love, Nilma
4. Eco-friendly favours
If you are planning an eco-friendly wedding, then wedding favours or gifts for the guests are the perfect way to share one’s love for the environment and spread the message of eco-consciousness.
Potted plant saplings, seed balls, or flower seeds are one way to go. Reusable goodies like jute or cloth tote bags, metal or bamboo straws, steel water bottles, cork or coasters made of eco-friendly materials, soy or beeswax candles, and handmade organic soaps, are another option.
You can also gift edible favours like a perfect blend of fair trade coffee or locally produced organic honey, sweets, or wines. These products can make a perfect eco-friendly gift kit for guests.
Here are a few enterprises that offer eco-friendly gifting options:
- Horticult – contact: 6360442923
- Down to Earth
- Kottanz – contact: 7760210084
- Best Day Ever by Deepika Shetty – contact: 9739724499
5. Eco-friendly wedding dress and cruelty-free makeup
Bride Veena wearing the same saree her grandmother wore 50 years back. (Source)
Opting to not buy new outfits is another way to show your support for the cause but we know that may seem like a stretch for most. So, a strong statement of eco-consciousness could also mean wearing eco-friendly clothing for your wedding day. Be it saris, lehengas or gowns, shirts or sherwani make sure that they are made using sustainable materials.
Choose vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic products that are made in India.
Here are a few makeup artists who offer vegan bridal makeup:
Rekha Krishnamurthy (On request) – contact: 9845480507
6. Use eco-friendly cutlery
Steel cutlery at an eco-friendly wedding.
Reduce the huge amount of wastage while serving food and drinks at the wedding by avoiding cutlery made of plastic or other disposable materials. Opt for steel, wooden, ceramic, or glass cutlery that is reusable and doesn’t go into a landfill.
These utensils can be rented out thereby being eco-friendly and budget-friendly at the same time.
Edible cutlery is also a good alternative.
Here are a few enterprises offering edible and reusable cutlery for rent:
Rent-A-Cutlery – contact: 9731211364
SpillSavers – contact: 9980087898
EdiblePRO – contact: 7760890320
7. Say no to food wastage
Robin Hood Army in Chennai
Food wastage is a big no if you are planning an eco-friendly wedding.
Check with your guests on their food preferences and plan the menu accordingly. One can also try to incorporate local or seasonal food items into the menu which would help the local farmers and caterers and also reduce carbon emissions caused during the transportation of exclusive or exotic food items.
Despite planning consciously, there may be some surplus food that can be given to NGOs or local volunteers who could donate the food to the underprivileged.
Another option is to have local vendors cater for the wedding so that they can deal with the surplus food.
Here are a few NGOs that collect/accept surplus food:
Robin Hood Army
Bangalore Food Bank – contact: 9538035252
Shishu Mandir – contact: 9379271391
8. Light up eco-friendly
Though a daytime wedding would be the best choice for making the event eco-friendly, several eco-friendly lighting options can help one save electricity consumption and money. Lighting the venue using candles made from natural sources like soy or beeswax, which are scented with essential oils, would set a beautiful and romantic mood. Colourful paper lanterns can also add light and beauty to the venue.
One can also rent solar lighting using solar-powered lights that have built-in batteries and are charged via solar panels.
Here are a few brands that make eco-friendly candles:
Summer Scents Apothecary
9. Managing waste consciously
Compost pit with banana leaves and rolling paper (left) and used decoration flowers. (Source)
Though the wastage can be reduced to an extent, there would be some amount of wastage in the form of food or floral decorations. This can be managed by making arrangements to get them composted. The waste at the wedding venue can be segregated in labelled waste bins thereby making it easier for the guests to dispose of waste consciously.
Here is an organisation that can help you in composting waste responsibly:
Hasiru Dala – contact: 9742112362
10. Plant trees to celebrate
Plant a tree to celebrate.
Planting a tree or several more seems like the perfect way to commemorate your big day. Practised in several communities across the world, planting trees brings even more meaning to this auspicious day.
Here are a few plant nurseries:
Lalbagh Nursery – contact: 8026576733
Krishnendra Nursery – contact: 97316 48687
9 Easy yet Creative Ideas to Make your Wedding an Eco-friendly One by Medha Chawla; published by Weddingbazaar.
Six easy ways to organise a mindful, eco-friendly wedding by Hasina Khatib; published by Vogue India on 17 June 2019.
How To Plan An Eco-Friendly Wedding in India by Shinjini Chawla; published by Urban Company on 26 April 2018.
5 ways to have an eco-friendly wedding by Pallavi Mehra; published by Architectural Digest on 15 April 2021.
Edited by Yoshita Rao