Weddings are one of the most important days of all our lives. It’s a day on which you express your love and commit to a person in front of your friends and family. Big fat weddings are a great deal, especially in a country like India. We celebrate weddings no less than a festival, enjoy every moment of it. It’s an event that requires a lot of meticulous planning so that everything goes smoothly on the wedding day. But in all these things we often forget about the huge waste that we leave behind after the wedding. With more and more plastic being used and food being wasted at weddings, weddings across the world are leaving a massive carbon footprint and waste behind.

In ancient India, weddings were about committing to a person in front of intimate family and friends and not about spending a hefty sum. Traditional Indian weddings were also waste-free and eco-friendly. It’s time we acknowledge our beautiful and thoughtful tradition and switch to the elegant way of celebrating the auspicious day without degrading the environment and planet. Imagine a wedding that is all about celebrating affection and love, and being completely eco-friendly and green; it would be a great way to show respect and responsibility towards mother earth, setting a good example for your future generation.

If you’re someone who’s planning a wedding, looking for tips or someone who just loves the idea of green weddings, here are a few tips that are both elegant and close to heart.

Invitations and Gifts

Probably one of the first things that start with a wedding is sending out invitations. Let your journey of a sustainable wedding begin from this step. Use chemical-free dyes to print. Use recycled papers or papers with embedded seeds for your invitations. If it is an intimate wedding then write your invitations yourself. Once the wedding is done, the seed embedded cards could be sown in moist soil. They will grow into beautiful plants. This is a great way to show that weddings are about giving back.

Do not be hesitant to let your guests know about no bouquet and plastic gift policy. As return gifts, you could give them saplings of various plants or Eco-friendly Gifts. They will always remember your beautiful wedding.

Venue

Choose a venue that sets the vibe of weddings and celebrations. Choose outdoor wedding venues and make use of all the space. The lush greenery or the sound of waves, consider this a beautiful nature’s gift and embrace it. Holding the ceremony outdoor could cost you less and saves electricity consumption. Reuse the furniture that is already there at the venue. Natural Stones, Wooden logs, fallen trees can be converted into a natural seating arrangement. Use flowering saplings as centerpieces. This gives a rustic and cute look to your whole wedding

Décor

Your wedding décor sets the mood of a wedding. Instead of fancy expensive flowers and décor, you could choose flowers and décor that are indigenous. Make the décor more creative by adding signage boards with quotes and colors. Make use of the craft lessons you had as a kid now, make colorful paper flowers and birds, and use them for decoration. You can also use natural things such as Banana Leaves, Bamboo Leaves, Plants, and Flowers to decorate the wedding venue.

Image Courtesy: Asha Durgampudi

Wedding décor accounts for more than a quarter of the waste. Some organizations take in used flowers at the wedding and reuse them in making Incense Sticks/Agarbattis. All the paper decors and signage boards could be donated to child shelters and orphanage homes. Imagine how happy they would be seeing colorful birds and flowers on their walls.

Cutleries and Food

Say no to plastic cutleries at your wedding, and this includes everything from table covers to plastic water-bottles to straws. Use steel or glass dining sets. There are various NGOs and organizations that provide steel cutleries in bulk for rent. They cost way less and are completely eco-friendly. If you want to add in the authentic Indian factor, you could serve your desserts in Coconut Shell Bowls and use Bamboo Straws and Bamboo Spoons. They are eco-friendly and could be reused hundreds of times.

You would generally have an idea of guest turnover. Make sure to cook only how much is necessary. This way, you could avoid unnecessary food wastage. Despite all this, if you still have a lot of food left-over, stop by an orphanage or an old-age home and donate. You would always have blessings of the elderly and love of the little angles on you.

These are just a few tips on how to reduce waste at your wedding and go eco-friendly. These ideas might seem a little far-fetched in the beginning, but hold on to see the beautiful wedding you always imagined. These could be your first step as a couple to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle that is full of love and respect.