A Zero Waste Wedding It Was
“Everyone has a different idea of extravagance, a different way in which they want to make their wedding special. For me it was always to have a celebration that’s in tune with nature,” says our bride Shreya, who got married Praveen this October in a zero waste wedding. Shreya and Praveen, both Chennai-based musicians, set an inspiring example with their wedding, ensuring every aspect of the big day was environment-friendly and socially conscious.
But to really go the zero waste wedding way and pay more than a lip service to this ideal is not easy when planning a traditional Indian wedding! “There is a thin line between being environment-friendly and really imposing on your guests. I guess, Shreya and I were constantly treading that line,” laughs Praveen. However, it all came together beautifully in the end. From saying no to plastics and donating the extra food to locally sourcing all return gifts and creating a gift registry for themselves, they made sure every decision was a responsible one.
How it all started..
It started with their decision to go paperless with their wedding invitations. “What is one supposed to do with all the invites they get? Eventually, they all go into the trash and we really didn’t want that to happen,” says Shreya. However, coming from a traditional background, making e-invites a reality was an uphill battle for the couple. From explaining to older relatives why they didn’t do physical invites to multiple personal calls to ensure every guest felt the warmth s of the invitation, a lot of work went behind it. They used the Vowed Wedding App by Wedding Wishlist to RSVP with guests, and send periodic and personalised reminders. “The team at Wedding Wishlist helped ensure that each email was read, and the communication was seamless,” says Praveen.
Staying true to the no-wastage line of thought, the couple also created a charity and cash gift registry on Wedding Wishlist, so the money their guests spent would be used in a memorable manner. “We didn’t want to collect things we won’t use. With both of us being travellers, we decided to create a cash fund for travel and adventure,” says Shreya. “We didn’t expect our guests to adopt the idea easily but the response was overwhelming,” adds Praveen. Over 75% of their guests chose to go with the registry, and the couple not only managed to whip up a tidy little travel nest egg, but also raised an amount to the tune of ₹50,000 for Maithree, an NGO they support.
The registry was integrated into a website created by Wedding Wishlist and guests loved the experience. “The website helped give our guests context about our decision to do a zero waste wedding. We could explain why we did what we did, so they could whole-heartedly support our choice. It made them feel like they were a part of this initiative,” says Praveen. In fact the role played by their parents and families in supporting their endeavours and facilitating all requests and wishes made such a wedding even possible.
The couple worked with a set of very cooperative vendors. The caterer went completely green and ensured there was no use of plastics, that all the waste food was donated to TogetherWeFeed and all ingredients were locally sourced. A waste-management company was hired to ensure everything was segregated and composted, recycled or reused. The thamboolam bags were sourced from rural collectives and had a note explaining the crafts and traditions. Even the décor comprised of regional flowers and rustic components to emphasise a reduced carbon footprint.
Was it a challenge to plan this wedding? Most certainly yes! “But it was all worth the effort. Because we got the wedding we wanted and we got the chance to give back a little something. And once our guests understood the idea behind the wedding, they supported us wholeheartedly,” says Shreya.
The couple’s choice is reflected in the millennial mindset, where young adults now want to make responsible choices. From choosing to ask for the gifts they want so they can avoid wastage to going paperless, the big fat Indian wedding is getting a conscious makeover. And Wedding Wishlist is helping couples turn this ideal into a seamless reality.