Saying "I Do" the green way

With wedding planners going eco-friendly, tying a green nuptial that is quite a big trend in the west seems to be catching up with Indians too.

Updated: Dec 05, 2010, 12:02 PM IST

New Delhi: In the season of marriages,
green seems to be the predominant theme and it is not just the
colour! With wedding planners going eco-friendly, tying a
green nuptial that is quite a big trend in the west seems to
be catching up with Indians too.

From inviting guests through e-mail, gifting plants
and saying no to firecrackers, weddings are going
environment-friendly this season.

"There are many families who want to take some
eco-friendly measures during the weddings. We encourage
sending wedding invites by CD and e-mail, which saves paper.

There are others who use recycled paper for invitations," says
Chiripal Kailash, a Delhi-based wedding planner.

"Our caterers offer dishes in earthen utensils and
`kulhads` which helps the local artisans to sustain their
livelihoods and we do not promote use of paper plates and
cups," says Chiripal.

The planner has tied up with an NGO, Empowerment of
Youth for Environment Conservation to gift a plant instead of
a box of sweets along with the wedding invite.

"We promote green weddings. Gifting a plant carries
the message that we care for our environment," says Annu
Grover from Empowerment of Youth for Environment
Conservation. He has arranged gifting a plant in two weddings
so far.

"People are enthusiastic about the idea and many say
they will promote it in future," says Grover.
Use of crackers creates a lot of pollution in weddings
and Chiripal says he has been able to convince people not to
burst crackers.

"It takes a bit of convincing but people do like the
idea of not bursting the crackers. We have a rule not to use
crackers at our wedding venues," says Chiripal.

Keeping the green concerns in mind, Ashish Abrol
founded a website taking the wedding planning to another
level. The website has detailed information about how to plan
a wedding and contact numbers of chefs, jewellers and others.
"Our website promotes green wedding in more ways than
one. Its not only the wedding but the planning for it also
needs to be eco-friendly. People do not need to buy fashion
and other magazines since they can find all the information on
our website, which saves paper," says Abrol. "By planning everything in advance, we need to travel
less for a wedding which also saves petrol. Try to minimise
amount of driving to be done by the guests. People are getting
conscious of these things now," says Abrol.

In India, the concept of eco-friendly wedding has just
begun to gain popularity while its already popular in the
West, where eco-friendly jewellery, themes, gifts and even
honeymoons are popular.

Mumbai-based wedding planner "Marry Me" advices
couples to transform their wedding venues into a lush paradise
using lots of fresh flowers, pebbles and earthy, organic
materials for drapes, table cloth, napkins and tents.

"If both the partners are really keen on reducing
their carbon footprint due to the wedding, they can
contemplate hosting it in a garden or park, and go in for a
garden themed wedding," they say.

The planners also advocate serving soy-based foods,
salads etc and also getting cards printed using vegetable inks
such as a soy-based ink or water-based inks .

Some couples are even planning their honeymoon and
heading to places naturally rich in wildlife and lush greenery
like a country side beach or an eco-sanctuary.

"We can not make sweeping changes in people`s
behaviour all of a sudden. But, small steps like using less
powerful bulbs for wedding decoration and donating leftover
food rather than throwing it are finding many takers," says
Praveen Gupta, another Delhi-based wedding planner.

The concept is new but wedding planners are hopeful
things will change with time and awareness.

"It takes time to change traditional values of people.
But the signs are encouraging and eco-friendly weddings will
soon be more popular," says Chiripal.