Updated: Jul 15, 2020
The society thinks all that a girl possibly dreams in her life is to have a wedding with heavy gold and diamond jewellery, expensive silk sarees/lehengas/gowns, nitid leather embellished slippers, glistening artifacts and flashy decors.
What am I? A walking Vogue magazine? Okay but these are different art forms and one should respect that, well not at the cost of the planet.
Getting married, celebrating it with a regal wedding is a memorable event and it should be enjoyed, no doubt. However, our choices may affect those around us imparting negative energy to the joyous occasion. We didn’t let that happen to our green wedding on June 5th, 2016 - World Environment Day. It’s a year already and still seems like yesterday. Well, enough with the preamble and let's get into the core idea of this article. I am gonna share with you our experiences from hosting a vegan and eco-friendly wedding.
Step One: Announce about your wish to do an eco-vegan wedding to your family; allow them to freak out, convince and cool down. I am not kidding, this is the most time-consuming and laborious process of all. If you have completed the first step successfully, almost all the work is done you might think. Not really, you’ve got a lot to deal with now.
Our wedding theme was ‘Make the Connection’ because nature is our life supporter; animals and humans are all connected with the environment. My husband and I had our vision on the green wedding, knew exactly how we wanted it to be, and took charge of it ourselves and did not depend on agents or event managers to execute our dreams.
Here is the list of ideas, why and how we executed them:
Natural light and cool breeze reduce electricity usage to minimum cutting down a huge chunk of the cost. After checking out the entire Chennai city for beautiful, vast, shady, comfortable and cool outdoor spaces, we ended up with VGP Golden Beach Resort who offered us wonderfully dense gardens. Likewise, each region no matter where to have natural landscapes that can serve the purpose. Go for a shady location for added coolness (literally).
Natural potted plants and seasonal flowers give a fresh feeling, reduces plastic pollution and can be grown and composted afterwards. We had a local flower vendor from the market to decorate the ceremony area with Saamandhi (marigold was in season), and some plants from the venue itself. To make it a little more ethnic, we had them hang a small brass bell at the end of few garlands. These bells were then given to children who admired them.
Handmade paper invites for family relatives and e-invites (click here to view) for friends. We approached a small business that does handmade papers and screen printing, selected the rawest form of a card — unbleached cotton, jute and husk blend. Then printed info on veganism and mentioned it's an eco-friendly wedding persuading guests to avoid silk, leather, fur and plastics at the venue.
Naturally dyed, fair-trade, organic cotton and linen dress and suit for us really made the difference and nobody could believe we did that! We extended our support to a not-for-profit social enterprise called Tüla by getting Praveen’s fabric from them. I got my dress made by a local designer with the fabric I procured from Co-optex and Nalli. Both these places have an amazing collection of handloom, natural dyed cotton sarees and fabric. We also purchased engagement and post-wedding clothes from Anokhi. They specialize in Jaipur inspired wooden block printing with vegetable dyes and have varied designer collections.
We adorned cotton based shoes with soles made of recycled tyres from social enterprise Paaduks. It doesn't usually strike us that even footwear ends up in landfills causing pollution. It might not be easy to replace adventure/sports footwear but everyday casuals and dress shoes are easily available by green businesses who recycle and/or use eco-friendly materials.
Bamboo engagement rings from Auroville Bamboo Research Centre. This might sound super crazy but we did initiate the idea of making bamboo couple bands there and they were so pleased to design and make several sizes for us to try on. They went the extra mile and coated the rings with pure natural are wax for long lasting finish. Auroville is our soul place and it makes us happy that we have a piece of it with us.
An eco-friendly company called Jungle Jewels custom-made earrings, necklaces and anklets using locally sourced seeds and grains. No gold or diamonds for the fact that they need immense mining and human slavery. We do not need to hurt the planet and others to look beautiful. My friend Anu From Manya made comfy cute cotton thread bangles to go along with other jewels.