Weddings are going green in India, and we love it! In our new series #BetterWeddings, we bring you stories and resources that’ll inspire you to say ‘I Do’ to eco-conscious weddings.
Anyone who attended the wedding of Lipika Dugar and Rishab Bhansali, a couple who tied the knot at Miraya Greens in Bengaluru, on 7 December 2021 would tell you it was the dreamiest affair they have ever witnessed.
The arrangements looked nothing short of royal, and the decor exuded a certain finesse that one would have probably seen in movies.
On a lawn spread out across the plot of land, a couple took their vows, celebrating what they recount as the happiest day of their lives. As the rituals were performed, and their families and friends stood by them, Lipika and Rishab say they couldn’t have dreamt of a more beautiful way of commemorating the beginning of their journey together.
But, what set the wedding apart was that it was beautiful in more ways than just the ambience.
“We have witnessed many big fat Indian weddings, where we have seen a large amount of plastic being used in the forms of water bottles, packaging, cutlery, etc,” says Lipika to The Better India. “In addition to this, there is tremendous wastage of food and lack of proper disposal methods.”
She says this was an eye-opener for them of how people lacked a sense of awareness when it came to the environment, and she decided with Rishab to do things differently when the time came to say ‘I do’.
So, in December last year, they decided to have an eco-friendly wedding that was a testament to the fact that marriage does not need to be detrimental to the planet.
Walking down the aisle of sustainability
As an architect and interior designer herself, Lipika has always had a sense of consciousness when it has come to designing spaces. Glamorous designs while being mindful of the environment have been the focus of her work. Thus, when it came to her big day, she knew she wanted to imbibe this very philosophy.
Rishab too shared the same ideology. “Lavishness and beauty come in many different ways and different forms,” he says, adding that the idea of an eco-friendly wedding excited him.
He adds, “As a young citizen, it is vital to show your responsibility towards the environment and further encourage other families and friends to be part of this initiative in future also.”
Explaining how they went about things, Lipika says that they laid major emphasis on the three R policies: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Among the many eco-friendly steps, they decided against plastic water bottles.
“We did not want any plastic. We have often witnessed how thousands of these plastic water bottles are often thrown into the trash or lie around half filled. Hence, this was the first thing that we decided on excluding,” she says.
The water was instead served in steel mugs and earthen kulhads, lending a homely feel to the event.
In addition to this, the tableware and decor too were void of any single-use plastic. The cutlery, crockery, etc were all made of ceramic and glass in order to avoid conventional plastic or thermacol.
For the wedding invites, the couple decided to resort to the new trend of e-invites.
“This avoided unnecessary paper wastage and restricted the physical movement to distribute invites during the pandemic,” says Lipika.
She adds that since food wastage is a common sight at weddings, they decided to have the excess food and waste converted into manure at the venue itself by using a food digester machine.
For the wayboard at the entrance, she says they used chalkboards and cloth flex so they could eliminate paper wastage and instead of paper serviettes, they opted for cloth.
The decor was done with natural flowers and this lent a dainty effect to the set-up.
A precedent for eco-friendly weddings
“The focus was to maximise grandeur and extravagance, but being part of the millennial generation, we wanted to show our concern for nature through everything we did,” says Rishab.
Planned and ideated by Ank Concepts and Vogue Wisteria, the wedding crowd catered to a crowd of 400 people.
How was it navigating this new concept?
The couple says having a wedding is already a huge responsibility, and thus, planning one in a way that is eco-friendly meant there was much more attention to detail needed.
“The main challenge was to find alternative solutions to the plastic and other one-time use material. We wanted our solutions to be economically suitable and environmentally friendly,” says Lipika.
She adds that even though this meant a change in their budget, it was completely worth it. “We had to stretch our budget 10-15 per cent more to achieve this than in a conventional wedding.”
The Miraya Greens management too was impressed by the way the wedding was conducted. They said while they have witnessed many weddings at the venue, this is the first time they have seen no food being wasted, no plastic use and no litter. “I was happy to see the food digester that would convert the food to manure,” says the manager.
As for her advice to couples who are on their way to planning their wedding ceremonies, Lipika says, “Start by looking for sustainable alternatives. Start small but start somewhere. It could be something like gifting a plant as a thank-you gesture to guests for being part of the eco-friendly wedding..”
As for how their guests responded to this concept, the couple says they loved it.
One of the guests Bharat Mehta says the wedding “should be a trendsetter for many more people to follow”. Another guest Sharifa said what she loved the most was the water being served in earthen pots.
“It is impressive how even one wedding done right can make a revolutionary statement and impact towards the environment,” she adds.
Lipika and Rishab were overwhelmed by the response. “The wedding made everyone realise that by simply playing around with elements and substituting sustainable alternatives, it can make a huge difference,” says Lipika.
She adds, “We hope that this theme becomes an example for all families to be followed for any event planned. The wedding turned out to be a win-win for everyone.”
Edited by Yoshita Rao