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Save Earth, have a green wedding

From having the wedding ceremony at a bird sanctuary to donating the gifts from the occasion to charities, eco-friendly weddings are finally catching on in India.

entertainment Updated: May 30, 2010 14:55 IST
Sneha Mahale

Want to help prevent global warming? Here’s an idea. Go green on your wedding day. Several city couples are opting for eco-friendly weddings. Right from invitations, wedding décor and catering to even the honeymoons, couples want to get every detail right and help the green cause.

To give them a hand in their cause, are companies like Marry Me. “We offer wedding packages to couples and families of all budgets and sizes,” says Candice Pereira, proprietor, Marry Me.

“The company’s design style, attention to detail and personalised service ensure that couples enjoy their special day and have the vision of their dreams executed,” she says. They manage all details of the wedding — from the décor to the legalities, to the clothes and the transport. Meanwhile, the company’s website offers lots of information for the brides-to-be, to plan their weddings, and for other customers, to learn more about the wedding industry.

Do your bit
In India, eco-friendly weddings have just begun to gain popularity. Pereira says, “An eco-friendly wedding is a start to saving the planet from global warming. Usually small concepts lead to the evolution of bigger and newer ideas. So this is a small start that every couple can be a part of; something that can result in something bigger and better and help cool the planet.”

The company has organised a couple of eco-friendly weddings, which extended from eco-friendly favours like potted plants and organic honey, to the strict use of recycled and handmade paper (or eliminating paper invites as far as possible).

Also, instead of gifts, these couples often pick a green charity and have the guests donate money there instead of gifting it to them. Such weddings are mostly customised and their costs vary depending on what is included in the package.

Vijaya Karnik, an architect, was one of the first few people who opted for a green wedding. She says, “Last year, when we got married we wanted to do our bit for the environment. So we decided to have a registered marriage and donate all the money we had saved for the wedding to WWF.”

And she isn’t the only one. Bandra-based Ananth Desai, designer, decided to have an eco-friendly wedding. Instead of the traditional wedding ceremony in a hall in Mumbai, he decided to educate their family about wildlife at a bird sanctuary in Kerala. He says, “The three days we were there were educative. It made the wedding even more special.”

Recent popularity
But eco-friendly weddings have become popular only recently. That is why, apart from eco-friendly weddings, companies like Marry Me continue to organise other types of weddings as well. In fact, Pereira plans to launch a special service this year called Marry Me – With Love.

This is a service where grooms can avail of special packages to be presented to the brides as gifts before the wedding. Now the groom can propose not with just a ring, but with a wedding planner for her to get started right away.

But Karishma Tanna, environmental activist, is hopeful that more people will opt for such weddings in the future. “Green weddings make less of an impact on the environment and don’t use things in excess. This way people leave a smaller carbon footprint and still have a glorious wedding,” she says .

Tips for a green wedding
Design green dresses out of cotton, hemp and other organic blends. Another way to minimise the effect on the environment is to use a vintage dress, something that someone has already worn.

Pick a flower place that utilises certified organic practices or forgo the flower boutique completely and go with locally grown flowers.

Invitations can be made from recycled paper or email invitations and ask for a phone RSVP. Try to cut down the amount of paper used.

Serve organic food or buy the produce from a local farmers market. Buy organic wines and juices to serve with the food.

Forgo the gifts and ask friends and family to donate to specific charities. Or even better, ask them to plant a tree in honour of the couple and help promote new tree growth.