In an era of increasing awareness around climate change and ecological preservation, big fat weddings often play a spoilsport due to the amount of plastic waste generated. The plastic waste generated out of disposables, the excessive food disposed off in the bin, and over consumed water and electricity burdens our already exhausted planet.
Conscious about the damage a big fat wedding causes to the environment, this Mumbai couple Nupur Agarwal and Ashwin Malwade opted for an ecofriendly wedding for themselves in December, last year. However, now to reduce the carbon footprint emissions because of weddings, this duo has initiated a consultation service to organize eco-friendly weddings called 'Greenmyna'.
'Greenmyna', an eco-conscious wedding and event-planning company helps the couples to start their new life in an eco-friendly manner.
In a conversation with The Earthview, Nupur pulled off the idea of an eco-friendly wedding. "A wedding is meant to be the happiest day of anyone's life, but it can turn out to be the most wasteful day too. Tossed plastics over landfills, excess food thrown away, and dumping of flowers in the garbage. We're not saying to skip these memorable moments, but those gorgeous details of weddings can be replaced by these eco-wedding ideas too. We think featuring small changes can make a major impact," said Nupur.
"Eventually, we need to keep some simple things in mind when planning your wedding. How much wastage can your choice produce? Are there any sustainable alternatives? Is reuse, recycle, repurpose, or resell of any particular item after the wedding day is possible? Following these simple steps in a series of functions and rituals preceding in your wedding can majorly contribute towards a better future," says Nupur.
With an enormous variety of delicacies to pamper the taste buds and glittering decorations to give a glimpse of grandeur to the guest, the world is witnessing a major issue of lavish weddings.
Nupur shares, "Strive for Sustainability, Not Perfection. To celebrate an occasion many plans can be made keeping a check on nature. Other factors like, Budget and guest count can get sometimes in the way ending up things more challenging as it relates to sustainability. It's a usual thought that makes anybody feel eco-friendly weddings are a bad choice because of expensiveness, but I feel like I saved so much money because I had adopted the sustainable methods, and used property that I already had."
The onset of 'Greenmyna':
Nupur Agarwal, marketing professional, and Ashwin Malwade, Merchant Navy officer, founders of 'Greenmyna' were not nature enthusiasts since their childhood.
What does one do when we see the beach festering in ankle-deep soot of paper, plastic, and a pile of garbage. Well, the duo decided to clean it.
"Ashwin, being a successful Merchant Navy officer, found the menace of plastics floating over the surface of the ocean during his sailing period. And this was very disturbing for him, so he accounted for himself for the beach clean up programs. When I met Ashwin for the first time, he mentioned that he is volunteering at the Versova beach clean-up, and invited me to come along. This was the life-changing period for me. Even though the state of the beach was terrible, the experience was most satisfying. Gradually cleaning the beach brought me and Ashwin closer," says Nupur.
Further, she added, "Last year in December, finally Ashwin and I got married with a very profound eco-friendly wedding. This is where the idea to help individuals for letting their new life start with very consciousness to protect nature developed."
Nupur also explains the meaning of 'Greenmyna'. For deriving an Indian origin and environment friendly, Ashwin and Nupur decided to name their venture after a species of animal Mynah, which is also categorized as a symbol of love and Green specify the eco-friendliness.
Nupur further elaborates on their wedding day and describes the reason behind taking wedding vows in Pune despite being living in Mumbai.
She said, "When it comes to a sustainable wedding the venue matters a lot. We finalized Pune, as it has the best Recycling services available in India. Also, to make up for the carbon emissions produced by the travelling of guests, we decided to plant trees for every guest that showed up at the wedding. Even when it comes to rituals, we honestly valued each one of them and performed them generously but without any wastage. For example, the throwing rice ceremony, where rice is signifying prosperity. We accomplished that but didn't waste the rice and grains in any other rituals."
For having a wonderful wedding, we made sure to brief our caters/decorators/designers, as they were new to the concept. We ask them to avoid any plastic usage and also asked to look for alternatives to avoid any carbon footprint. Later, to make things simple we had jotted down 4-5 things that we must do, assuring no plastic during shopping and packing. Informed our caterer and decorator to ensure only real flowers are used and plastics strictly avoided., The use of banana stem was mostly enforced; no plastic bottles, Segregation of waste, composting of food left in plates, and excess food was decided to be given to the poor. Also, cash that we get at our wedding including some of our savings will be directed for an environmental cause," she said.
Planning a wedding by upcycled decor elements and waste segregation management, this 'Green wedding' was the perfect wedding where even invitations were sent through online mediums.
Tips for planning a Sustainable Wedding:
Nupur adds many small steps that you can take to make your nuptials more eco-friendly.
"These days, sustainable wedding ideas are plentiful, there are countless ways to go green. So, when couples are conscious of their carbon footprint and the consequence they create on the world, sustainability is something that is of prime importance while planning our events, " said Nupur.
Pick an Eco-Friendly Venue: Choosing a ceremony site that emits the basic idea of sustainability is the easiest way to have an environmentally friendly wedding to shrink your celebration's carbon footprint. A check can be kept on ratings for going green of hotels and other venues with certifications and Energy Star ratings. And today, so many beautiful venues are going green that assures you won't have to compromise with style to be sustainable.
Sustainable Catering: From the beginning, talk to your catering team to work with locally-sourced ingredients. Including the locally-driven and sustainably sourced menu means much higher quality ingredients, that helps in cutting down the CO2 that's output. That is inevitable in the wedding industry.
Decoration: Use colourful cloths, avoid plastic flowers, and include banana stem as a replacement. Composting of the flowers and food waste are tangible things that can make a real difference.
Rent, Don’t Buy: Single-use items are not good for the environment so check out for the organizations that rent equipment. Steel glasses can be used – it looks more elegant. It will directly impact and upgrade your whole wedding look and reduce landfill waste.
Practicing a green wedding is not about making everything perfectly eco-friendly and more about being thoughtful and purposeful throughout the planning process.
Nupur concludes, "Constitution also demands certain responsibility from people towards their mother earth. So, despite blaming anyone else try to make a difference by yourself. Your marriage function is about celebrating your love story with the ones you love, giving the sustainability aspect of extreme importance."
Written by: Manoj Khetan