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.
Weddings are going environment-friendly these days with no firecrackers.