Eco-friendly weddings are not just a style or a trend. They are an opportunity for us to be more socially and environmentally conscious at a time when it’s easy to get carried away with excesses. Think of it more as an approach to wedding planning where you aim to incorporate environmentally friendly alternatives that minimise waste and support the growth of local communities and businesses. With many Indian weddings using up a lot more resources than a conventional wedding, an eco-friendly approach is a great way to do your bit for the environment and your community.
Go Green: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Indian Wedding
At times, options for an eco-bride can certainly seem limited and may require some extra planning. However it’s worth continuing the search for eco-friendly suppliers. They key is to educate yourself and ask relevant questions of your suppliers. Going green is also an opportunity to be resourceful and get creative with DIY projects of your own!
Below, we explore some easy ways to make your wedding greener and socially sustainable without compromising your budget, vision or style.
The venue plays a big part in bringing your vision to life and sets the atmosphere for your wedding. Venues do not often advertise being eco-friendly as it is not a big selling point – yet. However, selecting the right venue is perhaps the most important part of a wedding and there some simple things that you can do to make it eco friendly:
- Have your wedding outdoors: There are some stunning outdoor settings for weddings out there, which are waiting to be found. A garden wedding, for example, minimises your need for decorations and your rental fee will be put to good use. Of course, outdoor weddings are all weather dependent and if you’re not willing to take the risk, then an indoor wedding venue with a lot of natural lighting is a great option.
- Have your ceremony and reception at the same location: Keeping functions at the same location reduces fuel emissions. If this is unavoidable, consider bus transportation or even carpooling – your guests can indicate whether or not they are interested in this idea through your RSVP card.
- Have your wedding festivities during the day: This eliminates the need for artificial lighting all together, but if you feel like a night reception is where the party gets started, there are options for this as well. Ask a venue you’re looking at about energy saving light bulbs, recycling, use of biodegradable products, carbon offsetting or any other eco-friendly initiatives they have in place. Be prepared for some awkward answers, but if you know what you want, venues will be impressed and make changes accordingly for your wedding!
An eco-friendly outfit is a more sustainable option to a mass-produced conventional outfit. Consider choosing an outfit that is created from natural dyes and fibres – yes there are such things as chemical-free silks! New York based designer Nicole Lenzen, carefully selects fabrics with natural fibres sourced from fair trade and low impact suppliers to create unique gowns for her brides. If this is not an option for you, there are other ways you can have more eco-friendly bridal outfits:
- Opt for outfits made in the country you live in: This ensures fair work conditions for employees, therefore avoiding the purchase of clothes from sweatshops. Thanks to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to promote Indian textiles and craftsmanship, we have seen a revival of Indian weaves in bridal fashion as part of the latest collections from some of our favourite designers such as Anita Dongre, Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra. In addition to this, there are brands such as Anavila, Gaurang and Ekaya Banaras which are great picks for bridal wear that is made from organic material, traditionally made in India and sustainable.
- Buy a dress second hand: This is not always easy if you’ve already envisioned what you want to wear but you may be surprised with what you find. If you want to wear a dress for any of your wedding functions, there is, The Barefaced Bride and Still White, based in Australia, which have a stunning selection of pre-loved gowns from designers such as Vera Wang and Jenny Packham. For US brides, Celia Grace has amazing dresses, which are Fair Trade and eco-friendly and to top that off, for each one sold, a water filter is donated to a family in need.
Choosing your florist wisely is an easy way to be an socially conscious bride. Flowers can be covered in chemicals or imported from countries with poor working conditions and be frozen for days. There are a number of florists who will only work with locally grown flowers or if they are imported, they will ensure that flowers are sourced from reliable farmers with fair trade labour. After your big day, consider donating your flowers to a hospital or an aged care facility for someone else to enjoy.
We all know a vegetarian menu is the most environmentally friendly option and it is in fact the menu of choice for certain cultures, but if you and your guests are meat lovers there are other options available.
- Discuss with your venue or caterer about using free-range, local or organic meat: A quick Google search of ethical meat suppliers in your area will get you a significant list, which you can refer to your cater. This is the same for seafood; Australia has a Sustainable Seafood Guide, which you can find online. Eco brides can also discuss serving only local beers or wines on the drinks menu and ask that all bottles be recycled.
- Consider donating food to an organisation in your area after the wedding: This is much easier done if you hold a day reception as it gives you time to pack and transport the food, which can then be served immediately for dinner.
Favours are a great way to be a socially conscious bride. There are various options which guests will appreciate.
- Pot Plants: Plants are great gifts that help the environment. They also look beautiful and add ambiance to any venue.
- Donations: A donation to an organisation of your choice on behalf of each guest is something they will appreciate. When selecting an organisation, always research how much of your donation will contribute to administration and marketing costs to ensure that the most is made out of your donation.
Researching a honeymoon destination is always fun, but a search for an eco-friendly destination brings up a selection of resorts that you may not have otherwise considered. It is always a good sign if a resort website has a dedicated section for sustainable or eco friendly initiatives. Such initiatives may include a solar powered resort, water animal conservation projects or resorts built from sustainable materials with minimal land disruption. If you require more information, don’t be afraid to send through an email to ask about their initiatives – you may find that they have more than advertised.
If you would like to know more ways of making your wedding eco friendly, send through your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help connect you to professionals or provide relevant resources.