While most Indian weddings tend to be an extravagant affair, in recent years a shift has been noticed towards a more greener and sustainable format, where couples are preferring to leave behind a minimalistic carbon footprint.
Earlier last year a Mumbai couple’s use of recycled products for their wedding ceremony made news, and recently a family in Bhopal altered a “big fat” wedding into an environment-friendly one by replacing wedding invites with potted plants.
Businessman Pranshu Kankane and brother Prateek were always fascinated by the concept of an eco-friendly wedding. And when the opportunity arose — Pranshu’s wedding– the brothers brainstormed to leave no stone unturned to make the most important day of his life a green affair.
“It all began with the idea of avoiding food wastage. We started off by sending e-invites instead of paper and requested people to RSVP,” Prateek said.
While the concept of RSVP is not new, it was not something that the people of Bhopal, being a tier-2 city, were accustomed to, Prateek claimed. “With the help of e-cards, we were not only able to avoid using paper but the RSVP option helped us prevent food wastage,” Prateek told the indianexpress.com.
Even though the novel idea got a nod from their father Rajkumar Kankane, their mother was not entirely convinced. “My mother told me that if you do not distribute cards, then how would you be able to meet the relatives and invitees,” Prateek said.
In keeping with their mother’s wishes, the brothers eventually came up with the idea of a “Green invite”. Instead of distributing wedding cards, which generate a lot of paper waste, the brothers printed the information of the bride and groom on potted plants. “It is an 8-10-month-old indoor plant and can easily survive for 3-4 years,” Prateek said.
Contrary to his expectations, the idea of a “green invite” was well received by the 400-odd invitees. “I did not expect the reaction we received. People were extremely excited with the invites and as we had 4-5 varieties of plants, including spiritual ones such as Tulsi, they were enthusiastic to pick their own invite,” he said.
While giving out plants was a cumbersome task, the main challenge, according to Prateek was to make the procedure cost-effective and make people aware of the process. “The Green-invite was a substitute for the paper card, so our main challenge was to bring its cost to the approximate value of the card,” Prateek said.
A single “green invite” cost around Rs 68, which Prateek claimed was similar to the cost of a single card. “We wanted people to understand and see that this process is feasible as well as cost-effective. If not all, this would motivate many people to move towards a greener process,” he added.
The brothers also collaborated with a volunteer organisation, the Robin Hood Army, which supplies surplus food collected from wedding and restaurants to the underprivileged. Moreover, the wedding invite also had instructions for the guests such as “Do not bring bouquets” and “Don’t waste food in plates before disposing of in the dustbin”.
To spread the idea of an eco-friendly wedding, Prateek said he spent around 10-15 minutes with each of the guests to explain to them about the plant and ways to take care of it.