By Prarthana Mitra
For twentysomethings Deepa and Prashin, planning a sustainable future together inevitably shaped their wedding preparations. On June 21, the Mumbai-based couple tied the knot in an intimate ceremony that prided itself on being an eco-friendly, green and tasteful #Down2Earth wedding.
In a bid to replace the wastefulness and extravagance of big fat Indian weddings, freelance photographer Prashin Jagger and his fiance-turned-wife Deepa Kamath started looking for greener and economical alternatives that would comply with their ethos. Currently learning Pali to deepen her understanding of Buddhism, Deepa spoke to Qrius. “We have been travelling to different farms since the past couple of years, hoping to live amidst nature someday.”
Initially planning to settle for a court registry, the couple decided to find a middle ground, considering the significance elders attach to traditional marriage rituals in India. “Our parents have been aware of these expeditions and our love and longing for nature. They saw our initiative as an extension of it and had our backs,” she said over an email.
“It was a culmination of traditional values keeping in mind the current condition of mother Gaia (earth).”
By stripping the conventional ceremony off its frills to a bare minimum, they were able to show how an informed choice towards environmental conservation comes from a deep understanding of nature. The wedding took place in an open and naturally ventilated venue, made use of recycled decorations and recyclable cutlery and the guests were given seed balls from a Pune nursery as return gifts; even the engagement rings were carved out of wood by instrument-maker Auddie D’Souza.
They not only opted for eco-friendly products but were also insistent on using minimal floral decorations or tissue papers which involve destruction of trees and vegetation. Of course, it was difficult to explain their vision to some vendors, because the simplicity and minimalism they demanded was hitherto unheard of. But the plastic ban recently imposed in Maharashtra helped, claims the couple.
Using WhatsApp and word-of-mouth invites, Kamath and Jagger were keen on making a difference and help cause as little harm as possible right from the beginning. Bhavtal, a Pune NGO which nurtures local indigenous plants, couriered them seed balls which were distributed among the 150 guests and encouraged to plant. They also managed to rope in their friends to make announcement boards out of cardboard boxes, while local tailor Just Wear Dressline designed the trousseau for the bride and groom, and cloth bags for the return gifts.
Weddings are about the community coming together to celebrate love. Everything else is a means to that end.
Over 10 million weddings take place in India every year, generating tons of waste in terms of excess food, unrecycled decorations and disposable cutlery.
On asked if subverting the intrinsic nature of Indian weddings can play a crucial role in minimizing damage to the environment, the couple replied with Julia Carney’s famous lines – Little drops of water make the mighty ocean. They also expressed wariness in case their green wedding, an extended manifestation of their lifestyle, is misconstrued as a trend ripe for “concept wedding.” “We believe in bringing something to our home only when there is a real need than a perceived want,” Prashin clarified, as the couple set up their new home with nature in mind.
At a time when veganism and sustainability have become mere catch phrases, Deepa and Prashin have shown an exemplary concern for the environment by making it central to their celebration of love. Hopefully, their incredible story will inspire more couples to do away with the OTT aspects of Indian weddings that take a toll on nature and jeopardise a sustainable future.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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