When Ridhesh and Mitika chose to tie the knot, they wanted their wedding to hold special meaning. Being strong believers in sustainability, the couple wanted their celebration to reflect their concern for the environment and degradation of the planet. Right from the decor to the food, venue invites and more, Ridhesh and Mitika opted to host a sustainable wedding to celebrate their love. From using jute bags to locally grown flowers, outdoor venues and repurposing existing decor, the bride shares how they planned an organic, environmentally-friendly wedding, one filled with a unique charm and sackfuls of meaning.
Brides Today: How did you and your husband meet?
Mitika: We met while volunteering for a young professionals community in Mumbai - The Global Shapers Community. We met over dinner to discuss a project but ended up chatting till midnight about our shared love for travel, animals and food. Later that week, I got to meet his beautiful cat - Rumi, and I was hooked!
Brides Today: When did you know he was the one?
Mitika: We bonded over our love for animals and travel. (He has a cat named. Rumi, I have a dog named Bolt.) After dating for a while, our love for each other grew as time passed. We worked on projects together, travelled on multiple trips, met each other's friends and family and supported each other with our life choices.
Then the lockdown happened and we weren't able to meet for about 100 odd days. This made us realize how difficult and unnatural it was to live without seeing each other. We just wanted to be there for one another. We knew if we could come out of this roller-coaster of emotions and crazy situation still wanting to be together, then we were ready to take on the journey of life together, hand in hand.
Brides Today: Tell us about the proposal?
Mitika: There was none! Neither of us believed in the concept of one big proposal. But rather, we believed in having several, spread over the period of our lives. We keep planning little things for each other, like a surprise meal or a surprise outing, which is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude and love for each other.
Brides Today: How did Covid-19 change your wedding plans?
Mitika: There was a lot of uncertainty and jitters throughout (until the very last day) with every changing guideline. We had to go ahead without our close friends and family from abroad, which was a very tough pill to swallow. We had backup options for everything— right from the venues to vendors to decor styles, in case the situation changed overnight.
We also planned health and safety measures for the event, like choosing a venue that was in the “green zone” (Covid19), planning all our events being outdoor at a property that was well spread out. Events that required touching eg. The mehendi, haldi etc. were cancelled. We came up with a mehendi tattoo station instead, for people to apply it on their own. We also got all our vendors, artists and guests Covid tested 72 hours prior to the event, in order to create a safety bubble.
Brides Today: What guided your decision to opt for a sustainable wedding?
Mitika: Neither of us wanted to mark the beginning of our new life together by damaging our environment. The pandemic made us feel grateful for all that we have—good health, natural resources, and the privilege to plan a future together. We wanted a wedding that was mindful of our impact on the environment, on society and on everyone we cared for (and invited). With this in mind, choosing to have a safe and sustainable wedding wasn’t the easy option, but it was the obvious one. Of course, it helped that that I am a sustainability professional.
Brides Today: How did you go about making it sustainable?
Mitika: We chose to follow the 4R philosophy - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle or Remove. The first 3 R’s are commonly understood. The 4th R (Remove) was harder but more important - we chose to remove the elements that would cause a negative impact the environment/ society or felt non-essential/over the top.
Reuse - We tried to reuse decor elements that were a part of the hotel, were with the decorators or something our wedding planner had from previous events. We even reused entrance frames with different decor elements for the different events.
Remove/ Replace - We chose to remove as much of the single-use materials as we could and replaced them with more organic materials like bamboo, reused glass, cloth (yes, we had a macrame mandap and macrame chair decor!), dried flowers, jute, recycled paper, and locally sourced wood/ soil based products (example, the potter from the village worked for the hotel and could make us kulhads to help replace glass for some events).
P.S. We had an amazing wedding planner who was very patient with us and solved for all these sustainability requirements with brilliant, beautiful and innovative ideas.
Wedding favours: We chose mango wood-based products (without a tarnish), that can be used by anyone irrespective of gender/ skill/ weather conditions, which can easily be recycled/upcycled after. The wedding favours were given in a handy jute bag and had a lot of proud local elements from the state.
Brides Today: What was the total number of people present?
Mitika: We really got lucky with the timing as it was when India was at its lowest point in the virus spread. In spite of this we had a cap of 100 guests and each and everyone was tested 72 hours prior to the wedding to create a safety bubble.
Brides Today: Any anecdotes or special moments you would like to share?
Mitika: By the end of the 3 days, almost everyone got back to us to tell us how different this wedding was from anything they have ever experienced. Even the people that didn’t have the time to think about the environment, got back to us to tell us how much they loved the sustainability theme and how effortlessly it was integrated within everything. Other than the unique wedding decor, and the fun (read not traditional) events, I think everyone got back to us with praises for the lion safari. So, I guess including a unique non traditional experience as part of the wedding, will definitely have your guests talking about your wedding for days/ months after!
Brides Today: A piece of advice for brides to be?
Mitika: Be your authentic self. I know weddings bring out the best and worst in people. Know that a wedding is simply a celebration of your commitment and love for each other. The wedding is a party that marks the hopeful new beginning of a lifetime together. If you have the luxury to, find yourself a good wedding planner who can understand and support your vision, and can truly celebrate your love story.
Be mindful of the impact these 3-7 days will have on the environment, society and future generations. Possibly ask yourself whether the negative impacts are worth it - take the time to learn more about it to be able to make informed decisions (as a consumer), and where possible find a way to solve for the negatives.
Wedding Decor: To The Aisle
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