New Delhi: Sustainable weddings are in and small is the new big because a more thoughtful approach impacts the planet positively, says Ambika Gupta, a luxe event planner, known for creating transportive weddings for celebrities like actor Kajal Aggarwal. The entrepreneur also encourages a green and yet bespoke design language.
She says, “The pandemic should put things in perspective for us. We cannot now endlessly consume our resources, generate vast amounts of waste and live as if there is no tomorrow because there is. And if we don’t change, the next generation will have to deal with the fallout of the climate crisis in a more serious way.”
Ambika who founded The A-Cube Project over eight years ago in Chennai found her calling as a much-in-demand designer and planner of weddings. This year, she had to work around the challenges of the post-Covid-19 scenario. As she designed events with safety protocols in place, she says she also started conversations with her clients about greener, more responsible weddings.
Ambika says, “The pandemic has forced families to have smaller events. That automatically cuts down waste but many of my clients are also well-informed about climate concerns and in fact want their weddings to set an example. For instance, for a Pondicherry wedding , the couple and the team worked closely to address the issue of floral and food waste. This was a special request from the bride who is very sensitive to environmental concerns. The flowers were composted and the extra food from each event distributed locally. India Wasted and The Robin Hood Army came onboard to help us manage this.”
Her other tips for a greener wedding are:
– Order local floral produce as this will cut down the carbon footprint and help distressed farmers in these times. Instead of using excessive floral accents, choose statement arrangements that will really be noticed.
– Instead of store-bought gifts, engage NGOs that support artisans to create one-of-a-kind giveaways. For the Pondicherry wedding that Ambika designed, jute bags with Van Gogh inspired embroidery were made by Purkal Stree Shakti (An Uttarakhand-based NGO), and gifted to guests.
– Use disposable cutlery and crockery made of biodegradable materials like bamboo.
– Choose wedding cards made out of recycled paper or go for e-invites.
– Use materials like clay, straw, living plants, recyclable materials to create props. For Kajal Aggarwal’s wedding, Ambika themed an event around a Kitsch Mandi and used Kutch workmanship in furnishings, traditional dry palm weaves, a Chettinad console and brass pots with banana leaves. She also used “pettis”, contraptions used by coconut farmers as a backdrop in place of a wasteful prop.
– Consider ‘mini-monies’ where the number of guests is minimum and the couple get married at a local venue.
– Use classic furniture that can be hired or reused by the designer instead of plastic chairs.
– Think of lighting options that are less energy-consuming
“I read recently that more than 10 million weddings take place in India every year and leave behind mountains of trash, discarded plastic cutlery, used flowers and wasted food. I believe, together, we can all do better than this,” concludes Ambika.