The legend of the Big Fat Indian wedding runs far and wide, and the reality is no less stellar than the stories themselves. In an age where the magnificence of the wedding itself seems to be foretold by the elaborate wedding cards, a budding trend is on the rise, defying all stereotypes. Brides and grooms are working for a more eco-friendly approach with innovative wedding cards and eco solutions. Actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu has been a champion for handlooms and as a part of the Woven Fashion Show 2017, Anam Mirza’s event company The Businesswalas curated invitation boxes filled with organic goodies.
“Since it was a handloom event, we gave small notebooks with a handloom fabric on the cover. There was a terrarium, an organic chocolate fudge and an almond and date fudge that people seemed to enjoy,” says Anam, adding that she too received a wedding invitation along with a bag of seeds. Lalit Vikamshi and Shweta Bhattad are the artists behind the seeds paper cards. Lalit says, “This is a part of the Gram Art Project that we have started. It aims to work on various issues related to rural India, mainly focusing on art activities, working with community, issues related to women, farmer exchange programmes and Water.
The seeds are bought directly from the farmers have and more than 90 per cent success rate. The paper is handmade by the farmers’ relatives, thereby providing employment to many. The Japanese had already come up with such a paper but the difference here is that we can make designs out of the seeds within the paper, which was earlier not possible.” Giving out Tulsi seeds in some form, be it embedded in paper or in a bag, it seems to be a popular gifting choice because it is so auspicious. Anju Poddar, who has written the book A Wedding in the House: Ceremonies Relating to Weddings & Childbirth, explains, “Scientifically, Tulsi is very powerful since it makes the soil fertile, has great anti-oxidant properties and since it has high levels of mercury content, it is placed in the aangan of a house so if there is lighting around the house, the plant will attract it towards it and will prevent it from striking the house.”
Mallika of wedding planning company Pandoras, says, “People these days are increasingly turning towards a no-wastage policy, even for weddings. I have had customers who have calculated the amount of money it costs to print and send out wedding cards, and they donated that money to a cause that’s dear to them and sent e-cards to guests instead. It’s about cutting down on waste and contributing to a cause that will actually make a difference in the long run.”
Producer Ashwini Dutt’s daughter Priyanka Dutt got married a few years ago and they too opted to send out organic baskets. In a beautifully crafted box, there are organic products that are close to Ashwini’s heart that she came across during her travels. A personal message written by Ashwini explains the contents in the box: “Honey from Uttrakhand, cinnamon from Cochin, homemade pure almond oil, walnuts from Jammu and traditional bath powder from Green Gram, tulsi neem, turmeric, a face pack of rose petals and orange peel, along with homemade chocolates from Ooty.” On why she chose these products, Priyanka says, “I wanted to give some pure things that I came across in life while travelling. It’s crazy how we are taking the Earth for granted... My travels have really changed my perspective so I wanted to start somewhere and my wedding was a perfect chance to make people get a taste and smell of organic things.”
However, Rajiv Lulla, founder and CEO of Capricon Gifting Solutions says that it is not just in weddings that this is happening. “We offer pencils that are 100 per cent biodegradable and non-toxic. The outer covering is recycled from old newspapers. People are also gifting our pencils which have a seed embedded at the very end. Once the pencil is sharpened to the very end, instead of just throwing the rest away, one can go zero waste by just planting what’s left in the soil and make the world a greener place. Cumin, mustard, fenugreek, basil, tomato, chilli and fennel seeds are embedded in these pencils.”