Reethu, a story teller, a person often found between the pages of a book or contemplating the nuances of life.
Moving away from conventional weddings, a Bhopal couple decided to invite guests with potted plants instead of a wedding card.
The couple, Pranshu Kankane and Sumi Choudhary’s wedding was the talk of the town for their environment-friendly approach for tying the knot.
It all started with the brothers’ – Prateek Kankane and Pranshu’s – commitment to avoiding paper-made wedding cards. “Our family has always been committed to nature. So, from the beginning, we did not want to use paper invitations. For this, we sent everyone e-invites,” says Prateek while speaking to The Logical Indian.
“There are several benefits to using e-cards. One, the paper won’t be wasted and trees can be saved. Also, you can save petrol and time. Hence, e-cards are feasible in all ways,” explains Prateek.
However, in order to fulfil their mother’s wishes to send out cards to people, the brothers came up with the idea of a ‘green invite’ where they printed the details of the wedding on potted plants.
Unlike his expectations, the guests were won over by the ‘green invites’. There were around 50 Tulsi plants, which were widely accepted by the elderly. There were also four to five varieties of indoor plants and around 30-40 seasonal plants which even led to the invitees picking their own ‘green invite’.
“When we went to each house, their reactions were superfluous. According to their taste, some people even selected their own invite. We also spend 15-20 minutes with each invitee to guide them about taking care of the plants; we did not want them to just take it from us and then throw it,” says Prateek.
“Wherever I went to visit, they have displayed the plants quite proudly at their house; this made me very happy,” adds Prateek.
Moreover, in order to make the wedding eco-friendly, the invite also had various instructions for the guests – ‘don’t bring bouquets’ and ‘avoid using single-use plastic bottle’ and even the decorations were made out of eco-friendly material.
The biggest challenge to the initiative was the cost-effectiveness. “It was not right for this initiative to be unnecessarily costly. If it was costly, people would not be able to adopt this practice. Thus feasibility of the initiative was our biggest challenge,” says Prateek.
The brothers managed to get each green invite at a cost around ₹68 to 70, which, according to Prateek is in line with the cost of a single wedding card.
In order to avoid food wastage, they also asked people to RSVP. “Bhopal being a two-tier city, people generally are not broad-minded. While in places like Delhi, the system of RSVP is very common. We adopted RSVP in our e-invites and also made sure that the process was easy for everyone,” says Prateek.
The family also partnered with the Robin Hood Army(RHA), a non-profit organization that serves surplus food from restaurants and weddings to the hungry.
The instructions were also well-received by the guests. Of nearly 1500 guests, they received only two bouquets. Also, only 40-50 plates of food remained, which RHA took to give the poor.
“It is very important to work in favour of the environment. We should find the means to conserve natural resources in every possible means we can. The wedding was an opportunity for us to do that; to ensure that natural resources did not get wasted,” says Prateek.
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