Today is World Environment Day, a day not only to celebrate nature but also to increase awareness about the how the environment is being destroyed by everyday actions. It is not just today that we should take care of the environment. It has to be a part of our lifestyles. Read on to know more about Chennai’s first eco-friendly wedding where the couple boycotted all the usual proceedings of a regular wedding and adopted their vegan lifestyle.
Panda and Herbi got married the eco-friendly way. Here’s what Panda has to say:
MY GREEN VEGAN WEDDING – Panda
It might have sounded odd when you read the title but trust me, hang on and it will get exciting. Herbi and I had a one of a kind wonderful wedding event. Why would we have that? Well, let me brief you about ourselves and then move on to the wedding details. We are a long-lasting, minimalistic, conscious, vegan couple who are keen on setting examples and bring about revolutions in the society. Vegan, in general, means a person who adheres to a plant-based lifestyle where there are no animal products involved; this can be due to cruelty, humanity or environmental reasons. We both together established a green venture called Mystic in Chennai Tamilnadu India, with a focus on fair-trade, organic, locally sourced plant-based ingredients, eco-friendly products and services. Mystic is a platform where I bake healthy millets-based goodies under Gluttony and blog my life, happenings, recipes and products under Trails, while Herbi is a nature art photographer under Lights and prepares fine nuts butter for Gluttony. Together we set as pioneers in healthy yet delectable vegan creations married with incredibly sustainable models to envision a peaceful planet.
Having said these, how would our wedding not be eco-friendly and vegan! Here are the highlights from the wedding that was on the World Environment Day, June 5th, 2016.
Make the Connection. (Nature is our life supporter, animals and human are all connected with the environment).
Eco-friendly handmade paper invites for family relatives and e-invites for friends. Invites had info on veganism and mentioned it’s an eco-friendly wedding, also persuading guests to avoid silk, leather, fur and plastics at the venue.
Clothing for Groom:
Handloom organic rain-fed cotton dyed naturally got from Tula and Anokhi.
Clothing for Bride:
Handloom organic natural dyed cotton saree from Co-optex converted into a dress with a handloom cotton material from Nalli stitched into a long jacket by designer/tailor Studio V7 in Chennai.
Eco-friendly cotton based shoes with soles made of recycled tyres from the company Paaduks.
Handmade by the company Jungle Jewels using seeds and grains. No gold or diamonds for the fact that they need immense mining and human slavery. We do not need to hurt the planet and others to look beautiful.
100% Plant-based, prepared by the venue management based on our humble request. We sat down with them and gave clear instructions on what not to include. Yes, there was biryani and curd rice that was vegan!
Only natural decor using seasonal ‘samandhi’ (marigold) flowers, which was later made into compost.
The musical instruments:
Usually, Hindu weddings have nadaswaram and tavil that are made of animal skins. There was no alternative before. But after a lot of research, we had musicians play the SRI Mridangam that is not made of animal skin. The synthetic fiberglass shell mridangam was designed by vocalist and scientist Dr. K. Varadarangan of Karunya Musicals in Bengaluru. This was very important and something that made the wedding completely cruelty-free and vegan!
Handmade organic cotton bags from The Yellow Bag company with traditional peanut candy, coconut, beetle leaves, and an information booklet on Veganism.
Awareness for guests:
Speeches and messages about the environmental issues, conservation of the ecosystem, and animal welfare by Sadhana Forest; Screenings of short environmental documentaries and videos.
The gardens of VGP Golden Beach Resort, Chennai. It was an outdoor wedding to minimize electricity usage and to give a natural feel. There was cool sea breeze instead of A/C and bright sunlight instead of focus lamps.
This was the first eco-friendly wedding in Chennai. Maybe after getting inspired from us, our friends would do the same. And when it is in the media, more public people who come across might give it a thought. We considered this event as a huge, peaceful, beautiful activism with 800 guests. What we feel is, there is a lack of awareness about living sustainably. Many are focussing on planting trees and doing terrace gardening, forgetting the fact that one day of a big fat Indian wedding is enough to cause a huge destructive impact on the planet. Our guests were awed by our efforts to show how to have minimal damage on this planet, many even got inspired to follow.
It took us a lot of hard work to set things up and get there. We had not hired any event managers or wedding planners but took the challenge on our own, after all, it’s our special day. Everyone asked “Why to take all this effort?”, to answer that: Well, with the rising global temperature, with increasing landfills in the city, with almost all natural habitats being polluted and destroyed — we have a choice to change and provide a better planet for our future generations or to be affected and kill their home too. We chose to be minimal with our carbon footprints and be sustainable wherever possible. Using fuel powered vehicles is kind of a necessity now but having lavish, tons of waste generating, landfill creating weddings are not. And that is exactly why we would like to show a better path.
Panda, a pseudonym for Monica Pandian, a curious gentle Earthling, an ecologist and environmentalist who currently is on a life escapade with her multi-skilled hubby Praveen Raj (Herbi) in Victoria BC Canada. The duo being nature freaks are ready to grow their baby Mystic across the globe to spread the goodness. While they take a break from production, Panda indulges in travelling, blogging, food experimenting, life researching, hiking, studying the evolving environment, improvising her self-designed website and experimenting new vegan alternatives for the business.
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