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Arun Bablani, founder of Vivaah Weddings Image Credit: Supplied

How can I make my wedding more sustainable and environment friendly?

Your wedding is meant to be the greatest day of your life, but did you know that it can also be the most wasteful day of your life?

A sustainable wedding is a celebration where the couple tries to reduce the event’s effect on the environment. The idea is to be conscious of the consumption of resources that would otherwise be used in the wedding. This can include recycling waste, choosing a sustainable venue, and even neglecting to participate in traditional practices that could be considered unsustainable.

You’ll have to go that extra mile with detailed and better planning to make your wedding more environmentally friendly. First things first, I suggest picking a good time of the year (in in the case of UAE, I suggest December through March) so that you don’t need air conditioning or coolers for outdoor events.

Another basic principle to follow is to say no to plastic throughout the wedding and use non-tree-based paper wedding invitations (seed paper/recycled paper), digital photos and most importantly using QR codes everywhere to explain details of the wedding celebration.

Additionally, when it comes to choosing the menu for the wedding, go with serving organically grown and locally sourced food and, post the event, donate the extra food.

Celebrate your big day in one hotel rather than having multiple venues which will save on décor elements and additional transportation requirements and use all electric vehicles for guest pick up and drop (airport transfers).

When it comes to gifts and giveaways, try sourcing yours locally to support a small business thus reducing your carbon footprint. I also suggest using eco-friendly packaging. For the actual gifting ideas use items that are more sustainable and can be recycled such as recycled jute bags, potted plants or even edibles like honey.

After the celebrations you can also hire a specialized company to take away the décor waste to reuse or dispose accurately and finally, offset the carbon footprint by planting local trees. In the UAE Gaff trees are suggested.

They say “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” so while the eventual goal is to have a sustainable celebration and not become ‘sustainable ready’ overnight, but to start small but start somewhere.