LAHORE: The winter wedding season is slowly drawing to a close and while most weddings screamed money, designers and extravaganza, there was one wedding in the city which stood apart for being different, for being simple and in the words of the bride and groom, “environment-friendly.”
Wasma Imran and Mahin Khan, a Lahore-based couple, decided to walk a different path when they decided to get married a year or so ago. They opted for a wedding which would be gentle on the environment and would produce minimum waste.
Speaking exclusively to Pakistan Today as to what made them take this decision, Wasma shared, ” Around 2 years ago, Mahin and I started observing how plastic was engulfing the planet and actively started to looking for alternatives.”
She continued, “In that process, we co-founded Recircle which made us more conscious than ever to make sustainable choices. (Recircle, established around 1.5 years ago, provides sustainable alternative/eco-friendly menstrual cups which are believed to be a better alternative to the regular disposable menstrual products that largely contain plastic components in them making them non-biodegradable.) Every time we step out of the house, we make sure we’re carrying a cotton tote bag and our stainless steel bottles. I also make sure I always have my stainless steel cutlery with me as well so I refrain from using the plastic ones available.”
Wasma added, “From bathroom items, like not using bottled shampoos to trying our best that we don’t do takeaways to avoid plastic packaging – we really want to live a life that isn’t a burden for the planet because it’s beautiful and all the little effort we make is totally worth the headache.”
She finished off saying that their wedding was just another example of how they wanted to ensure that they don’t harm the environment while taking this big step in life. For them, the wedding was about “staying true to our principles and practicing what we believe in. This is who we are and how we live.”
Going into the details of her wedding, Wasma shared that she and Mahin started off by deciding to have a single function to avoid unnecessary costs and waste, after which they sat down and thought of all the possible ways to cut down. They also set a budget for the wedding and gave each other the challenge of managing everything below the budget, in order to maximise savings. Wasma added that the cost of the wedding was borne by both the families.
She elaborated that the different things on which the couple went green included rings, wedding invites and bidh pouches among other things. Wasma detailed, “After we’d figured out and decided our event, the next thing that was on our agenda was the rings and jewellery. Mahin has always been really intrigued by meteorites so when he showed me meteorite rings I was all in for getting them, especially considering that meteorites represent hundreds of years of history. It gives me chills whenever I think that a part of the outer space rests on my hand at all times.”
She added, “We got our rings handcrafted from recycled silver from Europe. And though it sounds very fancy, meteorite rings are really cheap -about 1/50th the price of diamonds. In any case, we have a strong stance against the practise of diamond mining practices, so diamonds were a no-no.”
As for rest of her jewellery, Wasma said, “I decided to let go of the age-old tradition of wearing gold jewellery and got my jewellery hand-crafted from scrap metal and recycled silver. Esfir Jewels did a wonderful job for me and gave me stunning pieces which was exactly what I wanted.”
Next came the wedding invites for which the couple set up a wedding website, along with sending out seed paper invites to those who couldn’t access their website.
Wasma shared, “We wanted to go completely paperless with the wedding invites but there are some people who wouldn’t have access our wedding website so, in addition to a wedding website, we got seed paper invites done. These seed paper invites when buried and watered regularly, grow into basil plants. The paper is 100% biodegradable.”
Bidh pouches were done in a similar manner. Wasma and Mahin’s bidh pouches were made of recycled brown paper and contained mainly nuts and fruits.
On their big day, Wasma and Mahin made sure that they used no plastic and all waste and leftover food was disposed of properly.
“We had an afternoon wedding in an open farmhouse that we rented. The wedding decor was done with reusable decorations and use of plastic was kept to the bare minimum,” Wasma shared. “We got glass soft-drink bottles which were served without straws and were sent back to the factory for recycling after the event. Water was also served in jugs and glasses, while pink tea was served in ceramic cups instead of the usual Styrofoam ones.”
She continued, “We also wanted to ensure that the leftover food was taken care of, so we asked Rizq to come to the venue and collect it and distribute it among the needy. Moreover, meat bones and other organic waste from the wedding was collected by Waste Busters and will be converted into compost. This compost will come back to us after six weeks in jute bags and we will send it to our loved ones to thank them for supporting and attending our wedding. We also gave away small plants as wedding favours to those who attended.”
In a country like Pakistan, an unconventional way of doing things is often not welcomed and the ever-so-famous log kya kahen gay always wins. However, Wasma revealed that her and Mahin’s parents were very supportive of their initiative from the very start and encouraged them to execute the wedding the way they wanted. Their only concern was not to inconvenience the guests. However, it all worked out pretty well in the end and the couple couldn’t have been happier.
As to what their friends had to say about their eco-friendly wedding, Wasma remarked, “Everyone loved the wedding! They really appreciated us for it.”
However, Wasma added that at the end of the day, it was her and husband who felt the happiest and most satisfied knowing that knowing that there was no waste created from their wedding and that’s what really mattered the most.
On what advice she would give to others who might want to be eco-friendly in their approach, Wasma said: “I would just say that do a one-day-wedding, that reduces a lot of waste already. Apart from that just try to think of this: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!”
The recently viral 10-year challenge on different social media platforms has proven how much damage we have inflicted upon our environment as aerial pictures of shrunken water bodies and forest cover decreasing by more than 50% in the past decade are being circulated. It is time that we take a leaf from Mahin and Wasma’s book and be more gentle towards our planet before it becomes too late. Wishing this inspirational couple all the best for their married life.