How To Plan A Sustainable South Indian Wedding – Part 2

Wow, what a long break it’s been between the last post and this! We’re at the final stretch of this wedding preparation, and let me tell you – it is NOT easy.  I have noticed that emotions are playing up a little more than expected in times of tension and stress. Hmm. Something to reflect on for future brides and grooms: please be prepared for a lot of emotional roller coasters 😉

Alright so in this post, let me share what we decided to do about our wedding invitations, wedding door gifts and wedding snacks.

INVITATIONS

We designed our wedding invitations. Nothing fancy, just a really simple, non-traditional A5 two-sided card with this quote printed on the back from Sathya Sai Baba.

“Love exists for love and nothing else…Love lasts as long as life exists.”

We also wanted to print a minimal amount of physical cards (specifically for the older generation who prefer physical invitations), and use our digital platforms to send out invites to everyone else.

I have to say, Brickfields (where most Indian wedding invites are printed) disappointed me terribly. If you’re the type of person who wants to personalise things, and believes that less is more – Brickfields is not the place to figure out your invitations. I know many also go to India to get their cards printed in beautiful, grand designs. I remember receiving cards that came with fancy looking boxes!

But we’re not fancy people. Nor do we have that much money to spend on invitations that I know will be simply thrown out the door after the wedding. We were finally introduced to a very reliable contact through a good friend of ours (more of a sister to me). Not only did he print the cards on the exact type of paper we wanted, he also threw in the right sort of envelopes and delivered them within a week. And the best part – it was all printed on FSC-certified paper. FSC-certified paper is sourced from sustainable forestry practices (click on the link to read more!). So for those of you who have received our invitations, and are wondering why they look so…simple – this is why! In general, a card needs to be able to do TWO things :

  • Give you information of where and when the event will be
  • Give you information on who is getting married

And I think our super simple invite fulfills that quite well.

Many of our guests received email invitations, which we designed from scratch as well. It was sent with a personalised message and links to the wedding website, RSVP tab and all other relevant information pertaining to the wedding. An email invitation serves the same purpose, but the RSVP was most important for us to better prepare ourselves to receive all of our guests.

DOOR GIFTS

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Here’s the thing – we didn’t get our guests door gifts 🙂 I can hear a lot of people going – WHAT? OMG? YOU GUYS!! HOW CAN YOU NOT GET DOOR GIFTS??

But hear me out first. We really wanted to ensure that everything we do had the least impact on the environment and was helping different communities. So our initial idea for door gifts was to source them from causes we really cared about, and allow their creativity to be a part of our wedding while also using the wedding as a platform to raise some awareness on these causes. Unfortunately, most of the charities/causes we contacted were either out of our budget, or unable to cater for such large numbers.

Finally, we decided on TWO things:

  1. We ordered handwoven pandanus bookmarks made by the Orang Asli (indigenous) communities living in various locations in Malaysia through Gerai OA, a wonderful movement that seeks to empower this community and champion causes related to indigenous peoples in Malaysia. The bookmarks we received were incredibly beautiful and we will be giving these out to international guests, as well as guests who will be joining us for some of the pre-wedding ceremonies.
  2. For the wedding ceremony, we have decided to contribute the allocated amount for door gifts to Street Feeders of KL, in the name of our guests. The Street Feeders of KL is a movement that provides free meals to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur. What I truly love about this movement is how they’ve tried to expand their reach and impact to more than just one community – when they run their Street Feeder sessions, food is catered from the Picha Project, which allows us to cater from refugee families in Malaysia. This way, we help put food on their families’ tables, as we get good food for ours. The team at Street Feeders is led by Gary Liew, a very inspiring young man who truly understands what it means to be a friend to all. He inspired me, and I truly wish we could have actually joined them to serve and eat together with our street friends. Unfortunately, the pre-wedding ceremonies are quite hectic that week. Still, we thank Street Feeders for accepting our contribution and allowing us to be a part of their amazing efforts at inclusivity and unconditional Love.

SNACKS

Every Indian wedding, especially ones where the bride has to change her saree to the one given by her future husband before the thali is tied, requires some snacks. I think this is just to keep the guests happy as food may be served about 30 – 40 minutes later. So just like everything else in this wedding industry, the price of snacks too, have increased tremendously (and ridiculously).

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Commercialism of weddings have not spared even food. A lot of weddings now provide exquisite snacks served in custom packaging and themes. Again, things we are not really fans of fancy stuff (we sound quite boring when I write it this way!).

Our simple wedding snacks – homemade crunchy murukku-like mixtures, with lots of spice and sweetness, packed with love by our families 🙂 And as a bonus, Bala’s family will be sharing some lovely Sri Lankan cake slices, homemade and brought all the way from Sri Lanka!

THE CEREMONY –  THE CRUX OF THE WEDDING

Again, these are just small things we are trying to do to ensure that how we get married reflects the lifestyles we are trying to live as people. We do understand that sometimes, we can’t really do what we envision. But at the end of the day – really, all this is just the peripherals of the actual marriage itself. The wedding is an event; marriage is for life.

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The wedding ceremony itself is probably the most important part of the event. Our humble request to all our guests: please do take time to witness the ceremony, so you too can understand and experience the beautiful energy that the ceremony will bring. We will be sharing slides of what each stage of the ceremony means during the wedding via a slideshow that will be projected on the TV screens in the hall, and we do hope that it will help you to understand a South Indian/Sri Lankan wedding ceremony better.

We have constantly tried to remind ourselves of this…and I sincerely hope that everyone else who’s planning their weddings will remember this too.

We look forward to seeing and celebrating the start of our lives together with all of you who will be attending #bndkalyanam !

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