There isn’t quite a spectacle like that of a big, fat Indian wedding. Pulling all stops is almost expected and nothing is subtle or subdued. Every nook and cranny of the venue is alive with colour, servers walk around with platters of food, and the atmosphere is vibrant and exciting. And of course, there are flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. The mandap is done up in hues that complement the couple’s outfits and now thanks to celebrity weddings, there are spots designed to deliver the best, most Instagram-worthy pictures. And while we can all appreciate the appeal of floral designs and decor, the conversation about sustainability cannot be too far behind. It can seem wasteful, loading up the flowers, wilted under the sun and transported to a landfill. But Anuja Joshi, founder of Interflora India, is keenly inclined towards creating more sustainable weddings. We caught up with her to understand how Interflora India is taking steps towards being more environment-friendly in an industry that barely lends itself to that.
ELLE: The floral business by itself would lend itself to questions about being sustainable. How do you make sure that it is?
Anuja Joshi : Yes, as an Industry there are a few questions that arise in terms of sustainability. However, over time we have learnt that many processes are flawed and can be easily fixed. Firstly, we focus on sustainability right from the start of our production process, keeping in mind where our blooms come from and where they go. For example, in our recent events in Kochi, Kolkata & Chennai we relied mostly on locally-grown flowers.
On our part, we always try to integrate sustainable practices right from conceptualization all the way to waste management post the event including reusing and repurposing the blooms. Our state-of-the-art cold chain solution has helped us immensely in getting closer to our sustainability goals.
ELLE: When clients do have requests to say, perhaps, fly down a particular flower etc, how do you ensure you do this without giving up on sustainability?
AJ: Our main focus is consumer satisfaction. One of the key roles of being a Floral Designer is to enable our clients here in India to be able to experience International flowers. However, if we think the decor look can be achieved through a sustainably conscious alternative, we always pitch for it. And make sure the consumer is mesmerized by the final decor.
On the other hand, while we may pitch for the use of locally sourced flowers, some varieties are only available internationally. In this case, we look for a transportation means which has the least carbon footprint on the environment. Our overseas partnerships are also selected only when our business, as well as sustainability values, match.
ELLE: What are some trends you see becoming big in the wedding space this year?
AJ from Interflora: We are noticing a shift to everything organic and wild. While our clients still want opulence and sophistication, they also want to experiment and be wild. This trend manifests itself through the abundance of foliage, the use of wildflowers, and everything nature-inspired.
As seen in Alia Bhatt & Ranbir Kapoor’s wedding as well as Richa Chaddha & Ali Fazal’s reception, couples are looking for an enchanted fantasy which is very much rooted in nature, a return to Versailles as we call it!
ELLE: Do you see couples (especially celebrities) actively seeking to have sustainable weddings?
AJ: The modern couple is conscious and we admire couples that are willing to go the extra mile and build their day of love around sustainability. We have noticed that many couples are willing to pay a slightly higher price if it means the decor is achieved in a more sustainable way. We love to partake in sustainable activities like preserving flowers and repurposing them to give them new life.
Most recently, we turned Alia & Ranbir’s wedding flowers into candles and get them a new life. Sonam Babani repurposed the lemons from her Tuscany wedding into delicious jam.
We have also curated hand-tied bouquets and gifted them to the friends and family of the couple.
You can check out Interflora’s offerings on their website and socials.
While there’s miles to go before weddings are entirely sustainable, it’s obvious that couples want their weddings to be as friendly to the planet as it possibly could be and brands like Interflora are working towards making that happen.
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