Making Our Sustainable Wedding Dream Came True: Research, Engagement and Visioning from Personal Perspectives
By Kirana Agustina, Nanda Noor
Saturday, 4.3.21, became the most important day in the life of colleague-turned-couple Kirana dan Nanda (hereafter “Kirananda”) by far. We met thanks to WRI’s Sustainability Champions program and the flexible work-from-home policy during the pandemic. Yes, love in the time of corona blooms and being environmentally and socially-conscious is the only lifestyle we want.
Lifetime marriage is more important than a wedding event, though the first milestone will set a bar for the voyage. We didn’t realize how challenging it was to walk-the-talk on sustainability knowledge and skills we learn from work. Hope this piece can help spread our story, so other couples could build even better tales for themselves.
#KiranandaSetTheSail: Wedding reception began with a voyage on the lake, harboring to greet friends and families.
Firstly, lots of research. We spent a good amount of fun time exploring and deciding on the best-available sustainability-conscious vendors that respect health protocols. The list began with sustainability award-winning Dusun Bambu, which hosted a beautiful, eco-touristic outdoor reception that reduced electricity use, unnecessary decorations, and provided near-zero red meat catering. Its new ‘private sanctuary lifestyle’ concept with advanced COVID-19 standard is perfect to host an intimate wedding. Then, Gardens of the Sun provided our charming, mercury-free gold and recycled silver wedding rings that support women and indigenous Dayak communities. Foyya Studio created our forest and ocean-themed branding and creative wedding e-invitation. We entrusted Setali Indonesia to design upcycled wedding dresses from their warehouse and SukkhaCitta for gifts that replace toxic chemicals with natural dyes from regenerative farming and support rural livelihoods in Central Java. Lasouk also supplied our alluring yet recycled prayers mat, while Sustaination procured utensils from eco-friendly midribs (“plepah”) to eat locally grown salads.
Due to personal preference and pandemic restrictions, we invited fewer people than normal Indonesian weddings, hence we produced less than typical 40 kg of food waste, yet we still asked the Sisa Pilah community to sort and recycle them. Using environmental journalism, Kirmizi made a short documentary to cover Kirananda’s ocean and forest stories. Worth mentioning are other supportive vendors: Pala Nusantara (culture-preserving arm watches), Rumah Musik Harry Roesli (performance by former street musicians), Arte Floral (local, less waste flower decors by a lawyer-turned-florist), Ramuraga (bottled kombucha with no single-use plastics), and Rempah Rengganis (culture-driven tea souvenirs). Coral Triangle Center (CTC) facilitated guests’ crowdfunding to plant and adopt corals and reef stars. This is a perfect payback - it matches the wedding’s grand theme, as the groom works on forests while the bride is on oceans.
Kebun Ide provided hydroponic salad and green bouquet to the guests.
Secondly, inclusive engagement. Religious values drive Kirananda to prioritize the closest people first: friends and families, which account for more than half of all vendors. We supported their businesses by paying for the service professionally and let some afore-mentioned vendors make this their first wedding project, first sustainability-themed project, or simply to reunite families by asking our multi-talented cousin MC Rani Hardjadinata to liven up our special day. Also, we have to specially bring up WRI Indonesia colleagues. Beginning with our Matron of Honor, Nadine Zamira, who beautifully arranged the bride's flower bouquet and sourced half of the flower decoration from Floribunda Nursery. Our own Ibu Tieke, her Kebun Ide, chef-sister and daughters helped educate our guests about hydroponics, making fresh local salads with extra wedding bouquet flavour. Then, Umi‘s Sisa Pilah, sorted food and organic waste for integrated agriculture farming in Manglayang, West Java. Khesyia, the woman behind Rempah Rengganis, supported local Java and Bali rempahs.
WRI Indonesia friends and many other kindred souls also contributed to our coral adoption. We gathered IDR 16 million (~US$1,100) to plant more than 50 baby corals in Nusa Penida Marine Park with CTC alongside a local community called Nuansa Pulau Penida. To leverage this, Kirananda also planted 10 mango trees in Dusun Bambu with the help from WRI Indonesia’s EMISI Team (Dewi, Taki and Mumtaz) and Hutan Itu Indonesia (best man Tian). These would, over the next decade, be projected to sequester half of the wedding’s mobility, food and waste carbon emissions at ~2 tonCO2. In attempting to reduce urban transport emissions, we encouraged friends and families to carpool to our venue. In retrospect, these small initiatives gave us intimate feelings - why not have this once-in-a-lifetime wedding as an avenue where vendors and guests could connect with each other.
On behalf of our generous wedding guests, #KiranandaVoyage planted and adopted >50 crowdfunded baby corals and reef stars in Nusa Penida Marine Park.
Thirdly, managing and visioning. Perhaps the most challenging part was how we coordinate the entire event while still working full time. We believed though, that combining ideas and restrictions from families, friends, vendors and supporters, solved more problems than it created. Also, as the name #KiranandaSetTheSail suggests, we are mixing two values in the overall execution of sustainable wedding and voyage through endless marriage. It’s because of our amalgamated emotions - and a true belief in our spirituals - that we could make it. Perhaps it’s in each of our individual mindsets and vision, that we found a purpose: to facilitate happiness for one another. It’s in the meeting of two hearts that the world becomes a slightly better place, and it all starts from within – the smallest world in anyone’s life – a family.
We hope this short article, published on the 100th day of our marriage, could help the next time anyone is creating a once-in-a-lifetime event. Step back and think how much impact your wedding reception could have on the world? Wouldn’t it feel even greater to sustainably impact our Earth and society during one of the best days of our life?
Thank you WRI!