This is a tough post to write, because of course I have conflicting feelings on it. To be 100% eco-friendly, you would likely do online invitations, and my job would look very different. But there’s nothing like the feel of receiving an actual wedding invitation in the mail – and frankly, online invitations are just not as effective as physical ones. It’s been proven that people don’t digest details as effectively online as they do reading from a piece of paper, and especially if you have older guests who aren’t as comfortable with the internet, you’ll want to send a physical invitation to make sure everyone has all the necessary information for your wedding!
So if you still want to send a wedding invitation, but you want to be more eco friendly with it, how do you do that? There are a few ways to create a more environmentally friendly wedding invite.
Handmade papers are usually made with a large content of recycled fibers, cotton, and other papers, and are better for the environment than your traditional papers. They are also typically made in smaller shops, and support small businesses instead of large factories. Plus, they’re beautiful and come in some amazing colors and textures!
Even more sustainable are handmade seed papers. These papers can literally be planted after use to put a new tree/plant back into the world for every invitation you send. You’re a little limited on how you can print on seed paper wedding invites, but they contain a gorgeous natural texture and come in a plethora of colors as well!
Cotton paper is tree-free so it’s typically considered to be more sustainable than other papers. All of our in-house wedding invitation papers use some percentage of recycled papers, but cotton will likely be your best bet for something that’s sustainable, and yet not quite the cost of handmade or seed paper invitations. Cotton papers are best suited to letterpress or gold foil printing, as opposed to digital printing, but can be used for either!
If you want to simply save on the number of pieces you’re including in your wedding invitation suite, then a good way to do this is by using online RSVPs. I still recommend a separate card instructing guests on how to RSVP, but you can save an entire envelope (and save some postage money too!) if you simply invite guests to RSVP online. Now this doesn’t change the fact that some older guests may not be 100% comfortable, so it’s up to you how to handle those – maybe you print a couple mail-in Reply Cards for those people, or just call them to check in on their responses if there aren’t very many!
Another option that saves you the RSVP envelope is to use a postcard! I wouldn’t recommend sending your guests postcards (for instance, for a Save the Date), because postcards typically get really torn up in the mail. However, if you use a postcard reply card, then only you will see the beat up version on the other end!
If you have a lot of details to impart to your guests, instead of opting for more and more insert cards, be more sustainable by making use of the back of your cards. I wouldn’t put anything important on the back of a mail-in Reply Card, because people will need that information even after they’ve mailed it in, but for instance, including your details on accommodations on the back of your map or other inserts is a great way to cut down on paper usage!
Unique materials have been really popular for wedding invitations recently, and can be more sustainable. Note that can be! Acrylic wedding invitations are popular right now, for instance, but they’re made of a chunk of plastic – not so sustainable. Some providers make faux leather papers, you can print on velvet, linen, or other fabrics, and I’m sure there are a ton of materials that haven’t even been tested yet! The best way to come up with something is to inform your designer that you’re interested in using sustainable materials, and talk with them about the best options!
There are a lot of creative solutions to a more eco friendly wedding invitation. For my own wedding, we are printing some pieces on vintage postcards as a way to be more sustainable – no new paper is a great rule to follow! One of the best parts of working with Design by Laney is that all of our projects support at least 3-5 small, local businesses, and as I mentioned, all of our house stocks contain a percentage of recycled paper. We also use almost 100% recycled packaging materials, and recycle all of our paper waste. If you’d like to chat about creating some sustainable invitations – contact us here!
Wedding invitations to tell your story, and business education to help you write your own.