Weddings are first and foremost an exhibit of the love two individuals hold for one another. But they can also be an opportunity to express the values a couple shares. These values can be articulated in a number of ways, not the least of which is planning a wedding that is more sustainable and eco-friendly – which often starts with the invitation.
Do you cringe when you receive a traditional paper wedding invitation in the mail? Or do you dislike having an informal email invitation arrive in your inbox? The good news is this: couples who want to be environmentally-friendly don’t have to choose between having an eco-friendly invitation and having an attractive one. From recycled paper to stylish electronic invites, there are a number of options to help you stay green as you plan your special day. The best part? Many of these invitations can be created at home with a little DIY magic.
Here’s a few ways you can be eco-friendly with your wedding invitations:
Use Recycled Paper and Earth-Friendly Ink
Looking at different paper options are a given if you want to be more sustainable in designing your wedding invitations.
The first alternative that comes to mind is recycled paper. You can be mindful of using recycled paper from the moment you start shopping for invitations. Wedding invitation websites such as Green Field Paper Company and Bella Figura market themselves as eco-friendly businesses. And one needs to look no further than Etsy to realize recycled paper invites are more than just a fad.
Another question to ask a potential printer about is the type of ink they use. Printers that utilize vegetable oil or soy-based inks are better for the environment than their petroleum-based companions. It’s not all about the invite material, though – ensure a company uses environmentally-friendly practices when they send and receive invitation materials as well.
You should also be mindful of where your invitation company is based. While a certain designer may provide the most eco-friendly design and printing, it defeats the purpose if your package has to be shipped halfway across the world. If you do decide to order invites from further distances, Carbon Fund allows you to calculate the carbon footprint of your package so you can offset your impact later.
Consider Alternative Fiber Papers
Did you know you can order invitations made from non-tree products, including hemp, bamboo, cotton, and even coffee bean fibers? Conservatree offers more information and links to a variety of alternative fiber papers, many of which you can request for your ordered invitations or use for homemade invites.
An especially interesting option is biodegradable seed-based paper. Once your wedding guest has made note of the details of your special day, they can simply put the invitation in the garden, cover it with soil, and it soon becomes a bloomed testament to your love for your future spouse, as well as the earth.
Make Invitations Yourself
Perhaps the best way to be mindful of what’s going into your invitations is to make them yourself. Pinterest has a number of ideas for transforming what you may already have around the house into a beautiful and unique set of invitations. From old paper doilies to recycled pieces of ribbon, the opportunities to get creative and green are endless when you opt for the DIY route.
Just as making a meal from scratch allows you to select every element that goes into your dish, DIY wedding invitations do the same when it comes to craft materials. That means you can substitute glue for stitching to bind invitations, and even get creative with making envelope-free invitations.
Make Wedding-Worthy Invites Using MailChimp
This isn’t your conventional plain-text wedding invitation. MailChimp is the leading platform for creating customized email newsletters, invitations, and announcements. The site is free for users who have inputted less than 2,000 wedding guest email addresses.
For those who love to tinker, you can make your own e-newsletter from scratch, using any of MailChimp’s handy drag-and-drop email components. If you’re looking for a little inspiration or a base to kick off your design, MailChimp has dozens of built-in templates to get you started. You can also create something called autoresponders for your invitation mailing list – pleasant reminders for your guests that are automatically sent out on a predetermined date.
Post Updates on a Wedding Website or Social Media Page
In addition to the first round of invitations, some brides want to send follow-up messages and reminders as the wedding date gets close. As an alternative to autoresponders, Facebook events or groups can be a great way to post important information and photo updates for guests.
For those worried about every guest having access to Facebook, there’s also the option to create a dedicated website for your wedding. Popular wedding blog, The Knot, allows couples to create a free, personalized website featuring all the details of their wedding day. Like MailChimp, it comes with more than 80 pre-made designs so you can focus on getting your message across without the fuss of setting up the entire presentation. The website can also integrate with a registry service – another opportunity to potentially save on paper.
Adjusting the way guests confirm their attendance to your wedding can make a big environmental impact. Rather than including an RSVP card in your wedding invitation (whether it’s made of eco-friendly paper or not), include an email address or website link where guests can electronically send their response. Not only will this save on paper, but also on the carbon footprint caused by sending snail mail back and forth.
Have you incorporated green practices into your wedding invitation design? We’d love to hear your creative and eco-friendly ideas, especially if they’re of the homemade variety. Want to encourage your guests to be more eco-friendly as well? Suggest that they purchase an environmentally-friendly wedding gift for you.