If you’re trying to go green for your upcoming wedding, eco friendly wedding invitations are a good place to start. Believe it or not, the wedding industry can have a big impact on our forests.
Over 2 million people get married each year in the US, which is about 5,500 marriages per day. With an average number of guests around 178, that works out to a HUGE number of wedding invitations! That’s a lot of paper…and a lot of trees!
As much as we like to think that our friends and family will keep our wedding invitation as a keepsake forever, the number of ideas online about how to recycle wedding invitations would suggest otherwise.
In my opinion, there are better ways to spend your wedding budget, and if I were getting married again now, I would certainly be getting creative with the invitations, and here are some ideas:
Three wedding invitations that won’t cost the planet
1 – Create a video invitation. I came across this wedding invitation on YouTube and I want to thank Jenn and Matt for posting it there. It’s incredibly creative and it looks like they had a lot of fun making it. Best of all, I felt the video really gave me some insight into who this couple is, which might be really nice for the more ‘fringe’ guests that may not know you as well. This would be my number one choice for sure!
2 – Design an online invitation. Some people roll their eyes at this suggestion. I think we think of the online birthday cards we receive where a click of the mouse causes digital flowers to start sprouting across your screen while a poor rendition of happy birthday plays. It doesn’t have to be like that. The reality is that most of your guests have email and are quite receptive to the idea of receiving something online and digital can still be classy.
My father-in-law recently remarried and nested his wedding invitation into a beautiful short story. He’s a writer, so it wasn’t surprising to receive a short story from him, but it was surprising to realize at the end that the little love-tale was indeed non-fiction and an invitation!
Use some of the budget you would spend on printing to hire a graphic artist to come up with a design that you love.
3 – Go for a seal and send printed invite. If you simply can’t escape a printed invitation, then choose a design that doesn’t require an envelope, sometimes called ‘seal and send’. Have the return card be a perforated end that can just be torn off and sent back like a postcard, or better yet, ask guests to email or phone with their RSVP or direct them to a wedding website that collects RSVPs.
Try to get paper that has a high post-consumer recycled content and look for printers that have the option of using vegetable-based inks. Also, you can opt to send one invitation per family, rather than each household. So, you would send one invitation to your Aunt and Uncle that would include all your cousins and their families, even if they don’t all live in the same household. This will help reduce printing costs and help save the environment.
Dealing with the extras
If you decide to go with a video, e-vite or seal and send, you’ll then have to worry about all the other extras that the invitation printers usually take care of, such as menus, place settings, and additional wedding information. However, here are some tips for going green on these extras as well:
- Menus: If you want to have these at the table, just put one per table rather than printing one for each individual.
- Place settings: This is somewhere you can truly get creative. Instead of place cards at each seat, stamp the guest’s name onto a rock or shell. Have seedlings in pretty compostable pots with the guest name printed on the pot. I’ve seen chocolates with the name printed in white chocolate. I’ve also been to a wedding where our names were printed on handmade soap! There are so many options for avoiding the little place card.
- Additional wedding information: There is often a lot of information you need to pass on to your guests, whether it’s about accommodation and parking, or other events associated with the wedding such as rehearsal dinners and gift openings. This is often enclosed in a number of cards within a traditional wedding invitation. However, if you’re going to be eco friendly, you will probably be better off creating a website for the wedding. This can convey all the information you need it to, link to gift registries, and even accept RSVPs or menu choices. It’s a nice one-stop solution.
There will be a million decisions you will make surrounding your wedding and with each one there will always be a greener option; from eco friendly wedding invitations to what you eat to where you spend your honeymoon. So, if you don’t want your celebration of love to leave a large footprint on the planet, put your green thinking cap on when you’re making plans. My sister-in-law recently got engaged and I’ve got all sorts of ideas for a great video invite…what fun!