- Jenica Barrett
How to Send Zero Waste + Sustainable Wedding Invitations (Paper Free!)
Ever wonder where your beautiful wedding invitations end up? Many of them are headed to the trash! With only 68% of the paper generated in the U.S. actually getting recycled, nearly half of your wedding invitations are likely to sit fossilized in a landfill for a long time. Now that's one way to create lasting memories of your special day...
So how do you create sustainable wedding invitations that cost less than traditional invitations AND don’t end up being waste? Well, you’ll need to start by thinking outside the box a little bit and questioning what is “traditional” in the wedding sphere.
Send Electronic, Paperless Wedding Invitations!
Skipping the printed invitation all together is the most environmentally friendly option for inviting your wedding guests. By sending your invites electronically, you avoid the carbon footprint and waste with milling paper, dying it, printing the design, shipping the cards, mailing them across the country, and recycling them (if you're lucky!). Online invitations aren't 100% carbon free as electricity is used to run any type of technology including emails and computers. But it's about a carbon neutral wedding invitation as you'll find!
Sustainable Wedding Invitations Cost Less!
For comparing prices, let’s assume you plan on having an average sized wedding with 131 guests. According to the Wedding Report, the average cost of wedding invitations in 2018 was $328. This includes the invitation, envelope, stamp, and RSVP card. This does NOT include the cost of a Save the Date announcement or any other printed materials such as thank you cards.
You’re looking at spending $328 just on sending out wedding invitations! And honestly, that figure seems low to me. You can definitely spend $4-7 a piece on invitations if you're going for higher quality and lots of custom edits. That’s a lot of cash!
It's good for your wallet and wedding budget then to consider some of the following sustainable alternative wedding invitations that aren't going to cost nearly as much. Choosing an option that is better for the planet doesn't have to cost you more!
Have you thought about how you're going to keep your wedding registry zero waste? Here are a few things to consider when designing your sustainable registry!
Online Only Invitations - Completely Paperless Wedding Invitations!
Canva + Email Wedding Invitations
Canva is a free graphics design website that has tons of templates for wedding invitations. Simply customize the colors, fonts, wording, and add your own personal photos if you'd like. You can then save the image to your computer and send it along in an email.
This is the option that Noah and I selected for our zero waste wedding invitations! You can see the wedding invitation we made below (with the exact details removed because you all don't need to be crashing our wedding).
Pro tip: if you don't want each invitee to see exactly who you sent the invitations too or everyone's email addresses, put all the emails under BCC. That means all the email addresses will be hidden and if someone were to Reply All, it won't go to all 131 guests!
Cost Comparison - Saves $328
This option will save you $328 because using Canva and your email doesn’t cost a SINGLE CENT. This is an absolutely free way to send wedding invitations. Your wedding website and wedding registry can also be linked directly in the email (and be free to create!).
There are some specific templates and creatives on Canva that only come with the Pro version. The Pro version costs $128 for a year subscription so even if you upgrade to the Pro version, you still save $200 compared to the typical cost of paper invitations! I pay for the Pro version already to make website graphics so our wedding invitation used a few of the Pro features.
Greenvelope markets itself as the sustainable option for those wanting to send invites online. Their entire business is built around the idea of avoiding paper invitations and sending beautiful cards via email instead!
In March of 2017 they began partnering with the National Forest Foundation to further their environmental actions. They've also partnered with the National Park Foundation and the Mountain to Sound Greenway. In the 10 years that Greenvelope has been in business, they have planted 26,000 trees!
They are also part of 1% for the Planet which means they give back to organizations making environmental change.
The benefit to a platform like Greenvelope over simply emailing them yourself is that they streamline sending all the invites and keep track of who has responded. For those that aren't as tech savvy and don't feel comfortable sending out an important invite just as an attachment to a regular email, this platform offers another option.
If you pick an online platform to send your wedding invitations, Greenvelope is truly the most sustainable wedding invitation platform to choose.
Cost Comparison - Saves $170
Greenvelope offers a variety of plans depending on how many invitations you'd like to send out. For their plan that includes up to 150 invitations, it'll run you $158. Compared to the $328 traditional invitations, Greenvelope will save you $170!
With Joy is a unique option because it is 100% free and contains all the features one might want for the entire wedding process. You can create wedding invitations from their templates, send them to guests, connect the invitation to a website you design and more! You even have the option of designing your own registry with them and sending follow-up "thank you" cards to people who gift you something.
The site almost seems too good to be true! I did some digging though and made my own account and it seems like they hold good on their promise. No hidden fees or costs. Looking back at my wedding planning, I would have chosen this platform to make my website on rather than The Knot given it has way less advertisements and seems more user friendly.
With Joy doesn't do anything in particular to promote sustainability in their business or support outside environmental groups.
Cost Comparison - Saves $328!
Because everything on With Joy is free, you'll save $328!
Paperless Post has wedding invitation templates (as well as many other events!) that can be customized to your wedding theme and tastes. Invitations are delivered electronically to recipients email addresses where they can "open" the card. It will have a virtual envelope that opens and pulls out the card for them to read.
You can easily add a link to a wedding registry from any site to the invitation and add the option to RSVP. Paperless Post then keeps track of your responses from your account page.
Paperless Post doesn't do anything in particular to promote sustainability in their business or support outside environmental groups.
Cost Comparison - Saves $228
Paperless post sells "coins" that are used to purchase the card that you create. Assuming you create a relatively standard invitation with a virtual envelope, envelope liner, custom background, standard elements, it will probably cost you are 6 coins per recipient. For 131 recipients that's 756 coins. Paperless Post sells 1000 coins for $100, which will give you a little room to spare if you want to add another premium element to the design.