How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 4 – Reducing the Paper Trail

By Ebony Porter, June 27, 2016, Green

As a Bride-to-Be myself, I want a beautiful, well-thought-out wedding. But as I started planning my wedding, the cost and disposable nature of most wedding supplies really dampened my excitement. As a lover of all things green, I sought out ways I could incorporate recycling, reusing, and resourcefulness to plan the best day of my life. With the Eco-Friendly Wedding series from Bounce Energy, we’ll show you how you can cut costs with your wedding planning, while making it sustainable, earth-friendly, and absolutely gorgeous. 

How Can I Use Less Paper at My Wedding?

In previous installments of the Bounce Energy’s Eco-Friendly Wedding series, we showed you ways to decorate your reception hall with an environmentally conscious edge, helped you go budget-friendly and green with your flowers and foliage, and presented ideas on how you can make your own wedding favors with the environment in mind.

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 4 - Reducing the Paper Trail

But have you notified friends and family of your special date yet? If you haven’t sent out the invitations, how will people know to attend your eco-friendly wedding? Or does the exorbitant use of paper items make your green living brain break out into hives?

Lucky for you, we have plenty of tips to share on how to save money and the planet while inviting people to the biggest day of your life!

“Save the Date” Cards

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 4 - Reducing the Paper Trail

Busy social schedules have prompted wedding planners to send out “Save the Date” cards for time immemorial. But these days, it’s not uncommon for folks to send out hordes of magnets and assorted little trinkets with a photograph of the two lovebirds affixed with the wedding date even BEFORE the actual invitation is mailed.

While this little gesture is super-cute and all, it is costly! And in truth, it’s also a bit wasteful. Postcards or cards with envelopes cost money and time to put together, and most of them will end up in the recycling bin. So, if you want to announce your date before you finalize the details of the event, how to do this without using paper or added waste?

Go old school! Call each person on your guest list, deliver a cheery hello, and tell them yourself in person. We are so busy these days we rarely catch up on the phone as it is, and texts and social media have taken the place of an old-fashioned phone call (which itself is only 150-year-old technology). By notifying your friends and family by phone, you’ll hear their reaction in person, too!

If calling isn’t your thing, then consider a tasteful e-mail. Many online invitation sites offer the option of a “Save the Date” electronic card instead of the paper note. There’s much less waste this way, and you can see people’s reply immediately.


How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 4 - Reducing the Paper Trail

I’m old-fashioned, and I really want to send an actual invitation. But how to do it eco-consciously and economically?

Use 100% recycled paper! The less virgin paper your wedding invites require, the better. There are also companies using garlic skins or paper made with coffee chaff. These give the paper an added texture and rustic beauty. Also look for paper that uses no chemicals, dyes or additives.

Or opt for plantable wedding invites! That’s right. The seed paper for these invitations is made embedded with wildflowers. Instructions on the back will tell your guest how to plant them after the wedding. Just imagine, a bed of sweet alyssum can grow from your invitation!

When it comes to printing, look for inks that are soy or plant-based. Chances are that if companies are using these sorts of ink, they are recycling their cartridges, too.

Invitational Inserts

Try to keep the information you want to share with your guests to an absolute minimum. Rather than including added sheets of printed paper with directions, requests, and more, consider creating a website for guests to visit, rather than another piece of paper they will toss out. This way, they can visit it anytime they like, and as your wedding day draws near, you can add important details.

Menus and Programs

How Can I Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding? Part 4 - Reducing the Paper Trail

Many brides and grooms want their guests to have a program to follow along with during the ceremony. I encourage you to opt out of this. Not only does it save paper and money, but it also allows your guests to be fully in the moment rather than trying to keep up with who is who and what passage is being read. Without the program, there’s no distraction.

Menus are a paper waste, too. There is something to be said for an element of surprise. Rather than printing up a paper menu for each table setting, consider getting a large piece of reclaimed wood, or if your wedding is rustic and outdoors, an old wooden palette. Paint the menu onto either your piece of wood or palette, and set out somewhere where folks will see it. You can do the same thing for the program if you wish to let guests know who is reading what.

We all know that paper is made from trees. Keep your wedding paper waste to a bare minimum, let technology work for you, and keep your communication simple and streamlined. It will remain elegant, smart, and importantly, green.

Do you have any tips for throwing an eco-friendly wedding in terms of the invitations and other paper items? Share with us in the comments!

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