Your invitation is the opening act of your wedding. It is a preview of what is to come, a sneak peek into what your guests can expect. The invitation can set the theme and tone for your whole wedding. So how can you let guests know that you are having a green wedding?
According to Emily Anderson (www.ecochicweddings.com), more than 500,000 trees are destroyed each year for invitations, menus, table cards, and other paper items for weddings in the United States. To help lower this statistic, you can search for paper-free or recycled products.
One option is to print your invitations on pretty recycled paper. Many printers now offer recycled paper and card stock. Some green printers only use eco-friendly papers and inks. Of the Earth (www.custompaper.com) is one the best green paper/printing companies out there, with the biggest online selection. Some of its handcrafted paper is very pretty and embedded with flowers, which gives it a unique look and feel that your guests may not want to throw away.
Trees are the earth's principle means of processing carbon dioxide. The loss of trees and forests reduces our means of processing all the carbon dioxide that is released into the air. Global warming foes promote the planting of trees to offset the negative effects of carbon dioxide emissions.
Of the Earth offers recycled, handmade, tree-free, and plantable seed paper, invitations, ribbons, and paper accessories. You can custom design your invitation or choose from its overstock. You can pick the materials you want your invitations made from (flowers, seeds, etc.), and you have the option to purchase the invitations preassembled. For a discount, you can get all the materials you need and assemble the invitations yourself.
Twisted Limb Paperworks (www.twistedlimbpaper.com) has more than twenty wedding invitation designs that it offers on handcrafted and 100 percent recycled paper. It also sells thank-you notes, place cards, favors, guest books, menus, programs, and more. Green Field Paper Company (www.greenfieldpaper.com) offers tree-free and recycled paper options, and Acorn Designs (www.acorndesigns.org) has some wedding invitations printed with eco-friendly paper and ink. Earthly Affair (www.earthlyaffair.com) offers invitations printed on 100 percent postconsumer waste recycled paper and cotton paper. Your local printer may also offer green printing choices.
Invitesite (www.invitesite.com) offers many beautiful green, eco-friendly wedding invitations made from tree-free and 100 percent recycled fibers. It also sells do-it-yourself kits so you can design and print your invitations at home.
You can also make your own invitations on recycled paper or card stock with earth-sensitive inks made from vegetable oil, linseed oil, hemp seed oil, or soy bases. You can purchase kits you can use at home with your computer and printer. You could even try your hand at calligraphy and address your eco-invites with an old-fashioned flair using a quill or fountain pen (avoid disposable pens; they are just one more product that ends up in landfills in large quantities).
More than 300 million inkjet cartridges end up in landfills every year. When yours is empty, refill or recycle it. The Recycle for Breast Cancer program (www.recycleforbreastcancer.com) will send you prepaid envelopes, labels, or boxes so you can send in your empty ink cartridges. The organization also collects other electronic items, and all profits go to support the fight against breast cancer.
Recycled paper production saves trees, energy, and water. Recycling produces less pollution than processing virgin pulp. It also saves space by reducing the amount of paper that ends up in landfills.
By using recycled, handmade, and recyclable paper, you are saving trees from being cut down. Hopefully, by making your invitation unique and pretty, you may inspire your guests to hold on to your invitations instead of disposing of them in the trash. If you are still worried about the possibility that your guests may throw your invitations away, you can include a note that says “please recycle” with or on the invitation.