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Ok, you’ve set your date, secured the venue, and just about finished the guest list. It’s time to design the wedding paper! Invitations, RSVP cards, programs, menus, table cards – it’s all so exciting. And come hell or high water, everything will be beautifully designed… and as sustainable as possible.

Well, almost as sustainable as possible. The truth is, you could probably do it all without printing a thing, which would be the most eco wedding choice overall. I mean, even your great Aunt Ruth can find her way to the party with a little help from Siri. And for everything else, you could probably create an app for less than all the printables will cost.

But wedding e-vites and SMS responses? I don’t know. There’s just something about the beautiful stationery that adds to the whole experience. Plus, it’s your big day and you only plan on doing it once, so it should be exactly the way you want it, right?

Thankfully, you’re not short on gorgeous eco-friendly options. Let’s talk about the more sustainable features for paper wedding invites, as well as some appealing tree-free alternatives. You’ll also want to know about a few not-so-eco features that can accidentally cancel out your good intentions.

Also read: What’s An Eco-Chic Wedding Dress And How Do I Get One?

In this article

Sustainable wedding paper options

These days, it’s pretty common to find wedding invitations made from recycled paper, because it’s one of the easiest and most widely available features a printer can offer. Instead of cutting down trees, their paper supplier will transform post-consumer waste into high-quality wedding stationery.

Another option is to choose stationery that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC certification ensures the trees have been harvested from a responsibly managed forest.

To make either of these paper options more eco, some wedding printers offer an all-in-one layout that minimizes the use of paper. So instead of individual inserts (directions, venue info, hotels), it’s all wrapped into a single, creatively designed card with tear-off RSVPs. And with a clever fold, this elegant solution can often transform into the response envelope, which eliminates the need for a separate envelope. Neat, right?

Tree-free wedding alternatives

I love the idea of tree-free wedding invites. They’re a bit more difficult to find and can be a little pricier, but they are wonderfully unique and absolutely gorgeous. I’ve seen some made from sustainable bamboo, hemp, or sugar cane, which are all biodegradable. But my favorite has to be plantable invites that are embedded with wildflower seeds or garden herb seeds.

Instead of discarding the invite, guests can plant it, water it and watch it grow.

Plantable Seed Wedding Invites by ForeverFiances

Non-toxic inks and printing options

The first step toward eco-wedding invites is to choose a sustainably-produced paper or a tree-free alternative. Step two is making sure your sustainable materials don’t become unsustainable along the way.

Paper is often bleached with not-eco-friendly chlorine to make it bright white. Printers also finish the paper with a variety of chemicals to give it a more luxurious look and feel.

To ensure your stationery has not been bleached, look for paper marketed as Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF). And consider skipping the UV coating, varnish, and laminate that can contaminate the recycling stream with toxic chemicals. Instead, opt for uncoated wedding stationery or ask for a water-based “aqueous” coating.

Similarly, skip the metallic and petroleum-based inks that can be harmful to the environment. Instead, ask for soy or other plant-based inks that are chemical-free and easily recycled.

Helpful wedding checklists

Getting organized early is important for all weddings, but it may be even more important for eco weddings. You may need a little extra time to find the right alternatives and, in some cases, the production times could be longer than with standard materials. If you stay organized, you can spend less time worrying about shipping schedules and more time celebrating with the ones you love.

The below checklists have absolutely nothing to do with throwing an eco-friendly wedding.😉 But… they sure are helpful! It’s easy to lose track of all the details, so these checklists can come in handy. Alternatively, make use of a wedding website or app that can track important guest information for you.

InvitationsEvent dateSent date# of invites neededRSVP yesRSVP noDone? (✓)
Engagement party
Bridal shower
Rehearsal dinner
Bachelor party
Bachelorette party
The wedding!
Guest Info/InsertsDone? (✓)
RSVP cards
Reception information
Map & directions
Registry information
For out-of-town guests:
   Hotel accommodations
   Sightseeing ideas
   Welcome package
Wedding day materialsDone? (✓)
Wedding ceremony:
   Welcome signs
   Ceremony programs
Wedding reception:
   Welcome signs
   Place cards
   Table cards
After the celebrationDone? (✓)
Thank you cards
Wedding announcement

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