Monday, 14 October 2013

Green Weddings 1: Saving The Date

Finally, here is the first of my green wedding blogs and I thought it would make sense to start with the first thing your guest will see from your wedding, the save the date or invite. So that's what this blog is all about; how to tell people about your special day without completely destroying the planet.

Now if you're anything like me as soon as you got engaged you will have started telling people. And when you picked a definite date you'll probably have told the most important people (parents, best man, bridesmaids etc) at once, but telling people the date, time and venue formally is important too. Partly because telling someone when your wedding is and actually inviting them are very different but also because sending out save the dates or invites gives people the details written down, so they have them to check nearer the time.

If you wanted to have the greenest of green wedding, the best way to invite people is probably by phone or email. A nice way to do this is by sending out your own save the date and invite ecards. There are many sites that help you to do this and can set up an RSVP system to help you collect all the responses back again.

But there are a few problems with this. Some people still don't have email, and many people don't feel an ecard is as formal as a posted card or letter. Personally, I just don't find it as fun as sending out cards. Realistically, as long as you're not inviting thousands of people, the amount of paper that goes into save the dates and invites is going to be minimal compared to everything else you're buying or using on the day. Some people prefer to cut down on paper use by just sending invites. This can work well, especially if you've told most people the date in person, by phone or email in advance anyway. If you choose to send out both save the dates and invites then looking at the size of your paper can be a good idea.

For a save the date you're probably going to need your names, the date and maybe the location, that's all. So it doesn't need to be a huge piece of paper. I've received some really gorgeous save the dates that were smaller than a book of stamps. They're cute, small enough to pop into a diary or pin to a calendar so you don't lose it and don't use lots of unnecessary paper or card.  The policy of only using the materials that you really need to is a good one for all stationary materials. Less is going to be greener, cheaper and probably look better most of the time. Don't cover your invites with metres and metres of ribbon, use a bit and keep it simple. You'll look at them for hours while making them, the people you send them too will at most look at them for minutes.

As well as how much paper you use, it's worth considering what type of paper you use. I wouldn't buy non-FSC standard paper for toilet roll, kitchen paper, printer paper or a notebook so why should paper for my invites be any different? The tricky thing here is that it's likely to cost more and cutting down on the price of paper might mean a couple more bottles of wine at your meal. There are some very pretty recycled papers available now. Just check out The Natural Wedding Company for some ideas. It's easily become one of my favourite sites since getting engaged.

One final way to reduce your invites carbon footprint is to think about the postage. If you're sending card to close friends and family who already know the date, can delivery wait until you seem them next? Hand delivering a card gives a personal touch and saves the cost and carbon of posting the cards. Also, for RSVPs why not ask for email or phone replies rather than postal ones. It saves you (or your guests) the cost of another letter and if done by email lets you put replies straight into any wedding spreadsheets you may have.

So, those are my thoughts of greening your save the dates and invites. But none of that is very inspirational. It can get very depressing thinking of all the little choices between FSC paper or recycled paper, ecards or posted invites; all on top of the regular wedding stresses. So before I finish, here are a few of my favourite green save the date and invites that I've found online. Let them inspire you to a greener wedding!

Save the date with flowers! Send out save the dates and invites printed on paper that contains flower seeds. Guests can plant the paper after use and be reminded of your wedding as the flowers grow.

Give the personal touch with a DIY card! Who needs posh paper and complicated designs. This gorgeous invite gives a real feel for what they rest of the wedding will be like. It's simple, green and beautifully homemade. IT shouldn't cost the earth or take up tons of time to make either.

From blog on

Go local to your venue!  Why not buy British. There are lots of eco-friendly wedding invite companies right here in the UK. Look up the one nearest your venue, the happy couple or the majority of your guests and pick that one. You'll be safe in the knowledge that the invites haven't had to travel hundreds of miles just to get to you. The picture below comes from the website of Rachel Thompson who is based in Cambridge.

Festival themed invites from

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