Digital wedding invitations have a bad rap. They’ve previously been frowned upon for being impersonal or less special. But times have changed. Over the past five years, printed greeting card sales in the U.S. have dropped by nearly 13%, and digital invitations are becoming the perfect eco-friendly alternative.
The wedding industry is incredibly wasteful, as is our obsession with greeting cards. But these shifts in the industry are helping. While paper invites are still the nuptial norm, digital wedding invitations are becoming less taboo. More people are also hosting microweddings, choosing used wedding dresses, and incorporating more planet-friendly plant-based ingredients into their menus.
Here’s your go-to guide to understanding the eco-benefits of digital wedding invitations. Plus, a few options to check out when planning your big day.
The Problem with Paper Invitations
Physical wedding invitations are traditional, but sending a card in the mail is associated with significant carbon emissions. According to research from the U.K.’s Exeter University, mailing a single greeting card emits about 140 grams of carbon dioxide and equivalent gases. This includes shipping emissions and paper production emissions.
Now think about your wedding invite list. In 2019, The Knot found that the average wedding hosted about 131 guests. That means over 130 invitations are sent in the mail. If we use Exeter University’s findings to calculate the emissions associated with mailing invites to a guest list of 130, we’re looking at roughly 18,200 grams or 40 pounds of CO2.
Now for the waste. Many greeting cards—wedding invitations, included—are hard to recycle due to the mix of materials. Anything with decorative additions (like glitter, foil, ribbon, gloss lamination—you name it) can’t go in your recycling bin; they contaminate the recycling stream and get in the way of the recycling process. These materials make these cards destined for the landfill, which creates even more greenhouse gas emissions that can be challenging to offset.
Aside from being hard to recycle and often winding up in landfills, the paper itself is also an issue. Invitations are mostly made of paper, and to make paper, we need trees. When we cut down trees, we’re cutting down natural air purifiers and natural habitats, which harms ecosystems and biodiversity.
However, your wedding’s carbon footprint can decrease, and sending digital invitations is a great place to start.
Why Digital Wedding Invites Are Worth It
With digital wedding invitations, you don’t have to worry about waste. Because your card is completely virtual, you aren’t using paper; therefore, you’re not using up natural resources. Plus, you eliminate shipping costs and emissions.
But using e-invitations isn’t just a win for the environment. It’s also budget-friendly. According to Brides, couples should set aside about 6% of the wedding budget for standard invitations. Invitations and stationery can cost approximately $590. But depending on the printing style and paper you choose, you could be spending thousands on your invites alone.
Virtual invitations, however, don’t require the fancy detailing or printing that physical ones do. So the cost of your invite will be significantly lower. That way, you can save money and put it toward the reception! Plus, with your RSVP list completely virtual, it’s easier to keep track of the guest list. Your guests simply have to click yes or no—no need to mail back the answer.
If you’re interested in sending digital invitations for your eco-friendly wedding, check out these options.
Where to Find Digital Wedding Invitations
Minted is known for its paper invitations, but the company also offers digital wedding invitations. Plus, you can create a free wedding website to include your wedding registry, wedding party, and post pictures. Another great thing about Minted is the card designs you choose from are all made by independent artists.
With Paperless Post, planning your wedding is super easy. Not only can you pick your favorite invitation template, but you can also include links to gift registries, your wedding webpage, and other guest accommodations.
Plus, Paperless Post doesn’t just have templates for the big day; it has invitations for bridal showers, save-the-dates, and change-the-dates.
If you love picking your invitation’s design, envelope, and stamps, Evite is the place for you. Evite sends your guest list an animated envelope and digital stamps, so it feels like you’re still mailing invitations! And if you’re not a fan of the templates, you can customize your own.
Another place to find digital wedding invitations is Greenvelope. You can upload a custom design or create one using its exclusive designer suite. And once digitally delivered, Greenvelope tracks RSVPs for you.
To stay in-the-know about your RSVP list or deadlines, you can also opt for email updates and reminders—all while saving a tree!
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