Planning a Green Frugal Wedding – Invitations

Wedding Invitation | Source: William Arthur Fine Stationary on FlickrI’m getting married this summer. Yay me!! When I started this blog, one of the things I knew I wanted to write about was how to have a wedding that is both green and frugal. Because it is possible! Much like anything else in life, you do not have to spend a fortune to be environmentally responsible. And if you choose to have an eco-friendly wedding, you can make a statement to your guests – whether that’s intentional or not is up to you.

In many cases, being either frugal or environmentally responsible when it comes to weddings requires you to challenge the status quo or the established wedding traditions. In some cases, it will require you to challenge your friends and family into breaking out of their comfort zone. This can quickly become a tenuous issue and something that will require navigating over the course of the planning. You may have to make concessions on some things in order to make other things work. Some compromises will have to be made. At the end of the day, try to remember that its your wedding and it should represent you. The most meaningful wedding is one that reflects the personality of the couple getting married. That said, remember to be reasonable (i.e. don’t push people beyond their means).

I’m not going to cover everything in one post, because there is just too much to talk about and we haven’t done everything yet as the wedding is still a few months off. But let’s kick things off with one of the first things we did to save money and minimize our impact on the environment within the wedding – invitations!

Invitations

I personally don’t really like greeting cards. They can be wonderful when the sender takes the time to put in a personal or heartfelt message, but too often we buy a card, sign it and send it off. What a waste of paper and resources! Pick up the phone – your ‘Hello, how are you?’ would be more meaningful than that card. So naturally, I felt no inclination to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy paper invitations to be sent across the country.

I don’t know anyone in this day in age who doesn’t have an email address that they check regularly. If you know how to use Microsoft Word (or any equivalent program), you can make a very nice looking invitation in about half an hour. In another half an hour, you can email that file to everyone on your invite list. If you have slightly more advanced computing skills, you can do even more. Personally, we used Photoshop to create a background resembling a scrapbook page of fun photos of ourselves and then wrote the invitation over top of this page. We sent this out to everyone by email and asked for an RSVP by email. We then have a spreadsheet set up on Google Docs that we can access from anywhere and keep updated with the responses.

If you don’t want to do this yourself, there are all kinds of services that will do it for you for free. If all of your friends and family are on Facebook, why not create a private Facebook event and invite everyone that way. Or, you could use a service like¬†Evite, which I have used in the past and can highly recommend.¬† Evite allows you to create an invitation, send it to everyone on a mailing list you provide, and then records the RSVPs so you can keep track of who’s coming and who isn’t. You don’t have to worry about losing invitations in the mail and its completely free to use!

Wedding Webpage

Since we also wanted to give people a bunch of information about the rest of the wedding, I used basic webpage design skills to create a simple, one-page website based on the same template as the invitation that lists all the details of the wedding, including directions to the venue, accommodation options, and food and gift details. Since I have my own hosting space, I was able to put the webpage up for guests to see and I was able to password protect it so unwanted guests won’t be able to find it. If you don’t have web space already, there are all kinds of free hosts out there who will host small websites for free.

Don’t know how to make a website? Don’t worry! You could simply provide all that information in your email when you send out the invitation. Or you could put it on your Evite if you go that route. Finally, there are all kinds of websites that allow you to create and host wedding websites for free – eWedding or MyWedding are two such examples (note I have not tried these websites myself and thus these are not endorsements). A simple Google search will bring up tons of options.

Save the Trees and Your Money

Some people will choose to send out paper invitations anyway, because its a standard wedding tradition. But in this day in age, why not take advantage of the fact that everyone is connected. The response from our invitations has been really great. We’ve gotten lots of supportive comments from family and friends that loved our personalized invitations and how accessible all the information was to them. Its time to break tradition, not the trees or the bank.

Readers, how do you feel about this? Would you rather get a wedding invitation in the mail or by email?

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11 thoughts on “Planning a Green Frugal Wedding – Invitations

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  2. I’ve received two wedding invitations through email and I think it’s fine. The invitations were nice e-invitations – having to click a link to take us to a personalized websites where we can RSVP and such. The only sticking point is that you have to make the invitees feel like they are being singled out. I have gotten Facebook-invited to a wedding or two in the past and I didn’t take it seriously because it’s so easy to add people to an event. We sent out paper invitations (and STDs) and didn’t really consider doing online invitations – my parents wouldn’t have allowed it even if we had suggested it as the invitations were really important to them (making them “nice enough”). I’m sure the acceptance of e-invitations will continue to increase.

    • I think the whole webpage option has really caught on in the last year or two. The first one I ever saw was last year, but it is a great way to give out tons of info to everyone at once. And if anything changes, you don’t have to notify everyone individually, you can just update the website.

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  5. Two months ago I received a pre-invitation saying the couple would be getting married in August. In the pre-invitation it said a formal invitation would follow. What an absolute waste of money.

    • I’ve heard about pre-invitations and completely agree with you. Did they at least include the exact wedding date? Usually people send these out so that their guests will not book any vacations or plans for the wedding date, but at the same time, this is a perfect case where a simple email would suffice.

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