Sending unique, functional and eco-friendly invitations can be surprisingly simple. Look for recycled, handmade or plant-based paper and vegetable- or soy-based ink. Postcards or single sheet (folded and sent) invitations are easy ways to eliminate envelope waste.
For a local invitation source, check out the Papery (57 N. Third St., 215-922-1500) in Old City or Paper on Pine (115 S. 13th St., 215-625-0100). The Papery does in-house printing and stocks both Crane (crane.com) and Smock (smockpaper.com) brands, both of which offer sustainable options. Crane uses 100 percent cotton paper, and Smock is an all-around eco-friendly vendor and printer—as well as the first and only to sell bamboo paper. Paper on Pine also prints in-house, and offers Crane as well as Waste Not Paper (wastenotpaper.com), made from recycled card stock.
You can eliminate paper entirely by using Evite.com, a free invite service with wedding-themed templates; myinvitationlink.com allows couples to upload photos and music to create a personalized invitation slideshow for a moderate price.
If a web-based invite feels a bit cold for you, check out Philadelphia-based Bird and Banner (birdandbanner.com) for a genuinely custom approach. Founders Nicole and Erin are graphic designers whose invites stay true to the personality and style of their clients, often becoming keepsakes for guests as well as the affianced. They use only 100 percent cotton paper and corn- and soy-based inks. Many of their projects involve recycled or found materials, like flea market handkerchiefs or compostable wood cards.