The Story behind Invite Site

Invite Site offers DIY packages and printed invitations, cards, programs and thank you's made from recycled paper and tree-free paper.  I recently asked Helen Driscoll of Invitesite to share some background on the paper and printing company.    Here's what she had to say:

Why did you decide to offer eco-friendly invitations?

We opened Fine Paper Company in 1995 -- a large handmade and fine paper store, in Old Town Pasadena. We stocked 2000 different treefree papers. We also stocked some really groovy 100% post consumer recycled papers -- but most of those companies went out of business by 1999.  I opened the store, because we wanted to introduce alternative fiber papers to the market. We were the first intense, specifically eco paper store in LA area. We were among the first letterpress printers and the first DIY go-to-place.
Fine Paper Company was fixtured entirely with vintage fixtures. I did not buy one new thing. We even repurposed the bars that were on the storefront windows into a paper rack. It was beautiful -- looked like a French paper shop. We had 3,000 sq feet in an 1900 building.
I got into non wood papers because I sold rare and antiquarian books to Hollywood elite  -- and I wanted books and paper to be beautiful like it was up until 1880's - when paper started to be made out of trees. (Plus -- Hollywood gets old...)
I got into letterpress printing in 1996.  Met Scott, my partner, in 1997. He is a graphic designer and really really good letterpress printer. Also, an avid environmentalist. Soon, we were "together".  We spent many years letterpress printing at night, and creating diy designs in the shop, in the day. So we burned out.  We had to choose between making stuff and running a store. We decided to move everything to the web, and close the store, and open a factory. Hence, Invitesite.com We launched Invitesite when eco was not trendy. We focused on beauty and used all eco materials. For years, about half our customers bought our stuff because they liked the designs (and were not greenies) -- and half because they wanted to do a green wedding.

Poetica: vintage inspired invitation

How is your business Green/Sustainable?

Our green business policies:

Fair trade:

Seedling: a plantable invitation with cosmo or marigold seeds

How are you green in your own life?

I have been shopping at farmers markets for 19 years now. Organic and mostly raw for most of my adult life. Vintage, most of my adult life.

Scott, my partner, helped his uncle build one of the largest recycled buildings on the west coast. It's a castle in Glendora, CA, built out of found stuff and river rock:
He built his first letterpress shop there.
Quiet Night: Eco Holiday Card
Thanks Helen for the interesting background on your printing company.  I also appreciate all the steps your business takes to be a green and socially responsible business.
In Green and Health,
G&G

Eco-Conscious Wedding in Baja Part 2

Details of a Green Wedding

The small pieces of an event or wedding are always the most tedious and possibly some of the most important.  Flower colors, number of birthday candles, seating charts, the 1st song, etc. etc.  And when it comes to a green event, making some of these details green and sustainable can get overwhelming.  Yet, people have been celebrating green for centuries, and really it just means we have to go back to our roots to find our sustainable ways.   At Gorgeous and Green Events we believe green design and event planning start with what's available in your area and what can be made and planned for without a lot of out of town materials or out of town vendors.  It's rather simple to do, but we've made it more difficult for ourselves in the US because we use cars, trucks and airplanes to transfer people and objects all around the world with the swipe of a credit card.  Not to mention all the chemicals we use to make things grow and appear in new ways and at different times of the year. With our wedding in Baja, my fiance and I decided to make even the small details green.  My mother and I contacted local flower growers in Baja (about 5 miles away from the wedding site) and ordered flowers that could be used in bouquets and arrangements for the wedding.  We picked those up the day before the wedding, so the florist, who also came down to Baja to work, could include those flowers in the arrangements.  

Bouquet by Heavenly Florist, San Diego

Heavenly Florist San Diego We chose to print our own maps and invitations at home.  I illustrated the map using information about mileage and freeways for guests I could find on the internet.  Since I had driven down Baja many times, it was helpful for me to add some additional driving pointers.  We just scanned and printed them at home.  Very cost-effective.   The Invitation papers we bought from www.invitesite.com . A great place to get invitations sets for printing at home, and they offer sustainable designs that include tree free paper, recycled paper and raffia.  

Invite Site's Hampton's

invite-site-pic If you have a chance, however, you can find recycled paper and envelopes in different colors from art stores and paper stores in your area, and print out your own invites at home.  You might even find a local printer who can do them for you sustainably, and cut out the extra travel carbons.

Here are some sustainable invitation vendors or companies that provide eco-friendly options:

www.invitessite.com

www.twistedlimbpaper.com

www.custompaper.com

www.formal-invitations.com

www.earthinvitations.com

www.greenfieldpaper.com

www.festivale.net

www.sweetinvitations.com

www.tasharaedesigns.com

www.theinvitationdepot.com

I chose to decorate our cocktail napkins and table cards using some rubber stamps that I had bought at a local art supply store.  Rather than send out for printed napkins with our names or logo on it, I felt the stamps gave a festive and personal touch.  The place cards were printed on recycled cardstock and they were attached to small shells that sat in sand at the entrance to the reception.

Table Cards

PZ's Table cards

I made the ceremony programs by sewing sheets of printed vellum and recycled cardstock together and then adding a cutout from a piece of design paper I bought at the art store.  They were very special and were made at home!  Less travel carbons and a bit cheaper than having them done elsewhere. We had a lot of space to decorate, and really no amount of flowers would have added to the magnificent decor of the beach and beautiful blue sea.  So we opted to stay light on the table flowers and added some decor in the sky such as some paper flowers I made from tissue paper and tree-free paper that were strung up at the reception entrance.  Not only were they compact and pesticide free, we could recycle them when we were done.  

Sky paper flowers

paper flowers

We also needed more light on the patio where the reception was being held so we needed to buy or rent lighting.  I made some lanterns out of jelly jars and wire and hung those around and we opted for turquoise paper lighted lanterns around the space that looked magnificent by day and glowing at night.  Not only beautiful, but these lights were made of paper and old jars, recyclable or reusable materials for another event.  

Paper Lanterns

PZ's Sky

Lanterns at Night

at nightphotos by Erin Beach Photography, SF

  For wearable details besides my dress, I opted to go vintage.  I began looking for the perfect necklace months before, and found it close to home at a local jewelry shop that specialized in antique Native American jewelry.  I found a wonderful necklace of full turquoise, which not only is a favorite stone but also was one of our wedding colors.  I also found at a local vintage store a beautiful vintage hair comb with blue crystals.  It went perfectly with my dress and overall look, which had a special Spanish/Mexican Colonial feel.  

 

accessories

Vintage Hair Comb and Necklace

details There were many more details that I could go on and on about, but the take home message is really about simplifying and keeping things local and free of toxins.  If you can buy it near you, if it was made or grown near you, if it was grown and made without added chemicals and toxins, and if it was already used by someone else, you've made quite an attempt at keeping your event and your life green. All the beautiful event photographs were taken by Erin Beach at www.erinbeach.com