01 April 2009

My hands are tied

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of women tend to have some driving ideal behind the details - be it money (the lack or abundance thereof), crafting, traditions, etc.

While there are definitely several factors I keep in mind in planning our wedding, the one I think of the most often has been the environmental impact.

Obviously "being green" is becoming more and more a popular aspect of wedding planning (frogs are such trend-setters, eh Kermie?). It seems to me, however, that one's wedding gets the Green Stamp of Approval if you do anything that's considered environmental - get local flowers, carpool, throw money at carbon offsets, etc. And with that Green Stamp of Approval we can all rest easy that our wedding didn't have too negative an impact on the environment.

The fact of the matter is that no matter what, your wedding will negatively impact the environment. You can't get around it. Maybe a little less than others, but it will have an impact.

You might be thinking now, "well, hey! but you live in South America! And your wedding's going to be in Oregon! Isn't that a little hypocritical?"

Well - I guess. I don't know. We figured it would be the lesser of two evils if the two of us flew to Oregon as opposed to all our families flying down to Chile (plus Oregon's rad).

One of the things I absolutely wanted to include in our wedding was biodegradable seed-paper for our invitations. The thought of all those beautiful letter-pressed wedding invitations in the world being jettisoned into the trash can makes me really depressed. The artists, whose work is going to the dump! The trees, whose fleeting life turned into beautiful, beautiful letter pressed cardstock, only to be tossed with the junk mail!

Don't get me wrong - I really really like the paper arts. I just figure why not have your cake and eat it, too? Have your letter pressed invites! I'd just prefer if mine could turn into wildflowers at the dump.

So this is great and all (yay environment, right?), but there's another little issue about being an expat: customs.

The government of Chile is incredibly strict about not letting biological objects (including seeds) into the country. I'm serious - when we moved here, they sifted through our spice rack and threw out our mustard seeds.

If, by some miracle, I could get seed-paper (or at least recycled paper) here, how could I be sure that my seed-infested invites would make it through US customs? I can't.

I've wanted so badly to just make the invitations myself. If I were living in Oregon right now, I'd buy the flippin seed-paper, print everything out on my computer at home, and hand-press wildflowers onto each invitation with books. Simple, cost-effective, and enviro-friendly.

But not realistic - at least not from Chile.

So Mr. Cubbie and I decided to think outside the box. We looked into having local artists design our invitations. After all, we'd be supporting the developing economy (and our neighbors!) and get personalized invitations, to boot!

I went to look at the sample invitation this week, and it is pretty...

pretty, pretty poppies

...but they can't find any papel artesenal (seed-paper/handmade paper). Nowhere! And they are the artists in town!

Suffice it to say, I'm pretty bummed. I feel like my hands are tied! I'd love to think that our guests, upon receiving these hand-made invitations, will treasure them forever, but I know that's just not going to happen. I know they're going to go in the trash (after a few months of honor on the fridge, perhaps), and then they'll die at the dump. I'm seriously considering just having someone in the states make our invitations - then at least it could be on biodegradable paper.

Do you think I should bite the bullet and have my invitations made in the states? If the environment has been a factor in your planning process, what steps have you taken to lessen the impact of your wedding?


  1. i think there is soo much paper involved in weddings - STDs, invites, escort cards, place cards, menus, signs, etc - and i'd like to eliminate as much as possible for the environment's sake. could your chile artists print the invites on recycled paper? that might solve your dilemna.

  2. They might be able to find recycled paper (I've asked), but I just found out that having invites made here (by the artists) would cost the same, if not way more, to have them done in the states.

  3. You could try making your own seed paper, but that's uberDIY. I've seen instructions online for it if you Google it. I wanted to do this, but since we're sending postcard invites, I'm worried about them falling apart in the mail.

  4. You could definitely make your own paper and press seeds into it. The only problem is that it is hard to print onto. You would generally have to print onto some vellum to attach to the handmade paper. The good news is that you could make your paper out of stuff that you recycle yourself, like old newspapers and other stuff you got lying around. The bad news is that it takes FOREVER to make the paper and it's messy.
    If you want I can help you design printable wedding invitations that you can print onto recycled paper. Look online for places that sell it. It's a good DIY option that will not cost so much as having handmade cards done but is not too difficult to take on yourself.

  5. Thanks for all of your advice - I really appreciate the thought!
    Unfortunately, even if I were to make my own seed paper, I really don't think it would get through customs. And chilean flowers (albeit normal lavender) pressed onto the cards probably wouldn't fly, either :(