Cards & Invitations: Paper or Paperless?

I didn't have a baby shower and the invitations for my wedding were hastily bought in a gift shop pack of ten because we basically, kind of, eloped.

There was no arduous decision-making process or hours spent hand-making or decorating envelopes upcycled from elephant poo. Or learning calligraphy.

I feel strange writing that as a self-professed lover of paper and of ephemera; a keen collector of invitations to other people's occasions.

As I approach my tenth wedding anniversary (seriously, how did that happen?!), I'm wondering what we will do to mark it, particularly as we didn't have the full-on after-party associated with the majority of weddings.

Should we have a party? If so, where? At home for just close family or the huge bash we missed out on? What will I wear? And what about our little baby boy who won't quite be one year old by the time the date rolls around?

Remembering back to bleak, bleary-eyed January nights when I sat writing 'thank yous' for the amazing gifts and cards we'd received on said birth, the idea of writing out invitations is enough to put me off. I mean, yes I could design my own and it would be a great marketing opportunity for me, but in many ways, just, zzzzz.

Then I heard about 'paperless' invitations. Those of the digital variety. Gorgeously designed just like their paper counterparts, but with no writing and even better, no postage costs!

'Snapshot' Party invitation on Paperless Post - details visible on the reverse.  Clever.

'Snapshot' Party invitation on Paperless Post - details visible on the reverse. Clever.

So many places offer a host of digital invitation options now for every occasion, and I'm imagining the RSVP's flicking back into (dedicated?) invitation mailboxes much faster than the traditional versions. You could even request a read receipt, though I'm not sure about the etiquette on that?

There is one downside, and that's the older relatives that are not on email or social media.

My mother springs to mind; quietly eschewing the digital world as 'nonsense', while simultaneously asking me to 'ask Google' for help when the physical world cannot.

Or what if it got over-shared on social to friends you didn't want to invite? Mmm, tricky.

But I think a big tick for paperless cards and invitations is the environmental impact - although I would cherish a particularly lovely invitation and keep it in a memory box or maybe stick it in my scrapbook, most people aren't bothered and really wouldn't. I'm the only person I know who keeps a scrapbook; save for my online tribe of lovely art journalers that is.

We need to stop just thinking about the environment and the resources we use, but actually start taking action.

Now, my taste in invitations is quite... distinct, but I like this children's birthday invitation by Petit Collage on Paperless Post:

'Superhero Trio' Children's Party Invitation, Petit Collage

'Superhero Trio' Children's Party Invitation, Petit Collage

And if you were worried about why there are envelopes designed and displayed alongside the cards - I was too - until I realised that once you hit 'send' or 'share' on your chosen design, it creates a cute little animation for the recipient of the card inside the envelope, then zooming out towards you. Nice touch.

For my own 30th birthday, I sent an email with an image I'd created, so really that was a precursor to a 'proper' e-invitation. It definitely wasn't animated, but I still put a lot of effort and love into it.

I like this 'Cocktails and Conversation' card probably because the premise of it piques my interest - light laughter and sophisticated cocktails with engaging chat. Already I'm imagining literary connotations and book deals being struck and romance set alight...

There are some variations but metallics are always a win for me.

'Bottle Shock' Party Invitation by  Kelly Wearstler

'Bottle Shock' Party Invitation by Kelly Wearstler

This floral design has a totally different vibe but again, the matching envelope is so fun. The colours are very pretty too:

'Woven Wildflowers' Party Invitation by Riffle Paper Co.

'Woven Wildflowers' Party Invitation by Riffle Paper Co.

Can someone please invite me to a cocktail and mimosa party?! 

Maybe e-cards and invitations could be saved in a special 'memory box' e-mail folder? That would solve the problem of preservation. It would always be right there with you, in your phone...

In Japan, once you receive a card 'its job is done' and you can happily dispose of it. Marie Kondo, famous for her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, even suggests photographing sentimental items or 'komono' to preserve the memory while throwing away (hopefully recycling if possible) the actual item. 

I love the dreamy ice-cream illustrations on this children's party invite while this vintage-esque Flamingo scene with the matching envelope liner is sooo pretty too:

'Flamingo Lagoon' Party Invitation by Rifle Paper Co.

'Flamingo Lagoon' Party Invitation by Rifle Paper Co.

As a fledgling designer myself, I'm always interested in other designers' work and what is selling. It's always a matter of personal taste, but I tend to be a bit left-field in my choices as a buyer, so that probably comes out in my designs too. I don't know if I'm commercial enough, but then most of the time it's about getting in front of the right people or having your work in the right places and available. People can only buy what is there and the market is crowded
'Yahoo Cocktaoo!' card design by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

'Yahoo Cocktaoo!' card design by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

Handily, most sites allow you to upload your own designs so you can customise as much as you want. Ideal if you have forgotten someone's birthday until the eleventh hour and it's too late to send a traditional card through the post. Or how perfect for a less-stress way to ask your nearest and dearest to 'save the date'?

Save the Date card, Deighton, Paperless Post

And I'm already thinking ahead to Christmas - wouldn't it be nice to know your card really wasn't lost in the post and definitely arrived on time? Yes it's also nice having a real, tangible card to display on your festive mantel, but then, life. With the exception of my own seasonal offerings (below), I love this design

'Bear-y Christmas' by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

'Bear-y Christmas' by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

'I don't 'DO' Christmas...' by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

'I don't 'DO' Christmas...' by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

Penguin Christmas Card by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

Penguin Christmas Card by Rebecca Johnstone/Dainty Dora

So many choices. 

I love receiving special cards in the mail, but a digital card or invitation is just as effective and super-convenient for modern times. And you can't always trust the mail-man!

Can't wait for my tech-loving husband to open this e-card on our anniversary <3

Some places to source digital cards and invites yourself:

To commission me to design cards/invitations, contact me via my collab page.

NB. This is a sponsored post, however all views and opinions are my own and I never promote or link to any product or service that I don't genuinely love. Thank you for reading.