Inside Paperless Post’s Rise of Wedding Influence and Party Shop Launch
Every good party starts with an invitation, but does how you get there matter as much as what’s said? Today, invitations to everything from barbecues to bacchanals can come via text, direct message or avoidance, but for some there remains a lingering idea that when it comes to really important parties, the paper n is not negotiable. You might be surprised who is in this camp.
“Paperless Post was truly born out of a love and appreciation for paper,” says James Hirschfeld, co-founder of popular brand evite. “There can be so much style in a beautiful stationery; it is a real luxury product. So why did he, with the help of his sister Alexa, create a brand that relies on digital communication? The siblings started their business with the idea that email invitations could incorporate style, taste and functionality – and 175 million users are said to agree.
Since July, paperless post has moved to the physical realm, but not just with printed invitations. Instead, the brand has launched an e-commerce platform offering decorations, table clothes and even balloons. “We’re simplifying the event planning process,” says Alexa. “If users find an invitation design they want to send, we can show them products that will make their party more successful.”
Since the launch of Paperless Post in 2009, 500 million guests have been invited to more than 20 million more or less glitzy events on the platform. “We were careful at the start not to think the product was the height of formality,” says Alexa.
This follows with Message from Lizzie, writer and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post. “Traditionally, and especially for weddings and formal events, you would never send out an invitation digitally,” she says, noting environmental causes as an exception. It’s simple: “Printed invitations create a sense of importance.”
Etiquette may dictate that snail mail is the way to go, but in reality, digital invitations have become commonplace. television producer and GTC collaborating editor Susan Fales-Hill Is of two minds on the matter. In the case of a philanthropic event, Fales-Hill would use a avoidance, but for personal milestones, she advocates digital abstaining. “They’re a huge cost saver and make it easier to track responses,” she says of the former. “But printed invitations become keepsakes that can be revisited over the years. No escape is able to offer this window into emotional time travel.
But can printed invitations keep up with modern life? According to the Hirschfelds, the number of users of wedding invitations on their site has increased by 35% since 2019 for a number of reasons, ranging from environmental impact to postal unreliability and budgeting. At first, it all came down to practicality. Then there was Covid and opting for dematerialization became easier. “It became a matter of agility,” says James, “and being able to modify the plan without printing, reprinting and reprinting again. People really saw the value in that.
Many couples today use both digital and printed components as part of their nuptial planning. Jung Leean event and New York-based wedding planner, explains that the majority of his clients prefer traditional invitations on heavy card stock, but keep their other correspondence virtual. “We often send an electronic reservation date and note that an official invitation will follow,” she says.
Ultimately, whether you go analog, digital or a mix of the two, how you communicate with your guests is a matter of personal taste, something Paperless Post understands perfectly. “We try to help hosts show their style in the physical presentation of their events,” says James. It is an invitation that we will gladly accept.
This story will appear in the October 2022 issue of City & Country.
Roxanne Adamiyatt is the managing editor of Town & Country, where she writes about lifestyle, fashion, travel and beauty.