Review: Paperless Post

The screenshots in this post are blurry, I know. I got a new laptop recently and haven't figured out how to fix the screenshot settings yet. Sorry, readers! There are also some images with off-color boxes blocking out text — I censored some of the images for privacy.

I recently received an email regarding a service called Paperless Post. Friends of mine have used this service before; basically, it's an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional stationary. Or it's very fancy ecards. Whatever you want to call it.

How it works: Choose your design, make it your own, manage your event.

Whether you're hosting a baby shower or birthday party, whether you're sending save the dates or inviting friends to be in your wedding party, Paperless Post has a beautiful and classy digital design for you. And they've given me 1000 "coins" to try out the experience and share it with you all, my lovely readers!

Instead of paying for individual cards, Paperless Post prices cards and customizable features using a system of coins, which you buy in packages. You can start with 20 coins for $6, and the next package up is 40 coins for $12. The largest package, 5000 coins, is $325. When you create a new account, you receive 25 free coins to get started. If you don't want to spend any money, they do have quite a few free invitations and free cards. (Bonus: there are never any ads on Paperless Post, so yay!)

The website is very clean, pretty and professional, and easy to use. The designer in me loves the fonts in their menu and descriptions. Their selection of card designs is extensive, including names like Vera Wang, kate spade new york, and Oscar de la Renta alongside their own original Paperless Post designs. If you're logged in, you can marks designs as your favorites to compare them or save them for later.

Some of my favorite designs.

Here's how it works.

You start by choosing a design. You can "preview the experience" and see the card animation before choosing one to customize. If you get halfway through customization and change your mind, you can choose a different design instead. Nothing's final until you send the card to recipients, and even then some details can be altered.

Backdrop editing screen.

Next, you customize the card. You can add a backdrop, and they have a ton of choices. Most of them are textures — glitter, confetti, fabrics, wood or tabletops, marble, solid colors, you name it.

Backdrop editing screen.

You can edit the text, either by replacing the sample details with your own or by changing font, size, color, and placement. You can change it as much or as little as you like.

Text editing screen.

Then you can choose an envelope liner, envelope color, stamp, and RSVP card design — or you can remove the customization and keep it simple to save your coins.

Finally, you add recipients. You can preview the card from your own screen before sending and send a free test card to your own email.

When your guests get the email, this is what they'll see.

You click "view your card," and voila! Isn't it pretty?

You can add any number of guests. In this step, you can also add or edit event details for the event page your guests visit after opening the card. It can tell them your name, address, contact information, map and directions, date and time of the event, gift registries, the guest list — anything you want them to know.

This is what one of my event pages looks like (censored for privacy.)

Once your cards are sent, you can track who has opened and who has RSVPed, and you can edit the event page if necessary (though guests aren't notified when you do.) You can also send messages to your guests through what amounts to a very fancy chat system.

I tried this out for virtual invitations for a staff dinner party I was in charge of. I created a card I intended to use for everyone, but added a personalized individual "extra card" with details for each recipient. Because the digital card is opened at the Paperless Post website, I had to create separate cards for each person instead of just changing the personalized detail card after sending. BUT! From the "Post Box," where you can view the cards you've sent, you can "clone" a card you already have to make a separate copy, which is exactly what I needed. It worked out perfectly.

I chose a free design but added a backdrop, envelope liner, colored envelope, and extra card for party details. My cards ended up costing 3 coins per recipient, adding up to 27 coins, or what would cost between $2-8, depending on your coin package.

After this success with my dinner party invitations, I decided to use Paperless Post again for another event. With 1000 free coins at my disposal, I decided to go all out. Most non-free designs cost 2 coins each (which is anywhere from 60 cents to 13 cents, depending on which coin package you buy), including the one I chose. I also added a backdrop, a colored envelope, an envelope liner, an RSVP card design, and a custom stamp. This added up to 7 coins per card (or roughly 46 cents with the biggest coin package, $2.00 with the smallest). This time, I sent the same card to everyone, so I added my eleven guests' names and email addresses before sending.

Apparently, two invitations "bounced." I double checked the email addresses, but they should have worked. I'm not sure why they didn't — some advanced spam filter or something in the way? — but Paperless Post had a solution to this: you can send that guest's card (with their name on the envelope and RSVP card) to yourself and forward it to them.

Designs you're working on are auto-saved in what's called your post box under "drafts." Which is fantastic when you accidentally close the wrong tab in your browser. (Not that I learned this from experience, I don't know what you're talking about...) When you're adding recipients to a card, you can edit or remove guests before sending, and add more guests after you've sent the first round if you forgot anyone.

Searching for specific colors or design elements is easy. Just as a test, I searched for "butterfly" in the general card design view, then again in the wedding shower section.

Search results for "butterfly."

Search results in the bridal shower section.

Some designs come in a variety of colors, including the butterfly card I decided to use myself.

A few examples of the eleven color choices for the "Hand Painted Butterfly" design.

This "Dahlias" design comes in seven colors.

And some cards offer a link to buy the same design in paper, for when you have a few old-fashioned guests who prefer snail mail or don't have an email address.

A Paperless Post design available in print at Paper Source.

My guinea pig guest (my mom) filled me in on a few cool features for recipients: "I like [that] the service will send an email to remind me to RSVP in two days. It can add the event directly to your calendar four ways, has [a] mobile app, can send a message to the host, can RSVP on the invite or say 'will not attend,' get directions to [the] address, and go directly to the store site [for the gift registry]... I'm fairly impressed with it from my end."

There are a few things I'd change if I were in charge. The script fonts are a bit hard to read. There's no way to search in the backdrops menu, so if you want a specific color, texture, or theme, you have to just keep scrolling for it. The customization controls are almost a little too sensitive, making it hard to keep a text box perfectly centered. (I also couldn't get the link to a gift registry to update when I edited the event page. I contacted the help center to try and get that figured out. Turns out my internet browser wasn't loading the newly updated page correctly. Whoops.)

Overall, this is a beautiful and elegant service, and very user-friendly. I've loved using Paperless Post for several event invitations this month, and now I can't stop saving designs for potential future events. I think I might be a little addicted!

I received 1000 free coins, a $100 value, from a Paperless Post representative in exchange for an honest review. How I used these coins was my decision. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. No purchase was necessary or requested for this exchange, and I did not make any purchases.

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