Buying wedding invitations can be complicated. I mean, you couldn’t have spent so much money on paper before. Honestly, there are plenty of options out there. If you don’t know where to start, this basic guide to wedding invitations is just what you’re looking for! This guide will cover everything you need to know to start your invitation journey, including basic terms you may see everywhere, the big four printing techniques, the types of designs you can buy, and of course, a budget and how to buy yours Expect to spend a lot of money.
Basic terms of wedding invitations
Before we dive into all the little details, I just want to review some terms you may be unfamiliar with if this is the first time you’re thinking about stationery and printing — especially wedding invites.
A complete set of cards, envelopes and decorations that you will send to individualsthis usually includes at least an invitation card, reply card, detail card, and master and return envelopes. However, your suite can also include save the date cards, thank you cards, cinch, wax seals and other details and decorations.
A card included in your invitation that your guests should fill out and return to you. This card usually asks for the name of the invitee and their response (attend or decline), and can sometimes include meal selection options and song requests.
This is a postage-paid envelope with your address printed on the front. It is included in your invitation kit for guests to return their RSVP card to you.
Detail card/receiver card
These are additional cards that are included with your suite and usually contain additional information about your wedding, especially when and where your wedding reception will be. You can use the details card to provide information about accommodation, transportation and parking, dress details, any policy information, events such as a rehearsal dinner or recovery brunch, your wedding website address and/or any other details your guests need to know.
A piece of tissue paper sticks inside the envelope to add an extra touch or hint to your wedding theme. These can be solid color or custom printed.
A translucent paper product it is now common as much or as a cinch or invitation wrap.
These are the actual words you wrote in your country invitation. This usually includes details about who is hosting the event, which is married and of course the date, time, and location of the event. Often also includes the wording used on RSVP and detail cards. If you’re looking for more information on the wording of the invitation and what to write on the invitation, you can get my guide in the free resource library.
These are the rules on how to word and handle your invitation and when to send your invitation. Some families take this very seriously, while others are very loose and don’t care. Essentially, these are common practices to avoid offending guests or being rude. For more specific information, you can read my in-depth article on invitation etiquette.
Also known as handwriting, it’s a peculiar way of writing. On invitations, it is often used for accents, such as couples’ names on invitations or to address their envelopes.
The selection and use of fonts or fonts and how they are laid out a large part of invitation design is choosing the right font and layout for your invitation cards, RSVP and detail cards.
Your wedding invitation printing options
So when it comes to your wedding stationery as well as any special event invitations, there are plenty of print options to consider. First, you have the 4 main printing technologies, then you have the actual paper selection, envelopes, and of course any design treatments.
The “typography technique” will be how your design is actually printed on paper. While I’m sure you’re familiar with home printing and photocopying, these aren’t usually used for wedding invitations. Instead, your invitations are professionally printed using one of four methods:
Digital printing is probably the most common and often the most cost-effective. This is printing a design on the surface of paper with ink or toner. This is basically what your home printer will do, but professional printers will likely have higher resolution and better pigment quality. The important thing to remember is that digital printing will accurately reflect what you see on screen, including a lot of color.
Another common printing technique in wedding stationery is letterpress printing. This is where your design is etched onto the printing plate, then inked and pressed onto the paper. This is usuallydone on antique printing presses. It’s usually a monochromatic craft that will leave a beautiful and deep pillow impression on your cards. Because each design must have a unique printing plate, and the materials are expensive, this is considered a high-end printing process, often more expensive than letterpress printing.
In many ways, hot stamping is very similar to letterpress printing. Your design is etched onto the plate and then pressed onto your paper. The difference, though, is that instead of using a roller and ink, we use heat and a special film to make the impression. Standard foils are metallic and leave bright, shiny, reflective images/text on your invitations. That said, a matte finish is also available, so a white foil impression can be used.