Friday, March 01, 2013

tying the knot: invitations

Friday, March 01, 2013

There are so many different options out there for wedding invitations. Fiancé and I spent many hours perusing different online sites and browsing in local print shops for our perfect invites. From our experience, I'd say there are about 3 key things to keep in mind ...

  1. The invitation is a glimpse into the feel and the theme guests can expect from your big day so choose an invite that fits with your wedding.
  2. There is etiquette to the way you word an invitation, what you include in your invitation, and when you send your invitations - do your homework to make sure you get it right - if you are unsure on proper form, there is help here, here, here, and here.
  3. There are so many different fonts, types of paper, ways to print, etc. that the whole process of invite shopping can be overwhelming. Requesting samples from printers can help you narrow down and pick the exact look you want without too much of a headache. But to help you out I've listed brief explanations {what I wish I had known before we started shopping} about paper types, typeface, and printing techniques below.
Paper Types
{There are many types of paper used for invitations but the following are some of the most common choices. Paper weight and thickness is described in terms of 'stock' - the more formal the invitation, the heavier the stock of the paper used.} 

Bamboo paper: soft and thick paper that's eco-friendly and made from bamboo

Cotton fiber: thick paper made of 100% cotton and one of the most (if not the most) traditional paper used for wedding invitations

Linen finish: similar to cotton fiber but with a grainier look and feel, also a very classic choice

Rice paper: it's not actually made out of rice, and is best used for letterpress invitations

Vellum: has a plastic feel with a translucent, frosted appearance and is sturdy enough to be printed on for the actual invitation


Calligraphy is the most traditional choice for invitations but it is becoming increasingly popular to uses many different font styles for more fun and casual invitations. Typically a formal invitation will us block lettering (plain, upright font) and calligraphy together, while more modern invitations will use several different font styles. Just remember to limit the number of font styles you use to about 3 as to not overwhelm the invitation (with too many fonts it's difficult to read).
Remember, that for printed work usually sans serif fonts are more readable. If you don't know the difference between serif and sans serif, here is a great explanation.

Printing Techniques
{There are many different printing techniques but these are the most common...}

Digital Printing: This is similar to at-home laser printing but professional printers will turn out a higher quality. This is the least expensive printing technique and is typically used on thin, more flexible paper types. It's perfect for couples on a tight budget or with more casual invitations.

Embossing: This is the print that appears raised, but is colorless. It best for monograms and borders rather than full text, and is typically done with thicker paper to keep clean and crisp lines.

Engraving: In this technique words are indented into the back of the invitation so the lettering is raised on the front. This is the most expensive printing technique and is best for the most formal invitations. Thick paper like cotton fiber is required because flimsier papers will tear from the engraving process.

Foil Stamping: Think gold leaf - this technique leaves a paper-like foil design behind and is great for lavish and romantic or even whimsical invitations. Remember that too much foil makes the invite hard to read so sparing use of this technique with key words or designs is best. 

Letterpress: This is basically the opposite of engraving, lettering is indented onto the front of the invitation, leaving the back slightly raised. This is one of the pricier printing techniques but is typically used in traditional invitation designs. Like engraving, letterpress requires thick paper like card stock or bamboo paper.

Offset Printing: This is very similar to digital printing, just a higher quality and price. Still great for more casual invitations, thinner paper types, and couples on a budget.

Thermography: This technique is similar to engraving except that the back of the invitation remains smooth and the lettering has a shiny quality. Like engraving, thermography is best with cotton fiber paper types and has a very formal look.

Adorable Online Shops
It's nice to get your invitations from a local printer but sometimes it's just easier to shop online. Here are a few amazing online printers I found in our hunt for the perfect invitation.

- oh so beautiful paper - ruby the fox - page stationary - dauphine press - aerialist press -

next wedding post: the bridal party

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