From bills to get together with friends, many of us have opted for digital delivery for nearly everything that was once mailed to us. This switch has successfully enabled us to greatly impact the environment, but it does prevent us from experiencing the excitement of receiving “real” mail. That’s one of the reasons why we love the tradition of wedding invitations. To this day, most are still sent through the post, allowing your guests to experience the thrill of a weighted envelope addressed to them that’s filled with fun details presented in an elegant way.
But, before your guests can receive your wedding invitation in the mail, there are terms, details, and design decisions you will want to make first. So, today, we thought we would help you to define what might work best for your wedding invitation vision by sharing insight about invitation printing styles, the types of materials your invitations may be printed onto, and the amount of layers your invitations may feature. Let’s dive in!
When imagining your wedding invitation, the best place to start is the actual pieces you will send to guests!
Main Invitation Piece: The main invitation piece is the actual piece you’re envisioning. It’s the piece that shares your names, your wedding date, and your ceremony’s location. This piece is typically sent with additional pieces, so let’s keep going.
Inserts: Any additional items that are sent with your wedding invitation are known as inserts. So, items such as Details (your reception location and times are often shared on this piece), Accommodations, wedding website and/or registry, and RSVP all fall into the “inserts” category.
INVITATION PRINTING STYLES:
One of the most important wedding invitation decisions to make is how you would like the details of your wedding printed onto the paper or alternate material (we’ll get into that below!) of your choice. Below are four of the most common printing styles.
Digital Printing: If you’re wishing to explore the most budget friendly way to print your wedding invitations, digital printing is the answer. We love it because it allows you to print in classic colors, like black, or you can opt to print in a more vibrant color, like burgundy, hydrangea blue, blush, or even navy. Think of digital printing in the same way that you would if you printed something from your computer!
Thermography: If you’re imagining presenting invitations with depth and elegance to your wedding guests, thermography might be the right choice! This printing style is defined by its raised text – if you were to run your hand over the invitation, you would be able to feel the text literally rising off of the piece.
Letterpress: When we think of classic wedding details, we always think of letterpress. It’s the most timeless technique, and it differs from thermography because the text is printed into the invitation, like an indentation. Letterpress is also one of the most expensive printing techniques, so consider incorporating letterpress into your main invitation piece and opting to print inserts digitally.
Gold Foil: Gold foil isn’t so much a printing technique as it is a detail that’s often added when printing invitations. It can be added to both thermography and letterpress invitations, and sometimes it’s not used in the actual text but instead as a detail added, like a flourish, to the paper. It’s gorgeous every time, but it can be costly! Consider using it sparingly and featuring it only on the main piece of your invitation.
INVITATION PRINTING MATERIALS:
Deciding on the printing style for your wedding invitations typically occurs hand-in-hand with deciding on the type of material you would like your wedding invitations printed onto. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular choices!
Cardstock: Most wedding invitations are printed onto cardstock. It’s the most budget friendly choice, and it’s also the most traditional – for great reason! All of the printing styles mentioned above can be printed onto cardstock, plus cardstock is available in a complete variety of colors to match wedding color palettes. Lastly, cardstock can also be layered to create an even more luxurious presentation.
Alternate Materials: Outside of cardstock, there are plenty of other materials that can be used as bases for wedding invitations. We’ve seen materials like wood, acrylic, fabric, and vellum used in wedding invitations. The key things to note about printing onto a material other than paper are cost and weight. It will always be more expensive to print onto an alternate material, and that material will almost always weigh more than paper (an important fact to keep in mind when mailing your invitations!).
Now, let’s talk about presentation! If you choose to print using cardstock, you will have a variety of other choices to make, including whether or not you would like your invitation to feature a single layer or multiple layers. We’ll define the options below for you.
Single Layer Invitations: A single layer invitation is exactly that – one layer. That layer can be a single piece of cardstock or a single piece of one of the alternate materials we mentioned above. Choosing to print your invitation onto a single layer will keep printing and production costs low, plus it will also be the best choice to keep the cost of mailing your invitation in check.
Multiple Layer Invitations: As we have mentioned, cardstock can be layered! That means the top piece of paper in the invitation might be ivory, but that piece might be placed on top of a navy piece to create the illusion of a border or frame. The more layers that are added – glitter or shimmer paper, mirror paper, etc – the more depth that’s created. Of course, the price will increase too! Typically, invitations feature a maximum layer count of three.
Pocketfold Invitations: If you’re hosting a black-tie soiree or a destination wedding, you might consider sending your guests a pocketfold invitation. To best explain them, imagine a book or a folder. When you open the pocketfold, the invitation typically appears on the left side of the interior and the inserts, like the RSVP and Details cards, are stacked inside a pocket on the right side.
Before we end this post, we did want to share a few notes about mailing your wedding invitations:
- Even if they only feature a single layer, wedding invitations are more expensive to mail than a traditional card or letter.
- Because of the above, you will want to go to your post office to weigh one of your invitations before adding postage. Make sure all of the pieces you’re planning to mail are included inside!
- If you decide to print onto wood, for example, you will want to mail your invitation in a small box rather than an envelope. The vessel that’s used for shipping will add to the overall cost of the invitation and the cost to send it to your guests.
- When mailing invitations, you will likely hear of something called “hand cancelling”. This means that a stamp will be used on your invitation to note is has been checked in by the post office. Most mail is run through a machine in order to mark its arrival. Because invitations are more delicate, you will want to avoid this! It’s definitely worth the time (and potential extra cost) to hand cancel your invitations.
What details do you have in mind for your wedding invitations? Do you have any additional questions about invites? Comment below and share!