Invitations are a key component of wedding planning. Not only can invitations set the tone for a wedding - giving guests an idea of whether it is formal or casual while offering clues to the theme - but also they are essential for conveying important information about the festivities.
While it was once common to work with a specialized printing and engraving company when ordering wedding invinations, couples tying the knot now have more options. Due in large part to computer and internet access, and myriad user-friendly design applications, it's easier than ever to design high-quality wedding invitations.
According to the wedding industry survey site TheWeddingReport.com, the average price for 150 invitations and response cards is $245. To maximize efficiency and come away with wedding stationery they will love, couples can employ the following tips and techniques.
Start with the paper
The heavier the stock, the more luxurious the invitations will feel. Quality stock also costs more. Wedding invitations should be printed on substantial stock so they don't bend or feel flimsy. Industry experts say that 100 percent cotton paper is the most costly paper. Couples can choose from linen stock and textured surfaces as well. Expect to pay more for natural or handmade papers. Those concerned about price can choose the highest-quality stock within budget and then play with other invitation elements to conserve funds.
Engraving and letterpress
Engraving and letterpress techniques are an art form and create unique wedding invitations. Engraving creates raised lettering while letterpress presses the lettering into the paper. Many people do not have the equipment necessary to produce these designs at home, and if they want a truly high-end invitation, they'll need to use a professional printing service. Thermography is an alternative that can deliver raised print using heat and special inks.
Options abound in regard to in-store and online printing companies. Many companies offer self-service design templates that enable customers to tweak text and placement of some graphic elements and then have the invitations printed and shipped to their homes. Companies may provide stock samples and examples of lettering so that couples can touch and see the invitations prior to placing an order.
One of the more accessible invitation production methods is at-home printing. However, there are some limitations when printing at home. For example, couples who do not have a high-end printer may find that the text on their invitations is not as crisp and the ink may smudge. Also, paper options may be limited to what the tray feeder can accommodate. Stock that is 80 pounds or 12-point stock is preferable, but anything more may jam around the print head. It may take some trial and error (and wasted paper) to perfect alignment and achieve the desired look.
DIYers also need to know about "bleed" designs. According to the advice site A Practical Wedding, bleed is a printing term for design elements or images extending beyond the trim edge so that unwanted white space is eliminated. Again, it may take some practice to get the desired look.
Couples have many different options when designing their wedding invitations, and some may even be able to design and produce their own.