When it comes to wedding invitations, it can be hard to know where to start; the possibilities are endless. Two important things to consider are personal style and budget. You want an invitation reflective of your personality and the theme of your wedding, but you also don’t want to break the bank. On average, invitations account for almost three percent of the wedding budget. Fortunately there are printing methods to fit every style, and every budget.
Offset printing is a very affordable method. It is a flat print that has a crisp look. Offset printing works well on highly textured papers. It also works well if you are working with multiple colors. Other printing methods can be limited in that regard.
An invitation can be given a distinct look through letterpress printing. Letterpress is a labor intensive, and therefore costly, process that dates back to the fifteenth century. It is done by applying ink to an image. Paper is then placed on top of the image, and pressure is applied, thereby transferring the image, which appears stamped into the paper. Letterpress is very precise and produces rich colors. It is especially useful when using an unusual motif or typeface, or if you are experimenting with different color pigments.
Engraving produces the most formal look. An engraving plate is formed by etching into steel. Pressure is applied to the paper against the engraving plate, creating raised letters. The engraving process can leave a bruise, or a dent, on the back of the invitation. One advantage of engraving is it allows the use of light colored ink on dark paper.
A very popular printing method, thermography, provides the engraved look at a lower price. Thermography uses heat to combine ink with a resinous powder. The reaction caused by the heat raises the letters. Thermography differs from engraving in that is has a shiny finish and the back of the invitation stays smooth.
Creating great looking invitations on a budget has been made easier though the personal computer. Imprintables are invitations printed at home. With imprintables, you get to be the designer, experimenting with different typefaces and graphics. To make designing easier, there are computer software and stationary kits available. The growing popularity of scrap booking has also made creating your own invitations easier, in that paper is available in many different stocks and colors. Just be sure the paper you select is compatible with your printer. Homemade invites can be further embellished with ribbon, fine paper, metal charms or just about anything else. Scrap booking or stamping supplies can come in very handy for dressing up invitations.
Choosing a wedding invitation can be a big decision, and it is a good idea to talk with your printer about what options are available and what will work best to achieve the look you want. Becoming more knowledgeable about the technical aspects of printing can make the discussion smoother and aid in deciding what will work best for you. A helpful glossary of printing terms is available on www.theknot.com.
After the look of the invitation has been decided, it is time to hash out the wording. There are a few important things to remember when writing out invitations. Days of the week, dates and times are always written out. The only acceptable abbreviations are Mr. and Mrs., everything else should be written out. The word ‘and’ is always written out. Names are written in full, with the first, middle and, sometimes, last name. Nick names and initials should not be used. When inviting people to the ceremony, ‘the honor of your presence’ is a good phrase to use, while ‘the pleasure of your company’ is more acceptable when inviting guests to a reception or civil ceremony. The are many other rules of etiquette surrounding wedding invitations; www.theknot.com is a one source of information on those rules.
Planning a wedding can be very hectic, so it is important to pencil in some time for invitations. They should be ordered four to six months before the wedding. When ordering invitations, calculate how many you will need, and then add 10%. That will ensure you have enough to allow for last minute guests, mistakes, resending invites that get lost in the mail or don‚t make it to the intended recipient. Plus, you will also want to save some as keepsakes.
Start addressing your invitations two to four months before the wedding. Doing a handful at a time spread out over a period of time may be less stressful than addressing them all at once. Invitations should be mailed one to two months before the wedding. If you have guests who will be traveling long distances, it may be a good idea to send theirs even earlier.
The mailing is usually more than the invitation itself. Invitation packets can also include a reception card, a response card, a pew card, an ‘at home’ card with the new name and address of the couple, and a map to the church and reception locations. For out of town guests, a list of nearby hotels can also be included. Because there is so much in one envelope, it is important to have your invitation weighed to ensure you have the proper postage.
Once the invites are out, take the time to breathe a sigh of relief, reveling in one job done. Then wait for the RSVPs to roll in.