Many decisions go into planning a wedding to make YOUR day special! One of the decisions you will have to make is the type and style of wedding invitations to use.
After creating your guest list, your next determination is what type and style of invitations to use. Nothing establishes the tone of your wedding, like your wedding invitations. There are three main types of wedding invitations: formal, semi-formal, and informal. When deciding on your invitations, chose that one that best fits your style of wedding.
There are seven main styles of wedding invitations for you to consider.
Digital (also known as Flat)
Digital printing is currently the most popular, most cost-effective, and most accessible printing system available. Digital printers can produce a pretty wide range of vibrant colors.
Letterpress printing calls back to the original printing presses: it uses metal plates to press the ink onto the paper. The process leaves an impression behind, giving anything printed with letterpress an excellent feel. Letterpress printing requires thick, pliable paper, which adds a tactile element to the invite. You can also mix flat printing and letterpress to design something with more color variation that still fits into your budget.
Foil is an excellent way to add some pizzazz to an invitation! Foil adds quality and lightens up the design. It catches the light in a way ink doesn't. Colors are becoming more generally accessible, and now you can request foil in just about any color of the rainbow. Mix printing types to save on cost. If you want foil or letterpress, get one color done, and do the remainder in digital printing.
Spot color prints flat like digital printing, but the similarities end there. Digital printing has four primary colors: magenta, cyan, yellow, and black. Spot color starts with 12 primary colors and can create pretty much any color you can imagine. Like letterpress, each color requires a new plate, and another run through the printer. Unless you're ordering quantities in the thousands, expect to add about $1.50 to your cost per piece.
Before digital presses, wedding invitations were printed using engraving. With this type of printing, your printer creates a metal plate which is then inked and pressed onto the paper. The ink is substantial and slightly raised. You'll typically see tissue with this type of invitation to keep the ink from smearing.
If you want to go this traditional path, it will require a specialized printer that only does engraving. The setup is rather expensive.
Thermography is a modern mix between engraving and spot color. Thermography uses heat to merge ink and glue onto the paper. The finalized product is shiny. The colors are usually restricted to the 12 primary spot colors, but if you want the raised texture with color, thermography is your best bet. Thermography is not as expensive as engraving, but you will be paying for each color you want to be printed so the cost can add up.
If you want to make an impact, you can get your invitations laser cut. This technique uses no ink but instead cuts away paper to create the design and the words. Intricate laser cutting looks like lace and makes a huge initial impression. For laser cutting, the price depends on how long each piece takes to cut. So the more intricate the design, the more it'll cost.
Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guidelines
The first line identifies the hosts. The hosts' names are followed by a line that extends the invitation; "requests the honor of your presence." If the ceremony will be less formal, "requests the pleasure of your company." Next, the names of the couple are named in full and then the date, year, time, and location.
The only punctuation used is after "Mr., Mrs. Dr.." Names, titles, and first letters of a sentence, as opposed to lines, are capitalized. All words, dates, times are spelled out. For example, "3:00 pm" should be written out as "three o'clock in the afternoon" and "July 27, 2013" as "Twenty seventy of July, two thousand and thirteen." Avoid contractions, and do not abbreviate.
The invitation can also include an RSVP card with a deadline of 2-3 weeks before the wedding. The RSVP is usually on a separate card included with the wedding invitation. Etiquette for the RSVP card should also include the same formality as the wedding invitation. The cards can use the simple wording of I/We are able to attend, or I/We are unable to attend.
Addressing and Mailing
For formal invitations, the return address should be on the envelop flap. It should be the wedding hosts' address only. The invitation should be explicitly addressed to the individual or individuals invited and use titles as necessary. An invitation addressed to Mr. Jones indicates that Mr. Jones should attend the wedding alone without bringing an additional guest. Mr. Jones and Guest suggest that Mr. Jones and one other guest may attend the wedding. Mail invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.
Children under the age of 18 do not need to be written on the outer envelope but should be included on the inner envelope. If their names are not included on the inner envelope, indicate that they are not to attend the wedding. If children under 18 are invited with their parents, include their names on the inner envelope. Children who are 18 or older should receive an individual invitation even if they reside with their parents.
Once the invitations go out, all you have to do is wait for the RSVPs to reply. Unfortunately, manners and rules of etiquette are often left by the wayside as guests do not always reply. If guests do not respond, the Emily Post Institute declares the couple, parent, friend, or wedding coordinator can call or email guests a week after the deadline has passed to ask for their reply personally.