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Elegant Invitations: Stationery

By : Frances Badgett | Samples provided by : Spruce

Sending your invitation in the mail is your introduction to your guests—the invitation they will put in an album or place in a special box for safekeeping. Whether you’re making a bold statement against tradition or keeping with a classic look and feel, your wedding really begins with the invitations. Prior to the printing press, wedding invitations were delivered by a town crier, who walked the streets announcing the nuptials of the couple. Anyone in the vicinity garnered an invitation. Along came moveable type, and town criers were retired.


Letterpress is a form of printing in which the words or designs are pressed into soft paper, creating an impression of the words or design in the paper, giving the letters texture. Similar to engraving, a plate puts pressure on the paper to create the letters, but instead of pressing them into the paper, the letters are raised. Thermography is similar in that it has an embossed feel, but a powder is applied to the invitation, which is then heated, creating the embossed feel.


Foil stamped invitations are bright, bold, and a great choice for couples who want a little shine in their invitation wardrobe. Foil stamping can look elegant and classic or sassy and modern, depending on how it’s used. Often couples-to-be have a choice of yellow gold, silver, copper, or rose gold. Choice of paper is important, as you want the foil to stand out both in texture and in shine. This style is a particularly great choice for weddings in the holiday season.


Metal plate engraving (mezzotint) became the standard, and remains the same process it was in the 1700s. Engraving has the advantage of immediately projecting elegance and history, a kind of timelessness. Engraving is done by hand, and can be very expensive (up to $5 an invitation). Thermographs are more common, and are a way of printing in which the ink is not carved into the invitation (as with engraving) but printed. Lithography was introduced in the late 1700s and brought fine inking to the marketplace without the cumbersome practice of engraving.


Flat printing is digital printing on paper, and probably the most common type of invitation sent these days. It allows couples the ability to incorporate photos and customize fonts and design. It’s also a nice way to personalize and create a statement. Many couples seek out flat printing precisely because it is a statement against tradition. It can be very well done.

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