Invitations: Part I

This will be the first of many posts about invitations.  Invitations are one of the first items that your guests see relative to your soiree.   They set the tone for the event, as well as the subsequent printed pieces for the engagement (i.e. programs, place cards).  We recommend taking time to visit with several different stationary stores, designers, and websites to get a sense for the papers, colors, typefaces and designs that speak to you.  But before you select anything, it’s good to know what is available to you with regard to printing styles.  Formal and semi-formal invitations can be printed in a variety of ways.  Whatever you select will be a matter of personal preference and budget, but the general rule of thumb: the more formal the occasion, the more formal the printing style.  Here are your options:

  • Engraving.  Engraved invitations are by far the most traditional printing style for formal invitations; primarily because this method of printing has been around the longest. Engraving results in a raised print that is pressed through so that it can be felt on the back of the paper.  It is traditionally the most expensive form of printing.
  • Thermography.  Thermography results in raised print that is shinier than engraved print and does not press through the back of the paper.  Therefor, it is less expensive than engraving.
  • Letterpress.  Letterpress is when a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right reading image.  Letterpress tends to be an expensive option but the results are quite fantastic.
  • Lithography.  Lithography imprints lettering with ink but results in neither raised nor pressed-through lettering.  It is less costly than the printing styles listed above.
  • Laser.  Invitations can be printed on a laser printer.  This can be done at a print shop or in the comfort of your own home.  Blank imprintable invitations are available at many stationary stores.  This is the least expensive option, however, there is room for error.  A word of caution: double check that your printer can handle the weight of the paper you have selected and great care should be taken to ensure that the paper is fed into the printer straight and evenly.
  • Handwritten.  Handwritten invitations are more appropriate for smaller occasions (dinner parties, small weddings, showers).  It is a lovely way to personalize an invitation.

Do you have a favorite printing style?  Tell us about it!

For ideas, go to

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