Choosing a Printing Method for Wedding Invitations

So you’ve found the one – the perfect wedding invitation, that is. But you’re unsure on which printing method to choose, or what the heck the difference even is!

I currently offer invitations with digital printing, foil stamping, letterpress, and thermography. There are also options to combine more than one technique for an extra exciting design!

How to choose a printing method for your wedding invitations

When it comes to choosing, there are three big factors that drive the decision: desired results, budget, and timeline. If you’re on a tight budget and or tight timeline, digital printing can be a good option. It’s the most flexible for incorporating artwork or lots of color. Read more on how much wedding invitations cost and how to make the most of your stationery budget here!

If you’re considering adding something super special to your suite, I’ll jump for joy to design a suite that incorporates foil, letterpress, or thermography. The details of a wedding day are what set it apart from the next wedding. Since the invitation is the very first detail, make it count!

Digital Printing

Invitations printed digitally get a lot of points because they’re the least expensive with the quickest turnaround. This method is versatile with fewer limitations that any other printing method.

With digital printing, you can incorporate full color artwork. Digital printing can be done alone or as the base of a foil or letterpress design. If you love colorful florals, but want to add a special touch – I can make that happen with a combination print.

If your design is 100% digitally printed, you’ll be able to run your fingers across the printed paper and not feel anything. I offer a variety of paper options for digital printing, including double thick 240# cardstock if you’re feeling fancy! Yum.

San Diego Wedding Invitations

Foil Stamping

You’ve likely seen invitations with stamping – it gives a true metallic look and you can see the shimmer as you move the paper. Foil is a great way to add a bit of glam to your invitation design! It can be done alone or with a digitally printed base.

I currently have 16 options of foil colors. My favorites are gold, copper, and rose gold, but there are also choices from teal to violet! Shoot me a quick message if you’re interested in seeing all the options!

My foil stamped wedding invitations are printed on 130# cardstock, although there are several options for different weights and textures. Want a custom quote for your invitations? Complete my questionnaire here!

Watercolor and Foil Wedding Invitations

Letterpress

I have a serious love for letterpress wedding invitations. Traditional letterpress machines date back to the 15th century making it a true antique. Pairing the old printing method with more modern designs pleases my paper-loving heart.

You’ll know you’re holding a letterpress invitation if the design looks like it was pushed (pressed) into the thick cardstock paper. Because of the method to produce, letterpress can be done in a maximum of two colors. However, it can be paired with digital printing for a full color look! I wrote an entire blog post here on the production and details of letterpress invitations.

Simple Letterpress Invitations

Thermography

A thermography invitation will have the ink raised – somewhat similar to engraving. In my opinion, this is the most traditional look of printing wedding invitations. It gives the glam vibe, but without the shiny-ness of foil stamping.

Currently, I have 36 (yep, a lot) of choices for thermography ink. You’re limited on two colors when using thermography, but like the other methods, it can be paired with digital printing.

Choosing a Printing Method for Wedding Invitations

Alright, ready for your quiz on printing?! Just kidding.

Hopefully this has given information to think about, but a lot of the method you’ll choose will be determined by the overall design and feel you want. Download my Pricing + Information Guide for details on the process and to get a general idea of costs.

I would love to put together a custom quote based on your needs – just fill out my questionnaire here!

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Envelope Printing for Wedding Invitations

When it comes to addressing wedding invitations, couples usually choose one of two options – handwriting the addresses themselves or hiring a professional calligrapher to write them. Did you know there’s a third (and it happens to be my favorite) option? Digital address printing!

With full service wedding invitations, having an option for envelope addressing was a must. I love suites with printed addresses – they’re clear, neat, and match the invitation design. Couples love them because they save a ton of time, stress, and well, they’re pretty!

Digital Address Envelope Printing for Wedding Invitations

Take Your Time Back

The biggest reason to add envelope addressing to your wedding invitations: to save your time. With most couples sending an average of 75 wedding invitations, it’s not a task you can sit down to do in one night.

Wedding planning is a job in itself and since I’m guessing you have an actual job… every spare moment counts! My job is to take any wedding invitation stress from you, so let me print your envelopes, girl!

I’ll send you a copy of my required address spreadsheet template (or you can get a head start by downloading it here) to input all of your guest’s information. If you already have your address list in a digital format, it should be pretty easy to copy + paste into my form. What will you do with all this time you’ve saved?!

Neat and Pretty

Since invitations are the first impression of your wedding, it truly starts with the envelopes! Getting something nicely printed for mail as special as you’re sending really sets the tone. Envelope printing is done in a font that matches your invitation design to complete the full look.

When deciding if you’ll hand address, hire a calligrapher, or print consider the overall vibe you want to accomplish! It all ties together, so the invitation design, and printing method, should reflect the theme of your big day as well as your personalities as a couple. Read this post on how to pick the perfect wedding invitation design!

Invitation Envelope Printing

Affordable

Time is money, amiright? My envelope printing starts at $1.00 each, which includes the return address and guest address printing. (You can view my full pricing guide here!) Consider the quantity you need + how many hours you’ll spend writing to see if it’s worth it, purely from a time standpoint.

Digital envelope printing is also more affordable than full on calligraphy, a happy medium for your budget if you don’t want to go all out. Which if you do, I’m happy to refer you to one of my amazing calligraphy friends. Professional calligraphy typically runs about $3-4 per envelope.

Full Service

I love providing “full service” invitation design to the couples I work with. This means I take care of everything from wording suggestions and color recommendations to RSVP envelope postage and complete assembly. If you add envelope printing, I’ll ship or deliver your invitations to you ready to mail – just seal and stamp!

Your invitations will be totally ready to go. No need to hand off envelopes to someone else, spend your weeknights addressing, or worrying about messing up an envelope. I’ve got you, girl!

Wedding Envelope Addressing

Want to see envelope printing up close and in person? Order a sample now! A sample credit will be given toward your full order total.

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2019 Wedding Invitation Trends

When I started designing wedding invitations almost six years ago, what couples wanted were significantly different than what brides and grooms look for today! Each year styles, tastes, and preferences changes – it can be fun to watch!

I don’t look to wedding websites or trend-report blogs, but base what I think is “in” related to fashion, interior decor, and lifestyle. My aesthetic is constantly changing and evolving as well and I’m excited to explore things a little differently this year!

2019 Wedding Invitation Trends

What’s Staying

There are some trends that are too good to say goodbye to – yet!

Wedding Monograms

I think monograms on wedding invitations will continue to hold strong for 2019. I love that it’s a detail that can be used throughout all your wedding day stationery and is so personal. It ties everything together without being overly “theme-y”. (May or may not have just made that word up!)

Monogram Wedding Invitation with Belly Band

Soft Colors

Even though Pantone named the bright and bold Live Coral as the 2019 color of the year, I think a lot of wedding palettes will still include soft colors. Soft blues were by far my most popular color for the second half of 2018 and I see them hanging around for a bit longer – and I’m definitely not mad about it! Along with the dusty blues, I think blush, lavender, light greens, and muted greys will make an appearance in many invitation designs!

Colored Envelopes

One of my favorite details, and something that sets my shop apart from the big invitation websites, is colored envelopes. It’s such a fun way to bring in your palette and hints at something exciting to your guests as soon as they open their mailbox. I’m still cheering for colored envelopes for all of 2019!

What’s Out

I am sad to say some of my favorite things are becoming less popular this year. Hoping I am proven wrong!

Overly Done or Colorful Artwork

Yes, I didn’t say I was happy about it. I see wedding invitations this year going more minimal in terms of color and design. So many of my invitation designs include colorful artwork (and those designs will remain in the shop), but my new collection will have much less art. Text will be complemented by lines, borders, and white space!

Super Scripty Fonts

To echo the above, I think invitation designs will have less overly scripty, cursive fonts and more text – especially for couples names! This reflects the minimal and simplistic vibe that I’m loving and I see a lot of weddings using. I believe calligraphy, hand drawn, and traditional script fonts will find a place, but 2018’s trendy swirls and flourishes will fade out.

Pockets

I’ve watched the decline on pocket style wedding invitations over the last few years. Although I find this style super fun and functional, it has become a less popular option for couples and I think that will hold true this year. Keep reading to find out what I think is in to replace the invitation pocket!

Cream and Ivory Paper

I’m super torn on making a judgement for this, but looking back at orders for 2018 makes me feel somewhat confident to say – cream and ivory paper won’t be seen much this year. Since things are moving toward a more modern aesthetic, crisp, white cardstock is here to stay!

What’s In

If reading the below gives you major heart eyes and or hand clapping excitement, make sure to download my Pricing + Information Guide for details on working together this year!

Thick Paper

As we say see ya later to invitation pockets, heavier and textured cardstock will happily take its place. Even though couples are going more minimalist in design, they’re making it count by using luxe papers. This is probably my favorite trend for 2019 weddings! Surprise and delight your guests with something special – it’s the first impression of your entire wedding day, do it right!

Serif Fonts

I collect fonts like some people collect {insert thing a lot of people collect here}. My collection of script fonts is starting to gather a little digital dust in comparison to how much they were previously used! The bold feel of serif text fonts is lending way to more and more designs this year. If you would’ve told me a year ago this would be trending I wouldn’t have believed you, but I’m excited to see where it goes!

Green and Navy Wedding Invitations
Minimalist Design

All of the above, what’s in and what’s out, all ties to this – minimalism and simplicity. I think design is growing up a bit and we can make a statement without adding #allthethings. I see this trend in our clothing styles and home decor, knowing it’s having an effect on wedding looks. It feels more sophisticated and effortless which I’m totally obsessed with. When in doubt, add white space!

At the end of the {wedding} day, it’s all about what you love. Trending or not, your invitation design should represent you as a couple and set the tone for the entire event. These aren’t rules or absolutes and I encourage every couple to have fun with their paper, so you do you, girl!

Are you getting married this year? I’d love to work together to create your dream wedding invitations! Start by ordering a sample or downloading my Information + Pricing Guide.

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When to Order Wedding Invitations

When Should You Order Wedding Invitations?

This is usually the first question I’m asked after a couple gets engaged. They’re eager to start wedding planning!

If you order too early, there’s a chance of things changing (like the ceremony time or guest list) but if you order too late, you might get hit with a rush charge. There are so many moving parts to planning a wedding and sometimes invitations become an afterthought. Because they’re sent 6-8 weeks before the big day, it’s important to start considering them about six months before your wedding.

When to Order Invitations

After Finalizing Details

When a couple reaches out to me, I ask a few questions about their wedding – the date, the venue, and the overall theme. It’s important to have the big logistics and general vision nailed down before ordering wedding invitations.

Along with then when and where, knowing the who will help get the invitation process started. Having a rough estimate of your guest list is necessary to get your invitation quote. You don’t have to have every name and address when you reach out, but you should have a good idea of the total number. Remember to count one per household, not per guest – or you’ll end up with a lot of extras!

Wedding Invitation Timeline

Save the Dates

Did you send save the date cards to your guests? The answer to this question can determine when you’ll order and mail your wedding invitations. My suggestion of mailing invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding is if you did mail a save the date. If not, no biggie – just make sure to send the invitations earlier. Without save the dates, mailing wedding invitations about four months in advance should be a safe bet!

Check out this post for more information on save the dates and if they’re really necessary for your wedding.

Timeline

The below is a general guide to when you should order and mail wedding invitations if you’re working with me. Different designers and businesses have varied turnaround times. For example, if you’re working with an artist who is hand painting artwork and calligraphy for envelopes you might need to start the process about a year in advance.

After designing invitations for five years and working with hundreds of couples, I’ve found these timelines to be relatively appropriate!

When to Order Wedding Invitations

Day of Stationery

After receiving your invitations from me and getting them mailed out, you can begin the process of ordering your day of stationery – think menus, programs, place cards, signage, etc! I can create any of these items to match and complement your invitation design.

Once you’ve received all RSVP cards back, you can finalize your quantities and send these to print! I recommend starting the process for any day of pieces 3-4 weeks before the wedding so that everything is approved to print no less than two weeks before the big day!

There are a lot of factors that go into the true timing of ordering and mailing, so reach out for a customized timeline! You can download my Information Guide for more details on my turnaround times.

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How to Choose a Design for Wedding Invitations

Browse Pinterest, Etsy, or Google for “wedding invitations” and you’ll be bombarded with MILLIONS of options. (Seriously, there are 337 million Google results for that search!) Just a little overwhelming, yes?

So how do you figure out what you want YOUR wedding invitations to look like? You have an entire Pinterest board of inspiration – but it’s all over the place. There are so many pretty options and narrowing it down to one can feel like you’re missing out on something else.

How to Choose a Design for Your Wedding Invitations

I work closely with couples at the beginning stage of choosing wedding invitations and the feeling of overwhelm is very common – you’re not alone! I help guide them to picking the perfect design and I’m happy to share that same advice with you.

Wedding Theme

First and foremost, consider your overall wedding theme – the venue, your color palette, and the wedding vibe you’re trying to accomplish. The invitations are the very first detail guests get and should set the tone for the entire event – even subconsciously telling them how to dress. (Yes, for real.)

All weddings are different. An invitation for a formal, black tie wedding at a hotel will likely not look the same as a laid back, local brewery wedding. You might fall in love with a design, but if it doesn’t fit your wedding theme, I caution you to choose it.

I don’t think you have to be literal in matching everything (like having the envelopes in the exact same color as the bridesmaids dresses), but I do recommend having it set the feel.

Blue Watercolor Wedding Invitation

Personal Style

When picking a wedding invitation design, it’s important that it match your personal style. Not your mom’s or your wedding planner’s or your best friend’s, but YOURS (and your fiancé‘s of course).

If you prefer simple, go with it – you don’t have to choose an extravagant design. If you wouldn’t dream of putting a pink pillow in your home, don’t add that to your invitation palette. Ignore trends or what a wedding magazine says you should do. The invitation is a reflection of YOU.

Personalities of You as a Couple

What do you and your fiance love together as a couple? Maybe it’s cooking, travel, or a themed movie series. If it’s a big part of your life, consider incorporating it into your invitation in a small way!

The invitation design is a chance to show off who you are as people – whether that be funny, quirky, elegant, loud, whatever! If you’re not traditional, don’t feel like you have to pick something that’s by the etiquette book (and vice-versa!)

Your invitation should reflect YOU TWO – people will be surprised if they get something in the mail that “isn’t you” and it doesn’t set the same familiar tone as something that fits your personalities!

Map Themed Wedding Invitation

Consult a Professional

Although you might like a lot of invitation designs and feel torn, think about what will: make the best first impression, set the tone, and reflect the styles + personalities of you as a couple. Want some feedback on choosing the perfect wedding invitation design? I would be happy to help you with that!

Overall, have fun with it! Interested in learning more about my invitation process and pricing? Download my guide here!

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How to Prepare for a Wedding Invitation Consultation

With custom wedding invitations, a lot of couples opt to do a consultation. It’s a good way to talk through ideas, discuss options, see samples, and check out the quality up close (if meeting in person!)

Since you’ve likely never planned a wedding before, it can be hard to know exactly what to expect from a wedding invitation consultation. Whether we’re grabbing coffee to chat in person or hopping on a Skype call, there are a few ways you can prepare!

How to Prepare for a Wedding Invitation Consultation

Know Your Numbers

When it comes to wedding planning, knowing your numbers is the starting point to every decision. Together, your budget and guest count determine a lot – so make sure you have a rough idea of both before your consultation.

I meet with so many couples who have no idea how much wedding invitations cost. When I ask their stationery budget, I often get responses in the form of a shoulder shrug. With custom invites, there are so many options – which means there are so many price points. If you have an idea of what you’re comfortable spending, that makes for a great starting point. Read my post here on how much wedding invitations cost.

Since the number of invitations you’ll order affects your budget, this detail is important to know from the beginning. A rough estimate is fine, but remember you only need one per household, not one per guest!

Overall Theme

During a consultation, the last thing I want to do is overwhelm you. Because the options are truly endless, it’s helpful to know the overall theme you’re going for so I can point you in the right direction!

I typically ask couples before a consultation about their color palette and wedding vibe. I’ll prepare by pulling swatches and samples that match or complement this. Even if you’re doing a custom design, looking through existing samples can help formulate a starting point!

Tropical Wedding Invitations

Inspiration

Usually if you’re reaching out to book an invitation meeting, you’re familiar with my work. If not, I kindly ask that you view my gallery and/or Instagram so you can get a feel for my style and aesthetic. As mentioned, if there’s an existing design to use as a starting point for your custom vision – that is super helpful!

If you have other inspiration, definitely bring it to your consultation! I don’t use other invitations or stationery as inspiration, but look to your wedding vibe, venue, personality, and personal style of you and your fiance for creating a custom design. Pinterest is a great way to gather your favorite images in one place – feel free to invite me to your Pinterest board!

When to Meet

I definitely recommend having the biggest parts of your wedding nailed down before scheduling your invitation consultation. Once you have picked a wedding date, found the perfect venue, and estimated your budget + guest count – let’s chat!

Since invitations are typically mailed 6-8 weeks before the wedding and I work with couples for 4-10 weeks (this varies greatly depending on needs!), you can set up your wedding consultation at least 4-5 months before the big day. If you have your details decided and/or you’re a super planner, I’m happy to get together sooner!

Need wedding invitations in San Diego? Contact me to schedule your in-person consultation! If you’re elsewhere, we can consult over Skype – thank goodness for technology. A consultation isn’t at all required to work together, but helpful if you have some ideas you want to talk through.

Don’t need a consultation but want to see an invitation in person? Order a sample here!

San Diego Wedding Invitations

Either way, you can download my Information and Pricing Guide with details about the wedding invitation ordering process!

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How Much do Wedding Invitations Cost?

How much do wedding invitations cost?

Well that’s a loaded question. Do you want to DIY, work with a designer to customize a design you found, or have someone creating something totally unique for you from scratch? Do you care about things like paper quality and printing method? Or is it about getting the best price?

These are all things to consider when setting a budget for wedding invitations. The cost can vary significantly depending on your preferences, as well as the quantity you’re ordering.

How much do wedding invitations cost?

I felt compelled to write this post because I’ve seen a ton of misinformation online about how much wedding invitations cost – sometimes even on professional wedding blogs. This isn’t a number you can just throw out there, because it can vary greatly.

TheKnot.com says couples should allocate 2-3% of their overall wedding budget to stationery. This breaks down to about $825 based on their report that the average wedding costs over $33,000.

InStyle.com writes that the average cost for wedding invitations is over $440. They go on to mention that working with a designer increases the cost, making the average between $1,000 to $3,000.

But what do these “averages” mean? There’s not a quantity listed with these numbers, which heavily influences the amount you’ll spend on wedding invitations. They also don’t list the paper type, printing method, if postage is included, etc – pretty important details when calculating a budget!

Some wedding websites get a little more specific with their figures:

Brides.com gives an average of $5,000 to $8,000 for 100 invitation suites.

WeddingChicks.com goes into detail with different options for different budgets. Overall they state you can expect to spend between $250 to $998 for 50 invitation suites.

Are you confused yet? Yea, me too.

The reason these numbers are all over the place is because (drumroll, please…) wedding invitations can cost as little or as much as you prefer to spend! It’s true. Just know that if you choose to spend little money, you’ll likely be spending more time or sacrificing some quality. And vice versa; if you choose to spend more money, you’ll likely be spending less time and receiving a quality product. How much to spend on wedding invitations, is up to you, your priorities, and your preferences!

Simple Modern Wedding Invitation

DIY

If you’re a creative at heart, have always dreamed of making your own invitations, have extra time, and/or are trying to save money, DIY-ing could be a good route for you.

Time, along with knowledge, are super important if you choose to design and print your own invitations. You’ll have to understand some basic design principles (well I guess you don’t have to, but ya know!), access to a design program, the knowledge to use said design program, a source for paper, a vendor for envelopes, a printer that can handle your files, and a cutter.

Cheap Wedding Invitations

There is no shortage of online vendors promising “cheap” wedding invitations. From VistaPrint to Etsy,* it’s absolutely possible to find a website to order where the cost might be even less than the averages mentioned above.

I did a test print with VistaPrint recently because I wanted to see their quality in person. I was surprised at how low their prices were, but after receiving the product I understood why – the quality wasn’t even comparable. The printing was so-so, but the weirdest thing was that I ordered a 5×7 and received something different in size. They had formatted my design to fit their size, so everything looked a little “squished”.

They also have pretty limited paper options and thin, white envelopes. If you’re looking for something cheap and quick – you’ll get exactly that. There’s absolutely no shame if invitations aren’t an important detail for you, just set expectations accordingly. (Of course, it is my duty to remind you that the invitation not only sets the entire tone for your big day, but is also one of the few keepsakes to remember it for years to come. Consider it an investment in your wedding budget!)

Burgundy Floral Wedding Invitations

Semi Custom Wedding Invitations

These are my speciality! For couples who like one of my existing designs, but want to make it their own – I offer semi custom designs. At no additional charge, you can change things like the wording, fonts, and envelope colors to fit your wedding theme.

Choosing to work with a designer on a semi-custom suite is a great option – you’re still getting the one-on-one experience, professional opinion, and exceptional quality. My starting price for a semi custom, digitally printed three piece suite of 100 is $370. Download my information guide for more details on my pricing and process.

Pricing can be highly varied depending on the designer, their business model, your quantity, and options added. You can find professionals for semi custom designs everywhere online, including Etsy*.

*Etsy has a wide range of wedding invitation options. From beginners offering digital files to professional designers who create custom suites, you’ll find a huge variety. Do your research when ordering from this platform – always purchase a sample to see the quality in person before committing to a full order. You can also read their reviews on Etsy and search on social media to get a better idea of the work a shop does! I started my wedding invitation business on Etsy and still keep my shop running today – check it out here!

Custom Designed Wedding Invitations

A lot of wedding invitation designers strictly offer custom designs, meaning it is unique to you and only you. You’ll collaborate with a designer, provide your vision, and work to personalize a from scratch design. (I also offer custom designed invitations – learn more here!)

You can expect to pay a premium design fee for anything custom and again, this can range greatly depending on what exactly the designer will provide for you. Some designers have a set design fee per project and some might charge an hourly rate. For my custom designs, I provide a quote with the cost based on how extensive the design will be.

Simple Monogram Wedding Invitations

Upgrades and Extras

When it comes to setting a budget for wedding invitations, you’ll want to consider what types of upgrades you would like to add. The options can be pretty extensive – upgraded paper and/or printing (including foil and letterpress), envelope addressing (digital or calligraphy), envelope liners, insert cards, was seals, vintage stamps.

Since each couple’s needs and wants vary, I recommend getting a quote to see what your “dream invitations” cost, then going from there!

Working with a Professional

When working with a designer, you’ll have a different experience from just ordering online. Rather than inputting your information into a form, you’ll get personal one-on-one service. I help my clients formulate their wording and advise them on proper etiquette for certain situations.

There are definitely perks to hiring a professional and I’ve shared a few in this blog post. It’s a concierge, boutique, white glove experience. You’re paying for their time and expertise as well as a quality guarantee.

Get Creative with your Budget

Overall, how much to spend is ultimately up to you. No blog, including this one, should make that decision for you.

Your invitation is an important detail to the wedding day and there are ways to make the most of your invitation budget. Working with a professional can help you prioritize your wants. I’m always willing to work with couples to make suggestions on getting creative with budget. I put together a list of  nine ways to save on your wedding invitations!

San Diego Wedding Invitation Designer

Well, that was a lot of information! Take a breather – ‘cause I can be your invitation fairy godmother. If we work together, I’ll advise you on making the most of your budget, pairing colors and fonts, and help with wording + etiquette. Ready to get started? Let’s do it!

All images are of my designs. Styling and Photography credit: Heather K Cook Photography, Hannah Bryerton Photography, Avner Road Photography 

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