One of the most common questions brides ask me in regards to wedding invitation printing processes and styles is “What’s the difference?” There are a number of different printing processes that vary in cost and elegance for you to choose from. This is a guide that covers some of the most popular wedding invitation printing processes.
Digital Offset Printing
Digital printing is similar to flat printing but delivers high resolution digital color and is idea for photographs and images. Most digital printing services offer print quality that is similar to flat, offset printing.
Flat Offset Printing
With Offset or Flat Printing, the ink appears to lay flat atop the paper. It is less expensive than engraving or thermography and creates a less formal look.
With thermography printing a resin is applied to the wet ink resulting in a raised three dimensional effect and is a less expensive alternative to engraving. If you are creating DIY wedding invitations, consider purchasing a heat embossing kit that includes an embossing powder and heat tool for a similar look.
Embossing creates a raised impression by pressing the paper between two heated metal dies. The embossed affect is formed without ink or foil and produces an indented look. Embossing is ideal for elegant design motifs to add a bit of texture to your invitations.
Foil stamping uses heat and pressure to press a shinny foil onto your wedding invitation and is used to make complex images and prints.3
Letterpress printing uses a plate, which is inked, to create an impression, or indentation, in the paper, creating an interesting textural element creating lots of texture and contrast. Because of the labor and creation of the plates involved, letterpress printing can be very pricey.
Engraved invitations have a very distinct look and feel. This process is one of the most expensive printing processes available. The paper is pressed against a metal plate, causing the printing press to raise the letters on the paper. The letters in a matte ink finish produces an indentation on the reverse.
Calligraphy & Hand Written Wedding Invitations
Historically, wedding invitations were hand written unless the length of the guest list made this impractical. Because destination weddings tend to have smaller guest lists, I think hand written invitations are a wonderful and incredibly personal way to invite your guests to share in the celebration on your special day.
Calligraphy is considered the most elegant way to prepare your wedding invitations and involves a professional calligrapher handwriting each piece. Professional calligraphers usually charge by the hour and as such, this type of invitation can be very costly.
However, even if your penmanship is not the greatest, you might consider doing it yourself. As long as your invitation is carefully written and your handwriting is legible, guests will be honored that you took the time to invite them in this manner. There are many invitation supply companies that sell pre-cut invitation paper and stationary in a variety of colors, or if you see an invitation design that you like, consider ordering blank invitations.
For more information about designing your destination wedding invitations, check out the Destination Wedding Invitation How to Guide.