Thinkwedding's

About Printing Your Own Wedding Stationery

 

 

Most of us don't have a lot of experience with things like wedding stationery before we're faced with having to order and send them ourselves!  We get a lot of questions about printing wedding invitations, do-it-yourself wedding invitations and handmade wedding invitations every day, so we created this page as a public service for all of you who would like to know more about it!

 

Thinkwedding.com sells a large selection of blank wedding invitations, RSVP/response cards, place cards, wedding programs and informals used for things like Thank You cards and Save the Date cards, as well as professionally created templates to use with them.

 

Thinking about printing your own wedding stationery?

 

The choices and selection of paper for wedding invitations is so confusing!  Let's face it:  the easiest thing to do is to contact a printer of wedding invitations and get your invitations printed, which is fine if you want to spend about $150 and up--way up--for the printing printing!  That's just for the invitations and R.S.V.P. cards--what about Save the Date cards, Thank You cards, wedding programs and menus and place cards? 

 

There's also the risk that the cards won't arrive on time or arrive misprinted, too late to correct!  Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the invitations read Harry Miller as the mother of the groom--and it was too late to change them?

 

In addition to the expense, if you want something unique, or you have your own artwork, your own ideas, themes and/or colors, chances are you're not going to be able to really express your individuality with cards ordered from a wedding printer--despite the wide variety of cards that are on the market today.

 

If you want to print your own wedding invitations and RSVP/response cards, place cards, programs or other wedding stationery, it's going to take a little work on your part--not much, but some.  You can certainly do a wonderful job of printing them on an inkjet or laser printer, and if you have purchased our templates, we include comprehensive printing instructions, as well as artwork to make them look as if they were professionally printed.  There will be some extra work involved on your part, though.   You can keep both the work and the costly mistakes at a minimum if you purchase everything in one place, wherever that may be.

 

If you're already familiar with the styles of invitations, skip over the explanations, but be sure to look at the wedding invitation etiquette section.  That is where we explain how these cards are sent and what envelopes are used.

 

Without going into a lot of boring explanations, we're going to try to simplify what choices you have and how you can print on blank wedding stationery, as well as what to look for in blank card stock. 

 

Some general things you should know about the paper:  when you're printing regular correspondence, the weight of the paper is 20 pound to 25 pound weight.  We don't know where these measurements came from, but paper is measured that way.

 

Wedding invitations range from 65 lb. to 85 lb. stock.  The single raised panel cards that are not designed to be folded are 85 lb.  Anything designed to be folded, like some styles of invitations, place cards, R.S.V.P. Enclosure cards, Save the Date Cards and Thank You note cards are 24 to 64 pound paper, but the most popular and easy to use weight is 32 lbs.  Wedding stationery paper usually has a high content of linen or cotton, which gives it that luxurious, almost "satiny" feel.  You can get 65 pound plain bond in a stationery store; it's called card stock, but it doesn't have the linen or cotton content, and it usually doesn't fold cleanly.

 

When shopping on the Internet for blank wedding stationery, be sure to ask the weight and content of the paper.  Paper that appears to be a bargain may not be!  Most important of all, please make sure that the stationery you're buying is designed to be printed with the kind of printer you have--either an inkjet or a laser printer.  This is the most important of all!  Some wedding stationery stock is designed for commercial printers and is actually overstock material not designed for home printers and won't print well; some paper stock prints well on a laser printer but not on an inkjet, and some paper stock is designed exclusively for inkjet printing.

 

So far, we have yet to hear that anyone was not able to get an inkjet or laser printer to accept wedding stationery paper, but you may have to hand-feed the type of inkjet or laser that actually "wraps" or bends the paper as it prints.  Printers of that kind would include most laser printers and inkjet printers such as the HP as well.  That would involve just gently lifting the card up a little and giving a little nudge to feed it in. 

 

In you're in doubt about your printer, first get the measurements of the invitations or other stationery you're considering and cut several sheets of paper to the same size and try to print on it.  If your print samples look all right, request a sample of the invitations or stationery you're considering buying.  You will probably have to pay a very nominal sum, but it's certainly worth it.  Most stationery suppliers including ThinkWedding, charge a return fee for returned wedding stationery, unless it's defective.

 

Even after you have determined that your printer handles the size of the paper well, you should cut quite a few samples of regular paper to the size of your invitations or other stationery, because you're going to need to test the print and layout of your invitations--and you certainly don't want to ruin your expensive paper!

 

There are a number of Word templates, including free templates, on the Internet at numerous websites, but it is quite likely that you will find that unless the website has a financial interest in selling blank wedding invitations and other blank wedding stationery to you, the templates will not quite fit the invitation you're trying to create.  In addition, invitations are available in a number of different sizes and you may have purchased blank stationery of a different size or layout than the template is designed for.  If your supplier includes a template especially designed for your invitation, RSVP card, place card, program, etc. as ThinkWedding and a few other suppliers do, there is a bigger incentive to make sure the template fits, and to provide several templates for different kinds of printers.  This can cut hours off the time it takes to set up your project! 

 

Thinkwedding.com sells a large selection of blank wedding invitations, RSVP/response cards, place cards, wedding programs and informals used for things like Thank You cards and Save the Date cards, as well as professionally created templates to use with them.

 

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette

 

Wedding invitations, whatever the style, can be sent in a single envelope or in an inner and outer envelope.  If an inner envelope is used there is no "gum" on the flap and it cannot be sealed.  If you do use an inner envelope, write the name but not the address of the invitee.  If you are inviting a family, the names of the children would be included on the inner envelope.  The inner envelope is placed in the outer envelope so that flap of the inner envelope is towards the back and the name of the invitee can be seen when the envelope is opened.  Plenty of people are not using inner envelopes anymore but the choice is yours.  You can use either a single, Single style of invitation with or without a raised panel (this is called embossing), a bifold or foldover style (again, pictured below), a tri-fold style and a Royal style, which is a single invitation measuring 7" x 7".  The ways in which they're printed are listed with the styles section below.

 

Reception Cards are used if not everyone you're inviting to the ceremony is invited to the reception, but you are not asking for an R.S.V.P.  Reception cards are not usually enclosed in an envelope.  A reception card is often used if the invitation is used as an announcement as well; that is, it's sent to notify people who can't possibly come.  If you are inviting everyone to the reception, just put a phrase like "Reception immediately after the ceremony" with the name and location of the reception site on the invitation itself on the invitation, and you don't need to enclose a reception card.  If you do use one, it generally matches the design and paper of the invitation, but it is not a requirement.  These cards are not usually enclosed in their own envelope.  They are placed in the inner envelope of the invitation if you're using one, or in the outer envelope if you aren't.  We have some styles of reception cards pictured here.

 

R.S.V.P. cards, if you're using one, are placed in the inside envelope with the invitation, are enclosed in their own envelope, which is stamped and self-addressed.  R.S.V.P. cards may be either single postcard-sized cards or smaller or they may be fold-over informals, and generally match the invitation in design, but don't have to.  RSVP cards are pictured with the reception cards below.

 

Wedding Menus are optional, but a nice touch.  They can be printed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper or on paper of smaller dimensions, and should be of extremely nice quality.  Look in the resume paper section of your stationery store for good quality paper.  Menus may or may not be folded over, and are placed at each place setting at a sit-down reception.  You might also use menus sort of as an agenda if you have a number of other activities planned at the reception.  Menus are not placed in an envelope.

 

Wedding Programs are either handed out to your guests at the church by the ushers before being escorted to their places, or placed at the end of each row for your guests to pick up.  Although they can also be placed at the inner door of the church, it's not as good a place--many of your guests will not see them.  The wedding program identifies the members of the Wedding Party, the parents, and who's going to perform the ceremony, as well as the progress of the ceremony, who's singing and playing if applicable, and what music will be played.  For more information the styles and contents of wedding programs, please see About Wedding Programs on our website.

 

Thank You cards, Save the Date Cards, and infrequently, R.S.V.P. cards are printed one of two ways, but end up measuring about 4.25"- 4.5" high by 5"to 6" long.  The difference is how they're folded, and that of course, affects the way they're printed.  They are placed in envelopes.  We explain the types and how to print them below.

 

Guest Book Sheets can be 8.5" high x 11" long or shorter, and are either handed out by the bride and groom at the reception, or are placed next to the place cards for the guests to pick up.  The guests write their good wishes on them, and the bride places them in an album or guest book.  We have some wonderful inexpensive sources for the albums; just send an email to info@thinkwedding.com.

 

Wedding CD-ROM labelsare used by the bride and groom after the ceremony as labels for their wedding pictures and/or favorite songs, or even a recording or a DVD of the wedding.  They are often presented to special relatives and guests after the ceremony, and may be enclosed with Thank You notes as well.  You really want to be able to print these yourself; you would be surprised how many times you have to get additional Kodak CD-ROMs made, because someone wants a set of pictures!

 

Scoringis a ridge or prefold that is necessary if you're going to fold heavy paper.  Paper has a grain, and if you try to fold against it without scoring, especially in landscape, it's going to look messy and not fold properly.  Since wedding stationery is heavier (a little more than 2 times heavier!) than regular paper, if you're planning to fold it it should be purchased scored.

 

Tissue. As an option, some wedding invitations are placed in the envelope with a sheet of white tissue on top of the printing to protect the card.   Tissue is always left loose, but since it's almost the same dimensions as the card, it stays in place in the envelope.  It is never attached to the card, and is strictly optional.  There has been a movement away from using tissue lately; it is difficult not to wrinkle when assembling your invitations, and wrinkled tissue can ruin the effect you're trying to create with your invitations.

 

Vellum Overlays. Another option is a vellum overlay, which is semi-transparent light paper.  The invitation itself is generally printed on it, and a design is then printed on the card underneath it.  Two holes are then punched at the top of the card and the vellum is attached to the card with a 1/2" or 7/8" organdy or lightweight satin ribbon.  We have included pictures of cards with a vellum overlay here.   Some vellum has been designed for inkjet and laser printers, that is the kind we sell.  Other vellum can only be printed with commercial printing equipment.  In addition, to finding out what kind of printer your vellum was designed for, make sure you find out its weight.  Some vellum may be too light to feed through an inkjet or laser printer, and will jam.  ThinkWedding sells 40 lb. vellum, which is heavy enough to feed through any printer.

 

Ribbon either organdy or satin it traditionally used on the invitation, with or without a vellum overlay.  On a bi-fold card, the ribbon can be used instead of staples to attach a vellum overlay, or it can be used along the crease, similar to a bookmark.  The current preference seems to be organdy, probably because it seems to lay better in the envelope, or when it's used for programs, stacked for distribution at the wedding ceremony.

 

ThinkWedding's Organza Ribbon

 


The Types or Styles of Wedding Invitations

 

There is quite a range of choices for wedding invitations.   It is a good idea to buy the envelopes together with the invitations as a package or kit, because sizes can vary, and the colors, especially with off-white, ivory or cream can be slightly different as well.

 

The Single or Single Panel Invitation

 

Click on image for larger picture

 

This invitation is the most traditional and we believe, still the most commonly used, and that is the single or single panel.  It is not designed to be folded over.  We have never seen this style used for anything but invitations or occasionally menu cards.  The card measures approximately 5.5" across (half of the longest side of a standard sheet of paper) and about 7 1/2" to 7 3/4" high, but may be slightly smaller.  If you took a standard sheet of typing paper and folded it on its longest side, it measures 5.5" x 8 1/2", and will give you a good idea of the size.  These cards should be the heaviest of all wedding stationery (85 lb. weight), and traditionally have either a raised panel border (least expensive) or a design embossed on the edges (can be expensive).  This card is printed on one side only.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Single Panel Invitations

 

 

The Bifold or Folder-Style Invitation, with or without a raised panel

 

Click on image for larger picture

An example of a bifold panel wedding invitations

The second type of invitation is a bifold or booklet type card.  This measures 5.5" wide and 7 1/2" to 7 3/4" tall when folded; when unfolded, it measures 11" wide by 7 1/2" to 7 3/4" tall (measurements are approximate).  They can be used as wedding invitations or as wedding programs.  When used as an invitation, this style of card--the raised panel card--can be folded on the outside as shown, or on the inside.  If you're planning to print your own wedding invitations, this card would need to be printed on both sides, so you would print on the first side, then feed it into the printer again to print the second side.  The bifold card is slightly lighter in weight and is scored so that it folds cleanly.  If used for a wedding invitation, Its weight should be no lighter than about 60 lbs., with 65 lbs preferable.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Bifold Wedding Invitations

 

The Trifold Invitation

 

Click on image for larger picture

Blank Calla Lily Trifold Wedding Invitation with RSVP card from Thinkwedding.com Calla Lilies2 Trifold blank wedding invitation from Thinkwedding.com

 

An example of the trifold style of wedding invitation

Gatefold Bride & Groom Blank Wedding Invitation

Z-fold Pursefold Gatefold Gatefold

These are pictures of tri-fold cards.  Typical measurements are 11" to 14" wide and 7 1/2" to 8 1/2" tall and may be used as a wedding invitation, as a wedding program.  The Gatefold invitations fold to meet in the center as shown so that the finished size is the same as a single or bifold invitation (5.5" x 7 3/4"); other types of tri-folds fold so that the two flaps overlap, making the finished invitation or program about 4" or less wide by 7 1/2" to 8 1/2" tall.  Although this card can be sent without a closure, the gatefold card that is third from the left has been sealed with a decal.  Narrow ribbons wrapped around the entire cards and fastened with a knot or bow are also a delightful option.  This card should be at least 32 lb. to 65 lb weight, and must be scored vertically in two places to fold properly.

 

We have never seen this style available as a raised border, but we have seen printing and embossing on the two "flaps" of the card.  If you're planning to print this style yourself, it will need to be printed on both sides and can be challenging to set up properly without a premade template.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Trifold Wedding Invitations

 

The Royal Style Invitation

 

Click on image for larger picture

An example of the Royal Style of wedding invitation This is a relatively recent style of invitation, and can also be used as wedding menus.  It measures 7" x 7", so it's perfectly square.  It's printed on one side only and is not designed to be folded.  It should be of the heaviest weight, approximately 85 lbs.  It may or may not have a raised panel or embossing--that depends on the style.  Only the invitation is square; matching R.S.V.P. and reception cards are a rectangle, and of standard size.

 

A disadvantage of this style of card is the post office now charges an additional $.10 postage in the United States to mail it.  That fact is too often not mentioned by suppliers.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Royal Style Invitations

 

The Marquis Style Invitation

 

Click on image for larger picture

Blank Marquis Wedding Invitation This card has the same specifications as the Royal style of card.  That is, it is not designed to be folded, it should be of a heavier weight (65 to 85 lbs.), it is only printed on one side, and is perfectly square.  The difference is that it is slightly smaller--between 5.25" x 5.25" and 6.25" and 6.25", and therefore it does not cost extra to mail.  The marquis invitations shown were printed on an ink jet printer with ThinkWedding's wedding invitation templates.

 

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Marquis Wedding Invitations

 

The Translucent Invitation

 

Click on image for larger picture

Blank Translucent wedding invitation with silver foil border

Marquis translucent invitation

Blank Translucent Wedding Invitation - Embossed Floral Wrap Kit

Gatefold "wrap" invitation

Silver hearts on a translucent single blank wedding invitation

Single translucent invitation

"Words of Love" Royal-sized translucent blank wedding invitations

Royal translucent invitation

 

Translucent invitations are a relative recent introduction, and have proven very popular.  They are available in all the sizes above; that is, in single invitations, bifold or booklet invitation, marquis invitations, royal invitations, and trifold or gatefold invitations.  In addition, an invitation with a design on solid paper with vellum included can also be called a translucent--even thought the invitation itself is not in fact translucent!

 

Pictured on the upper left is a marquis invitation; the second from the left is an example of a gatefold invitation.  The paper is in fact not translucent; there is a vellum enclosure on the inside, and that makes it translucent. This invitation comes as a kit that includes the vellum as well as the the organza ribbon. 

 

The invitation pictured third from the left is a single translucent invitation.  The invitation itself is translucent  The invitation pictured on the right is a royal translucent invitation; the paper is solid, but it includes a sheet of vellum as well as the organza ribbon to attach it.

 

Before ordering these blank translucent invitations, it is wise to request a sample, but some of them are not recommended for inkjet printers.  For instance, the single invitation pictured above is recommended for laser printing only, but a customer of ours who ordered several samples and then ordered 250 invitations and RSVP cards informed us that she had no trouble with her inkjet printer--she just sent it on glossy, which is designed to print slower to allow the ink to dry.  When considering purchasing translucent invitations for handmade wedding invitations from any vendor, it is wise to request several samples first.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Translucent Wedding Invitations

 

Reception and R.S.V.P. Cards

 

Click on image for larger picture

An example of an RSVP card

Single card

An example of an informal size of wedding stationery

Informal type card

An example of a 4-up RSVP paneled card

4-up single cards

ThinkWedding's Blank Place Cards and Blank R.S.V.P. Cards

 

The R.S.V.P. and reception card is essentially the same card.  Both cards are invitations to the reception after the ceremony; however a reception card does not require a response, and the R.S.V.P. card does.  For that reason, the R.S.V.P. card should be sent with the invitation enclosed in its own stamped, self-addressed envelope, while the same card, if used as a reception card, does not require an envelope--it is not designed to be returned.  If all of your wedding guests are to be invited to the reception as well, you might also consider adding a line or lines to your invitation at the end that says:

 

Reception following the ceremony

Lakeview Country Club

3516 Lake Shore Drive

Willamette, IL

 

This is an acceptable social form, and allows you to omit the reception card entirely, you are not asking for an R.S.V.P. and wish to leave out a reception card, or if your R.S.V.P. card is rather small and you wish to conserve space.

 

R.S.V.P. or reception cards can be either single, shown on the left and right or a fold-over informal as shown in the center. These cards measure approximately 3" by 5", but may be smaller.  If you are using an inner and outer envelope for your invitations, these cards should be placed in the inner envelope with your invitation.   We have also seen reception cards that were business card size rather than post card size as shown above, because they did not need to be mailed.  Regardless of size, they do not need to match the style of the wedding invitation. 

 

If you're planning on printing these yourself, the single cards can come either as single cards as shown on the extreme left or in sheets of four (known as 4-up), as shown on the right.  If you have purchased your cards in sheets, make sure that they are microperforated, so that when they're separated after printing they don't have irregular edges.  They would be printed on one side only.  Fold-over informals can be printed on one side or both sides, depending on the design.

 

Thank You cards, Save the Date Cards, Rehearsal Dinner Invitation Cards

Click on image for larger picture

 

These cards have traditionally been called informals, and may or may not match the wedding invitations.  Informals measure about 5"x 7" open and 3.5" x 5" folded, and should be about 28 to 32 lb. in weight.  These cards may also be purchased with printing on the front, but if purchased that way, you lose the flexibility of using the same card for RSVP/response cards, as well as Save the Date and Thank You cards--just change the wording on the front!  With enough cards and your templates, you could actually use them right up to your birth announcements!  We have also seen them used as informal wedding invitations, but if used that way, they should be of the heavier weight (32 lbs), and only for the most informal of weddings, where an RSVP is not required. 

 

These cards are scored for folding.  If the cards are not preprinted on the front (with Save the Date, or Thank You, for instance), you will need to be print them on both sides.  While the embossing is usually on the front of the card as shown, if you're using them for an informal wedding invitation, the design may be folded in, so that the embossing is actually on the inside of the card when opened.

Blank Place Cards

 

Click on image for larger picture

An example of a single-style paneled place card

An example of a single place card

An example of a six-up place card sheet

 

All place cards can be placed either on a table near the entrance at the reception or at individual places.  We would recommend a table at the entrance, to save the guests having to mill around the reception area trying to find their cards, however if you wish to do it this way, you can certainly put a seating chart near the entrance and the cards at the individual places.

 

Print you own place cards come in a couple of different sizes, styles and weights.  The first kind, not pictured, is the size of a business card, and does not fold over.  The second and more common card is a fold over card that resembles an informal, but is smaller. 

 

The first card pictured on the left is printed as an individual card, is about 32 lbs in weight and is slightly larger than the other two.  The two pictures next to it are actually of the same card; the first view is of the card detached from its sheet, and the second view (the place card sheet on the right) is of the cards before they are printed. 

 

The middle card is a little lighter in weight and is slightly smaller, but of course, is less expensive than the one on the left.  The place card pictured in the center and right comes in sheets of six, and is printed six at a time.  Such a card can be tricky and time consuming to set up unless your supplier provides premade templates as ThinkWedding does, but prints quite nicely on a laser or inkjet printer, and of course, it prints six at a time.  The individual cards may be tricky to feed into your printer; you should definitely test this by creating sheets of paper of the same size before you order them.  It is also quite acceptable to write on these cards rather than print on them; many couples also have place cards printed by a calligrapher.

 

ThinkWedding's Blank Place Cards

 


Wedding Programs

 

Please see About Wedding Programs

ThinkWedding's Blank Wedding Programs

 

 


Wedding Menus

If a wedding menu is used at all, it is usually a single 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of good quality bond or parchment paper.  It may be folded or unfolded.

 


Vellum Overlays

 

An example of a card with a vellum overlay

 

This is a sheet of unprinted vellum lying on top of a single invitation.

An example of a single wedding invitation with the design on the vellum overlay and the words printed on the card

 

This single invitation has the design printed on the invitation, and the words printed on the vellum.  It is tied with an organza ribbon, which lays nicely in an envelope.  The template is from our

 Invitation Template Collection

An example of a translucent bifold wedding invitation with ribbon attachment

 

This is another single invitation with the design (could be a picture of the couple) printed on the invitation, and tied with a narrow satin ribbon.  A bow would probably crush in an envelope.

An example of a single card with vellum overlay unprinted.

 

This is another view of a sheet of vellum, this time attached to the invitations.  Note that it is typically slightly smaller than the invitation itself.  Although it can be the same size, it is much easier to align if it is slightly smaller.

 

A vellum overlay can be a lovely addition to an invitation.  Vellum comes in sizes to accommodate the single, Bifold, Trifold, royal and marquis size of invitation.  In addition, you can purchase vellum in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets and use it as the inner sheet in a wedding program.  As shown in the third picture from the left, it can be attached with a narrow ribbon, organdy ribbon or metallic cord.  The vellum can be the same size as the card or slightly smaller.

 

There are some things to watch out for when purchasing vellum, however.  There are several different types, weights and characteristics sold, and unless you ask, it can be difficult to determine if you have the right one.  Some vellum is designed exclusively for commercial printing, some is designed for inkjet printers only, some for only laser printers, and some is manufactured for both inkjet and laser printers.  Its weight must be substantial enough to go through these printers without jamming or tearing.  

 

Vellum can be tricky to lay out; if the design is too "busy" your guests will be unable to read the invitation without lifting the vellum.  The invitation can be printed on the card with a design in back, or the invitation can be printed on the card itself, with the design on the vellum.  We recommend that the design not overlay the words, as it is in the third picture from the left.  You can see that a guest might have difficulty reading the words of the invitation.  If your invitation's design could be printed on one card without overlaying, it is possible to use a vellum overlay as well, and will look charming when there is an overlay.  Please also keep in mind that if you had ordered this treatment from a commercial printer, vellum overlays could not be engraved (raised), which skirts the issue of a homemade wedding invitation.

 

ThinkWedding's Vellum for Inkjet and Laser Printers

 

We hope that these explanations and illustrations have been of some use to you.  Good luck!

 

 

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