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Wedding Stationery Explained

Wedding invitations aren't normally first thing on the wedding agenda, you need to set a date, book a venue and get your ideas for the day together. So when you start to think about invitations there can be quite a suprising amount of options to consider!

Once you have a clear idea of what you want your wedding day to be it is much easier to decide on your stationery. Do you want a traditional and elegant day, minimalist, rustic, romantic and pastels, modern and bright? If you have decided on a venue and colour schemes these can be channelled into your invitations to make sure you give your guests the best taster of your big day!

Most stationers will have a niche already, whether they specialse in hand painted watercolour florals (like me!), simple designs with the focus on calligraphy, or modern hot foiled invitations. So I would always say to contact somebody that creates a simliar vision to yours.

I will go through a few different terms that you may have come across if you have already started doing your invitation research, and hopefully help you decide what kind of look you would like for your wedding stationery!

Hot Foil

Hot foil is where a plate is created specifically for your invitation and this is used to stamp the foil into the paper so it also leaves a textured. impression. You have more paper stock options with this method - you can have any texture and weight of paper here. You can also print on top of a digital image, for example a watercolour floral background with hot foil names on top.

It is a fairly expensive process but the results are stunning, if you wanted a luxurious finish to your invitations this is defnitely something to consider.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is the main technique used when printed stationery with painted elements as you can print in any colour and is a quicker printing process with a lower pricepoint. You can use a large range of paper stocks and weights, you can also combine a few different printing processes with digital printing.

Digital Foil

Digital foil printing is where the foil adheres to ink on a printing press so the foil sits on the paper. The effect is much a shinier, reflective finish. You have to use a much smoother paper though to ensure the ink will stick to the paper and you can’t overlap the foil on top of a digital print. It is a much more cost effective option to have something metallic on your stationery.

Photo by Rebecca Richards Designs

Handmade Paper/Deckled Edges

Handmade paper is something that I have been seeing a lot more of in the past year or so. It brings a gorgeous romantic feel to your invitations, with a lovely textured feel and rough feathered edges (sometimes called deckled edges). Because the paper is made from hand, not all pieces are the same and can be available in different colour as well.

Debossing & Embossing

Debossing is the same process as hot foiling, just with the omission of the foil! The image area is pushed in to the paper and you can get really stunning results with this technique.

Embossing is the resverse of debossing, where the paper and the plate are pushed together forcing the impression up into the paper leaving a beautiful raised image or text.

Blind debossing/embossing is when no ink is used, just using the impression to speak for itself.

Painted or Guilded Edges

This is the process of painting the edges of your invitations in a colour or a metallic ink. This option is applied to invitations printed on super thick card, 650-700gsm, and gives your invitations a next level finish and definitely the wow factor!


Letterpress printing is similar to debossing.The design is transferred by placing paper against the plate and manually applying pressure, sinking the images and letters into the paper. It is quite a complex process so carries with it a higher pricepoint because of the work involved but it produces beautiful clean results.

Photo by Swell Press


This is the term that you will have seen after a number to tell you how heavy the paper is. It stands for grams per square metre and the higher the number the thicker the paper. For reference your standard printer paper is around 80/90gsm, my standard invitations are on 300gsm, and my super thick card is 650gsm.


Vellum is a translucent paper that is being used more and more in wedding stationery. It is so versatile and adds another dimension to your invitations.

It is failry thin, around 150gsm, and it can be used as an overlay so the main invitations as you can see through to the card underneath, as a belly band, or if you like you can use it on it's own!

Photo by Rebecca Richards Designs

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