Printing 101: Wedding Stationery Printing Explained

The printing process you choose is as important as the design of your wedding invitations.  From the color of the paper to its weight, what you choose can affect the overall vibe you want to express as the first impression of your wedding.  I always say this to couples, "Your invitation sets the scene, like a director on a movie set.  It will portray the emotional elements you want your guests to feel."  Every couple wants to "tickle the fancy" of their guests, to impress both sides of the family and friends with a celebration that truly represents them.

When I sit down with couples, I always discuss what options are available when printing invitations.  There are many possibilities and options to consider that reflect the couple's preferences while staying on budget.  Below I outline all the printing options available through Lauren Rachel Designs as part of your design process.

Flat Printing - $

WHAT:  Flat printing is the classic combination of ink and paper.  The ink is applied to the paper as flat and level to the paper.  This is done digitally from computer file to printer.

WHEN:  Ink printed to paper is the most common process.  Multiple types of paper (color, weight) can be used however lighter colors of paper give the best results.

TIME:  Flat printing is the most time effective and cost saving way to print your wedding invitations.  It can take as little as 5-7 days to print.


Flat Printing

Foil Stamping - $$

WHAT:  Foil stamp printing is an application of shiny foil to paper.  Heat is used to adhere the foil to the paper.  This is usually done by hand and it adds texture and a bit of glamour to any printed piece.

WHEN:  You can use the foil stamping technique by itself or in combination with flat printing or letterpress techniques.  It can also be applied to both light and dark colored paper.

TIME:  As it is done by hand, foil stamping can add 1-2 weeks to the overall timeline of printing depending on the detail and amount of foil application.


Foil Stamping

Thermography - $$

WHAT:  Thermography printing is a raised ink that sits on top of the paper making no impression into the surface.  Ink is applied to the paper and while wet, a dust is added which sticks to the wet ink.  These are then heated and the combination of both elements rise on the paper creating an elegant 3-D effect.

WHEN:  This is a stand alone process; it cannot be done in combination with any other print techniques.  It is also recommended to not be done in multiple colors or with complicated graphics.  However, it can be applied to both light and dark colored papers.

TIME:  Thermography can take 1-2 weeks for printing.  It is not a lengthy process but can give an elevated and elegant look to your wedding invitations



Silk Screening - $$$

WHAT:  Silk screen printing is a technique where a design is exposed on a silk mesh that creates a stencil.  Ink is then applied to the screen and squeegeed through the mesh screen to reveal the design.  This process can create a very clean and striking design.

WHEN:  This is also a stand alone process.  You can apply multiple colors however no more than four is recommended.  Metallic inks and papers as well as any color paper are all options with this technique.  This is an excellent option for those looking for a bold and unique design for their wedding invitations.

TIME:  Silk screen printing is a very labor intensive technique requiring each color to be applied separately and by hand.  It also requires strict accuracy in the layering of the ink.  Expect 2-4 weeks for completion of this process.


Silk Screening

Letterpress - $$$$

WHAT: Traced back to the 15th century, letterpress is a traditional and historic re-creation of a hand-made process.  It is the action of applying ink to plates and pressing each individual invitation, one at a time.  It is an elegant and handcrafted process making it unique and delivering an individually gorgeous product.

WHEN: This process cannot be used in combination with any other print techniques.  If you are seeking an exceptionally unique and traditional artisanal look that is handcrafted, letterpress is ideal.  The look is vintage and rich and the thick, heavy papers used are luxurious and beautiful.  Light colors of paper are the only ones that can be utilized with letterpress printing.

TIME: Letterpress printing is one of the most time consuming ways to print since it is all hand done.  It requires an experienced hand and specific equipment.  Expect 2-4 weeks for the printing process to be completed.



Each one of these print techniques would be unique to your design and can elevate the overall impression made by your wedding invitations.  I truly enjoy exploring the print possibilities as much as I enjoy the design process for your invitations.  If you have questions or want to learn more about these print techniques, please contact me at .........