I’ve got a bit of a mammoth post for you today! I’m always looking for ways to make working with me as simple and stress-free as possible. I know how overwhelming things can be when you’re newly engaged. Supplier websites are often full of terms and phrases you’ve never heard before. All you want to do is order some invitations and you’re left wondering what letterpress printing is!
With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a glossary of wedding stationery terms to guide you through the process! Although they’re listed in alphabetical order, it’s not quite a complete A-Z. Hopefully, I’ve covered all bases, but do get in touch if there’s something I’ve missed.
Glossary of Wedding Stationery Terms
Belly Bands – A stylish belly band is the perfect finishing touch for your invitation suite. They’re available in a variety of width, paper type and wight, shape and texture. As well as holding your invitations together, belly bands add a beautiful touch of luxury.
Blind Embossing – Blind embossing is a method of creating raised logos or characters on paper without ink. The process uses two metal dies – one with the raised logo or characters and another with matching but recessed logo or characters. When a sheet of paper is pressed between these dies, blind embossing occurs. This process is available for bespoke designs.
Calligraphy – Calligraphy is the art of producing decorative handwriting or lettering with a pen or brush. Although I don’t provide this service in-house, I do partner with some incredible calligraphers on bespoke projects.
Concertina Invitation – A concertina or tri-fold invitation comes together in a zig-zag shape. This format is ideal if you have lots of important information to give your guests. You can even create a tear-off RSVP at the bottom. Take a look at my Boho Festival collection to see an example of this style.
Digital Printing – Digital printing involves a computer telling the printing machine how to create the image on paper. The digital printer will analyse this image and print it directly onto your chosen surface. Digital printers are usually inkjet or toner-based printers. The inkjet printer produces your image by mapping out minuscule droplets of ink onto your chosen paper surface. Toner-based printers use a fine, plastic based powder to produce dots smaller than that of the Inkjet.
Envelope Liner – A beautiful finishing touch for your envelopes is to have them lined. It creates a weightier feel and allows you to add extra interest by including a pretty pattern or bespoke monogram.
Escort Cards – Escort cards are little cards printed with the name of a guest and the table they’re sitting at. An escort card lets them choose which seat they sit on at their specific table and who they sit next to. This makes them perfect for more informal weddings. Escort cards aren’t something I offer as standard, but they can form part of a bespoke order.
Foiling – Foil printed wedding stationery is available in a myriad of different finishes – from various golds, coppers and silvers right through to black, white, transparent and even holographic!
I favour hot foil printing as I love the high-quality finish. A metal plate of the design is made and then pressed into the cardstock to create an embossed impression and foil finish. The entire process is done by hand using a press machine. It’s very time-consuming, so hot foil printing can be expensive, but it does offer the best quality finish.
Digital foil is an option, but you’ll need to enquire directly for prices. The process is cheaper, so digital foil is generally what you’ll find on mass produced greetings cards. The foil has a flat finish, more like a foil transfer. This can leave it susceptible to marks or mottling and requires the use of a shinier, smoother card.
Gatefold – Gatefold invitations open from the middle outwards. They can have a vertical or horizontal opening to reveal your wedding details on the inside.
GSM – GSM is an acronym standing for ‘Grams per Square Meter’. It tells print buyers and print suppliers about the quality of paper being ordered. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper.
Invitation Suite – An invitation suite is all the different elements of a wedding invitation. This might include the invite itself, an information booklet, map/directions and a response card. The suite is often kept together with a belly band, vellum wrap or ribbon.
Letterpress Printing – Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing where the text or image is on a raised surface similar to a rubber stamp. Ink is applied to the raised surface and then paper is pressed directly against it leaving a tactile, visual impression. This high-end, luxurious finish is available on bespoke designs.
Map Cards – A map card is a great piece of extra info to include in your wedding invitations for any friends and family travelling from another part of the country. They typically outline major roads and landmarks in a graphical way.
Monogram – A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters to form one symbol. I can create a bespoke monogram from a couple’s initials to be used throughout their invitation suite.
Order of Day – An Order of the Day is generally a small booklet, single card, or large board placed at the front of the venue. It features a brief run-down of the day ahead, telling guests what to expect and when things are likely to happen.
Order of Service – Your Order of Service usually takes the form of a full booklet designed to guide your guests through the various stages of a church ceremony. As well as bible readings, music and hymns, it contains any wording guests are expected to say aloud during the service.
Place Cards – Your place cards indicate where guests should sit during the wedding breakfast. They’re printed with guests’ names and displayed as part of the place settings at each table.
Save the Dates – Save the date cards are used to announce the date of your wedding and let guests know they’re invited. They’re then able to pop the date in their diary and make plans around it. Traditionally, save the date cards are sent roughly 9-12 months before the wedding, giving guests plenty of notice to book time off work, research accommodation, arrange childcare, and save money.
Script Fonts – Script fonts are typefaces that look like handwriting or calligraphy. They range from classic, flowing scripts perfect for elegant designs to light-hearted fonts with rounded forms and a fresh, modern look.
Seating Chart – Also called a table plan, this is simply a list of each table that also depicts who is sitting where. Traditionally, table plans have been printed on a board and displayed on an easel, usually at the entrance to the reception room. Nowadays, I create lots of impactful, unique installations designed to do the same job, such as hanging hoops and fabric banners. Find bespoke table plan inspiration here.
Table Names / Numbers – Identifying the name or number of each table, these items are usually printed on a single card and displayed alongside your floral centrepieces and/or other decorative details.
Vellum Wraps – Vellum wraps are made from thick translucent paper similar to the tracing paper used for technical drawing. As the name suggests, they wrap around the rest of your invitation. We can add even more texture and detail by printing directly on to the vellum wrap, sealing it with a wax seal, or finishing with ribbon.
Wax Seal – Wax seals are available in an array of colours and can be used to seal your invitations or the envelopes. Seals can be blank or personalised with a bespoke monogram.
Modern Prairie – Yeti Photography
Boho Luxe – Helen Lisk Photography
Boho Festival and Italian Romance – Clare Kinchin Photography