How to choose the perfect wedding Invitations

People often talk about luxury wedding invitations and stationery – but what does that really mean?  What does it look like?  How is it different from other wedding stationery?  For those with a passion for paper and a love of the finer things in life, here is a rough guide to what luxury stationery actually is.

How thick should wedding invitation cards be?

Truly luxurious stationery feels substantial. It is both weighty and tactile.  In the UK, card weight is measured in GSM (Grams per Square Metre). The higher the GSM, the heavier the paper.  Wedding stationery will be printed on card weighted from (roughly) between 210gsm to 600gsm - in short from thin card, to one that will stand under its own weight.

Hand bowed luxury wedding invitations engraved onto 700gsm thick card

The finest wedding stationery is usually printed on the highest GSM weighted card.  So why does the weight of the card matter so much?  Speciality printing methods, like die stamping or foil, require thick card, in order to maximize the effect of the texture these methods apply.  This weighty card usually offers the smoothest finishes, clearest colours and the greatest resistance to translucency.  Just remember that thicker card requires a specialist printer – one with presses designed to cope with this thickness and quality of card, without curling or jamming.

What kind of card stock finishes are available for luxury wedding invitations?

Before thinking about a finishing texture of choice, you need to choose whether your card base is matte or shimmery.  This is a personal preference. But, generally, the more luxurious wedding stationery uses matte card, this is due in part to the fact that there is a wider choice of colour ranges and weight of card produced by Paper Mills in the matte finish. Some of the more common textures that are available include:

Smooth Card stocks:

the most common type of card.  This feels, as its name denotes, smooth under the fingers, and works well for all colours, we hold it in various weights but typically for a traditional wedding invitation which comes as a folded card we would recommend 400gsm. For single thicker wedding invitations, ie those which do not fold, then we would recommend upping the weight to 600 or even 750gsm.

The Tilney Smooth Folded wedding invitation cards use a smooth off white 400gsm stock

The Curzon wedding invitations printed in pink ink onto a 750gsm thick card

Loosely textured card stocks: 

One of the best suppliers for a wide range of colours and textures in the paper world is GF Smith, who have developed a range called Colorplan (sic). With more than 50 colours to choose from and weights ranging from 120gsm up to 700gsm in all colours, they certainly have created a quasi monopoly within the UK and further afield. Not only do they offer all of these colours and weights but additionally there is the option to add textured embossed finishes to their papers such as linen.

Do Printing methods affect the price of wedding invitation cards?

It goes without saying that engraved wedding invitations and hot foil wedding invitations are the ultimate in refinement and quality.  Announcing your wedding to guests with the lustre and beauty of such wedding stationery shows an intention to celebrate in style.

Engraving, or die-stamping as it is known, requires a great deal of expertise.  The first step is to engrave either the text and or a logo onto a thin copper plate – usually by etching from a computer generated artwork or hand tooling it. This engraved surface is then inked and wiped clean, leaving the ink in the grooves. A press then forces the card onto this surface, creating an indelible impression.  The indentation gives a three dimensional look and feel, which is much sought after by stationery sophisticates and due to the complexities and craftmanship involved there is an associated cost to this print process which can be elevated.

A copper plate with text engraved inversely before being pressed into card stock
A copper plate which has been engraved, notice that the text is wrong reading

Another method of creating an invitation card with visual punch uses the printing process called foiling or hot foiling. Again this uses a metal plate on which is etched the copy and or images/patterns. For best results we would suggest gold or silver foiling but the range of available foiling colours is extensive. This form of printing looks exceptional on weighty card and subsequently this print method can also have associated costs.

We will be covering the print methods used for printing in luxury wedding invitations in more detail in a further blog post in the coming weeks.

What kind of elements are involved in wedding invitation designs?

The Grafton Luxury wedding invitation, printed onto textured Colorplan 700gsm card

The Grafton Luxury wedding invitation, printed onto textured Colorplan 700gsm card

Luxury Wedding Invitations can encompass a great deal of different elements. These are very much a personal choice and should reflect the character of the couple getting married. It usually starts with discussions on colour themes, whether the couple in question prefer something more contemporary or traditional, where the wedding is taking place, either in the UK or overseas. In our experience there is always the element of who is hosting the event, as we tend to find that those couples who are hosting and paying for the wedding can be work with a little more freedom than those whose parents are the parents can sometimes be an influence on choices!

The classic style has yet to go out of fashion and most probably never will.  Indeed when it comes to the finest wedding stationery design, sometimes less is more.  True luxury usually combines an elegant simplicity of design with the finest printing and finishing techniques available.  It’s why our Tilney Wedding Invitation Set remains a perennial favourite.

Other examples of understated chic:

The gold engraved monograms of the Holkham wedding Invitations with black raised printed text.

a selection of our Pemberly Wedding Invitation set, using the image of the venue on the envelope flap

Sometimes using an image of the venue on one of the stationery items such as the envelope flap can be a lovely way of presenting the location to your guests

However, for some, a bespoke wedding invitation design, entirely exclusive to the couple, is the only choice.  These can include hand-painted artwork, unique fonts and layouts, or anything the imagination conjurs!  Here is a recent illustrated design we have printed for a fabulous couple:

A beautifully illustrated gatefold wedding invitation, with gold foiled text on the inside

Finishing touches

Finally, it is the little finishing touches that add to the overall impression of something being truly exclusive and sumptuous.  For instance, bevelled edges on the invitation and tissue lined envelopes – as shown in another of our designs, below:

The definition of luxury wedding invitations can be seen in this image: showing a gold engraved text set within a raised frame on the card, complete with gold foiled edges and gold tissue lined matching envelopes

The definition of luxury wedding invitations can be seen in this image: showing a gold engraved text set within a raised frame on the card, complete with gold foiled edges and gold tissue lined matching envelopes

Or additional touches such as silk tassel place holders for an order of service (see below):

Hand embellished wedding stationery is also an exclusive finishing touch.  We often work with the talented calligrapher, Laura Gillingham at Embellishing The Ordinary, to help give our designs a unique touch.

In conclusion, wedding stationery that is truly luxurious will feel weightier, have the finest printing processes applied to it and the most memorable finishing touches.  Luxury wedding stationery stands out – even the classically understated designs.  Anyone looking at it or touching it, will know at once, that it is different from the usual run of the mill offerings.

For more inspiration from Pemberly Fox, do please visit our Luxury Wedding Invitations page.

If you would like to get in touch then we would be delighted to discuss your requirements over the phone or even welcome you to our London Showroom in Chelsea, where we have a wide variety of samples of Luxury Wedding Invitations.

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