Monday, August 20, 2012

4 Things to Consider When Choosing Paper for your Wedding Invitations

Photo by Kate Marie Paperie LLC

With all the fabulous paper choices available these days it can get a little overwhelming deciding on what to use for your wedding invitation. Here are four things that will help you navigate the sea of paper out there to choose the perfect type for your invitation.

Paper Weight: The thickness of paper is commonly referred to by weight. The simplest way to look at it is the higher the weight, the thicker/heavier the paper. It gets a little tricky because there are two different scales of weight, text and cover. Text weight paper is much lighter and similar to what you might use for your every day printing while cover stock is much heavier. For example, you can have 80# text weight paper and 80# cover weight paper but they will be completely different. Wedding invitations are generally printed on heavier cover weight papers from 90-105#. You can go even heavier if you want that ultra-luxe feel. Just be aware..if you are printing your own invitations, check your printer specifications before buying paper. Most home printers cannot handle cover stock over 80#. I always recommend ordering sample paper and giving it a trial run if you're not sure. Weight, as you might guess, can also affect the cost of postage. Once you start putting all the pieces of the invitation together, the weight can add up fast and so can the mailing cost! To keep costs down, stick to lighter weight cover stock and add the luxe with the design details.

 Paper Finish: Glossy, matte, embossed, metallic, linen...the list goes on and on! Finish might seem like a minor detail but it can make a big difference in the final product. Go with glossy if you want a modern contemporary feel and matte linen paper is perfect for the more classic, traditional invitation. While textured finishes such as embossed and linen papers can add alot of interest to your invite, they can also affect readability. Again, order sample paper or visit your printer and examine the paper. The more pronounced the texture, the more difficult it will be to print clear text. If in doubt, ask your printer or your designer what he or she recommends. You can always use the textured paper for embellishments such as envelope liners or bands. Same thing goes for metallic papers. Always have a proof made so that you can see exactly how your invitation is going to look!

Paper Color: Much like finish, color can make or break your invitation suite. Traditionally, invitations were always printed on either white or ecru but those days are long gone...thank goodness! Don't be afraid to use color! It's a great way to add personality to your invitation suite and introduce your wedding colors to your guests! Just keep in mind that darker colored inks print better on lighter colored papers. If you LOVE the white ink on kraft paper look that is so hot right now, make sure you check with your printer to make sure they can handle this! White ink is a special method that not all printers can accommodate. Likewise, your home printer will not be able to create this look. Some lighter colors might work on darker paper but it will change the appearance of the ink. Proof, proof, proof! Always do a trial run to find out how the paper color is going to affect your ink color.

 Paper Size: Paper can be cut into any size or shape imaginable. Feeling like a star shaped invitation? Go for it! The biggest things when it comes to paper size is whether or not you can find an envelope that it will fit into and budget. There are several standard envelope sizes and it's pretty hard to find anything beyond those (unless you make your own). You can download a guide to standard envelope sizes from my Paper Primer post here. Once you find the perfect envelope size, you can decide on your paper size! Keep in mind that odd shapes like square or oblong envelopes will add to your postage cost so if you are watching your pennies, choose a more standard shape. Printing at home? Check your printer specs to see exactly how to set things up to print on different size paper. You can always print on 8.5 x 11 paper and trim it down to size if you're unsure about using something different in your printer.

These four things should be a big help in choosing your paper BUT if you still have questions please feel free to send them my way:)

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