7 Stationery Questions—Answered

1. What methods of printing are common for wedding invitations?

With numerous options available, selecting a printing process can be an overwhelming task for brides. Jan Osmon, of Gwin’s Stationery, breaks down the differences:

Flat printing—The simplest process that has a no “touch” factor. It is smooth to the touch, similar to how a magazine or piece of paper would feel when printed.

Thermography—Raised printing that achieves a “touch” factor. First, the lettering or image is flat-printed. While the ink is still wet, it is dusted with powder, forming a raised surface. Then, heat is applied to dry the ink. This process yields a shiny raised print that “sits” on top of the paper.

Engraving—A raised process achieved by using an etched plate or die. Paper is fed into the engraving press by hand, and pressure is exerted by a counter weight to press the ink into the paper. This process leaves a shadow or bruise on the back of the paper, leaving no doubt the product has been engraved.

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Letterpress—Printing process with an old-fashioned feel. This method has a tactile quality, even though the image is not raised.

Embossing—A raised process achieved with a die. However, no ink is involved in embossing, lending a more subtle look with bruising on the reverse side of the stock.

2. What is the etiquette for addressing the outside envelope of a wedding invitation if you are not using inside envelopes?

Address the single, outer envelope just as you would if there were an inner envelope, says Kristen Laraway, of The Stationery Studio. Be sure to include each guest's full name, and do not use abbreviations other than Mr., Mrs., Dr. or Rev. However, you will also need to include the younger members of the household on the envelope if you intend for them to be invited. 

3. How long before the wedding should invitations be sent to guests? Save the dates?

Generally, invitations should go out six weeks prior to the event. This allows out-of-town guests enough leeway to make travel arrangements, says Osmon. Save the dates should be sent approximately six months in advance, unless guests are traveling from overseas. In this case, consider mailing anywhere from nine months to a year in advance.

4. How much time should you allow guests to reply?

Response deadlines should be set no later than two weeks before the wedding day. Many vendors require a headcount at least two weeks in advance, so before you decide, review all of your contracts to finalize a date that will accommodate all parties involved. 

5. What is the best way to tastefully incorporate your wedding theme into your stationery?

Go for color! Whether you are exchanging vows near the bay or on your family's farm, Laraway suggests colored ink or paper that will reflect the atmosphere of the wedding. For spring, silver or sage green is an elegant alternative to black ink. 

Another way to incorporate your theme is with motifs, or small, simply designed images. For example, a grape leaf and fruit sets the tone for vineyard wedding. Fleur de lis and monograms are also popular choices.

6. What are some creative ways to spice up a traditional wedding program?

Wedding programs can set the tone for the entire ceremony, so feel free to add elements that will grab your guests' attention. Classic cardstock with dressed-up packaging is a classy addition to a traditional program. Think ribbons, twine, lace or whatever fits into your theme. For contemporary couples, don't be afraid to shake things up with bold colors or an eye-catching graphic. Interesting shapes are another great way to add character. Circular or quatrefoil-shaped programs evoke a whimsical feel.

7. What’s the best way to indicate on the invitation that a wedding is adults-only?

Asking guests not to bring their children can be a difficult task. But if your mind is set on a party-like reception atmosphere, it is important to deliver the news gracefully. “One bride added a line at the bottom of her invitation that read, “Adult Ceremony and Reception, ” says Osmon.

Or, consider bringing in a few babysitters for the day if you don’t want to run the risk of offending family and friends with a no-children request. Hiring a couple of local college students to look after the kids is a worthwhile investment.

Gwin’s Stationery—4513 Old Shell Rd. 344-3335. 

Fairhope Fine Paper, the website for Stationery Studio—412 Fairhope Ave., Fairhope. 990-9940.

Abby Cowart

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