Here are some common invitation terms when talking invitations, from processes used to the type of paper.
Bundling: A great way to save money is to “bundle” your order at a printer or stationary store by having all the components you’re ordering (invitation, RSVP card, table card, thank-you notes) cut from one sheet of paper. For simplicity of design you should be using the same card stock and font anyway, so this is a smart way to go if you’re going all out with having more than just the invitation printed.
Calligraphy: Calligraphy is handwriting that is skillfully ornate. You can buy calligraphy kits for about $20 at a local craft store or ask a friend or relative who has some experience. Or you could just ask someone with nice handwriting to address the envelopes. You can even host an envelope-addressing party and divvy up stacks to your friends.
Cover stock: comes around a 110 lb. weight and can still work well with ink and LaserJet printers.
Engraving: An expensive, but classic printing process that uses an engraved block or plate to impress inked lettering onto stationary.
Index-card stock: comes around a 90 lb. paper weight and has a uniform surface that enhances overall printability.
Invitation: The focus of your wedding invitation package. The card should mention the parents hosting the wedding, the bride and groom’s names, and the location and time of the ceremony.
Letterpress: the process of printing from a raised inked surface that creates imprinted character. It’s an old process that has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. Yes, it’s expensive.
Reception card: A card that tells the guest where the reception will be located. If your invitation is casual, you don’t need it. Mention if and where the reception will take place at the bottom of your invitation.
Rehearsal invitations: A simple phone call will suffice but if you’re bent on providing an invitation, first see if the party hosting the shindig is willing to have them made. If not, use an inexpensive, plain, printable do-it-yourself greeting cards (since the number of invitations will be small compared to your wedding guest list) and print the invitations from home. I found a packet of plain off-white printable greeting cards on sale for Target for less than $5 a pack. I designed the invitation to mirror the look and feel of the wedding invitation and printed them from my home computer.
RSVP cards: RSVP cards are an additional card with the invitation that requests the invited guest to let you know if they will be attending. They run between $30-$70 per 100. I chose not to include RSVP cards in my invitations since I wasn’t having a sit-down dinner for the reception. You can also avoid RSVP cards by requesting that guests respond via email or through a website.
Save the date card: This is a traditionally sent card that pre-announces your wedding date to those who need to plan their trip months in advance. A great, easy and free way to do announce the date is to send an email instead. Sites including www.evite.com have themed emails formatted and ready for you to mail to your guest list. A cute alternative way to announce your nuptials is with “Save the Date Magnets.” Not a great idea if you’re looking to save money, but a unique way to give your future guests a daily visual reminder on their fridge. A set of 100 costs $85 plus shipping.
Table seating cards: You’ll only need these if you’re having a formal, sit-down dinner for your reception. Instead of having these cards printed, buy a pack of printable clear mailing labels (return address size), print the names on your home computer, and affix to plain place card holders.
Thank-you notes: Standard printed thank-you notes will run between $30-$70 per 100. But if you look around, you’re likely to find a steal because the product is so common. I found classic and simple gold and silver foil thank-you cards in the dollar bargain bin at a local craft store and bought ten packs of ten cards each. A good gauge to use is to never pay more than $25 for 100 cards. You can buy tasteful, wedding-flavored cards from any store that carries office supplies or stationary.
Thermography: a printing processed using a powder fused by heat to achieve raised lettering on stationary. This is a much cheaper and almost visually indistinguishable from the expensive engraving process.
Vellum: a heavy off-white fine-quality paper resembling parchment.
About The Author: Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot: How to Plan a Church Wedding for Less Than $5,000 (RELEVANT Books). www.cheapwaysto.com.