A Photo Glossary: How To Choose the Printing Method for Your Wedding Invitations

Custom invitations can involve a lot of new-to-you terminology, so we asked Cecilia Torres, owner of Casa Papel in NoLibs, to break down the most popular printing methods. Her two big tips: Gather your address list ASAP—and order 10 percent more than what you think you need. “You and your stationer will both be glad you did.”

DIGITAL PRINTING The most basic professional method, but higher quality than printing invitations yourself. Best for thin, smooth or lightly textured papers. Cost: $ Turnaround time: 7 to 10 days. Upgrade: Offset printing, which is slightly higher quality (and more expensive) and can use metallic ink. Ideal for smooth stock, but can work on lightly textured papers such as bamboo or cotton.


LETTERPRESS With this popular method, the letters are indented on the front and raised on the back. It’s a traditional, pretty look that works well on thick, unusually textured or handmade paper. Cost: $$$ Turnaround time: 3 to 4 weeks. Upgrade: Foil stamping, which produces the same effect but allows for metallic coloring, for a really luxe look that can be used even on heavily grooved paper. Takes 3 to 4 weeks.


THERMOGRAPHY This method has a formal look, with raised letters, though the back of the paper is smooth. It’s very popular when more expensive methods aren’t in the budget. Cost: $$ Turnaround time: 2 to 3 weeks. Upgrade: Engraving, which is quite expensive and used for very formal weddings. Looks similar to thermography, but the letters are pressed through the front of the paper, between two plates etched with your invite’s design. Takes 3 to 4 weeks.


DEBOSSING Generally not used for the text, but rather for larger artwork, monograms and motifs. Often used without ink, so what’s left behind is the imprint of the design, for a rich, tactile feel. Cost: $$$ Turnaround time: 3 to 4 weeks.

Photography by Eddy Rhenals-Narvaez

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