Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Wedding Inspiration Board

Happy Halloween!

While everyone gets ready go head out to Halloween parties this weekend, I'm sure there are lots of brides out there tying the knot this weekend as well. How fun would it be to plan a Halloween masquarade inspired wedding? Orange, blacks, golds and yellows would make for a beautiful fall wedding palette. A candy bar for the guests of this event would be essential!

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Determines Stationery Costs? Part 3: Printing Methods

In part three of this four part series, I'll discuss how the way your invitations and stationery are printed affects your overall cost.

There are lots of different ways invitations and stationery can be printed. The following are several examples of what is most popular right now, how they work (a very generic overview as I am not a professional printer) and the costs involved in using the methods.

Home Printers (Ink Jets and Lasers):

Home printers (or even office printers if your boss will allow it) can work great for DIY party hosts. The main thing to remember is to be sure the stocks you decide to produce your invitations on is designated as being ink jet or laser printer compatible prior to attempting to print on it. Many stocks can't be used on home printers because they jam the machines. Also, you'll want to be wary of what colors you are trying to print on what paper. For example, you would not be able to print white text on blue paper on your home printer being most home printers do not have white ink. This method works best for folks printing darker inks on light papers and on thinner card stocks. Home printers would be the most economical option out there.

Offset (Lithography):

Offset is a popular printing method for invitations. You can have your invitations printed using either a traditional offset method or nowadays you could also opt for digital offset printing as well.

There are pros and cons for both methods depending on what your needs are. For example, traditional offset is usually less expensive than digital for very large runs (500+ pages). In many cases invitations are not printed in that quantity so it may not be the most economical option. Also, traditional offset printing also uses pantone colors (PMS) so the colors can be matched to be an exact shade/hue dependent on the pantone matching system. Traditional offset also does a better job of printing on darker papers because the inks are a bit opaque.

Digital offset is great for smaller printing runs which makes it great for invitations. Also, based on the way the machines are set up, they can print a full spectrum of colors (i.e. no need to choose from PMS though it may not be an exact match) for a generally lower price. Some machines are also set up to immediately crop, score and finish items immediately after printing, whereas with traditional offset the finished pieces would have to dry and set and then potentially be coated. Variable data (such as escort cards, envelopes, etc; any items where you would have a different name or information on each piece) are also available on digital offset, which is a huge plus.

I typically offer digital offset printing to my clients being it is a cost effective, reliable and produces beautiful results without breaking the bank.


Letterpress is very popular right now in the invitation world and it's easy to understand why. The finished product is beautiful and as artisan as one can get.

The way letterpress works is an image is burned onto a plate (or typeset using pre-made type blocks) creating a raised image on the plate, of which the ink is rolled onto. The inked plate is then pressed into the paper to create an impressed image. Letterpress can be designed to use one ink or more, with the more inks used the more intricate the design.

Due to the handmade nature of letterpress, expect to pay a bit more for this printing method. It takes considerably more time to set up and print each individual item than it does for other printing methods. Also know most letterpress printers will charge per ink color used, so the more colors you want the more expensive it will be.


Thermography creates the opposite effect as letterpress. It creates a raised text. The way it works is the paper is coated with a special powder and is then the areas featuring text and graphics are inked. The paper is then heated and there is a chemical reaction when the ink starts to dry which then causes the inked areas to raise. Thermography replicates the same effect as engraving (see below) but is typically less expensive. Expect if you want more than one color ink for it to cost you a little bit more money. It's a popular printing option for wedding invitations.


Engraving would probably be considered the most formal printing method for invitations. It creates the same effect as thermography (raised text) but is a bit more expensive due to the process. Similar to letterpress, engraving starts with a plate. Instead of the plate being treated so the designs/text are raised on the plate, engraving instead uses a plate where the images are more or less etched into the plate creating grooves. Then the plate is inked and pressed to the paper, and the plate then presses into the paper where the negative areas are and the inked text and graphics become raised. As is the case with thermography and letterpress, the more inks used the more expensive it will be. Engraving is a beautiful printing option for invitations, and will come at a higher cost than other methods.

What is your favorite printing method and why?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Inspired 50th Birthday Invitations

I love working on birthday invitations being you can always have a bit more fun with them, compared to more formal events like weddings. So I was excited when Terese contacted me to design invitations for her big 50th birthday celebration!

Being Terese's birthday is in October, she wanted to do something with not necessarily a a full out fall theme, but fall colors like rusts, copper, orange, yellow, crimson and more. Fall is my absolute, favorite season (which is why I got married in the fall) so immediately all sorts of ideas filled my head of beautiful ways to capture the season on paper. Terese also loves anything Tuscan, so using the fall colors also falls really well into that theme as well.

The invitation I designed for her incorporated all these elements. I included a fall-themed scroll design in the corner, and used a fun script font for the important details. The stock colors she chose were beautiful and went so well together. I especially loved the burnt orange/copper colored backer card which matched the envelopes, which to me perfectly reflected the fall season.

Happy Birthday Terese!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Best Wedding Websites for Design Snobs

Photo of Wedding Window's Celebrity Template

For all you wedding planning brides out there, I can't recommend enough the value of having a dedicated wedding website. Especially when it comes to saving money on your invitations and stationery, the more information you can post for your guests on the web the less cards and printing you might need as part of your invitation suite.

When I had decided to create a wedding website for my own wedding, overall it was somewhat of a new trend. In fact, I got a lot of slack for it from my parents. Funny thing in the end is we had more guests RSVP for the wedding through our website than through standard mail-in RSVP's. So overall it can be a great tool for planning your wedding.

I initally had plans to design my own website from scratch, but juggling planning a wedding along with a full time job more or less deemed that impossible. So instead I decided to search for some pre-made options. Being a total design snob, I searched high and low for companies that offer wedding websites who's templates I felt reflected quality web design. Below is a list of my top picks:

  1. Wedding Window: I purchased my own website from Wedding Window. I loved that you could easily add a custom URL address to it and that the templates were not only beautifully designed, but very easy to modify and customize. They also had sections where guests could RSVP through the website for various parts of the wedding (shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding, etc) as well as a section where you can link to your registries. For sure they would be my top pick, though it is not a free service. I used their "Celebrity" template (shown above) for my own wedding.

  2. eWedding: Another great pick being they also offer a free website option. Their templates too are well designed and customizable and they also offer things like RSVP's, photo albums and more.

  3. Project Wedding: In addition to being a great resource for brides with inspirational photos, real weddings and vendor reviews Project Wedding also offers a great, free website tool. Their templates are designed by some of the top wedding invitation designers in the country. Though the features appear to be somewhat limited (for example no RSVP function, custom URL, etc) it's a great, free and well rounded website option for design snobs.

  4. Wed Quarters: In addition to having some nicely designed templates, Wed Quarters also provides a lot of the higher end features like online RSVP for what looks to be one of the lowest prices out there for annual service.

  5. Wedding Org: For higher end, flash websites I liked what I saw on the Wedding Org website. They are a custom design website service that specializes in flash wedding websites. Their custom services start at $450. Something like this would be great for a bride that wants something a little less DIY (all the above options require you to input all the info you want to see on the site) than what other website providers offer.

Do you have a wedding website? I'd love to hear if anyone has found another other companies that have quality designed templates that I may have missed. Be sure to comment!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Determines Stationery Costs? Part 2: Stocks

In a previous post I spoke about the different aspects of the creation invitations and stationery that affect the overall cost of making them. In this post, the second of this series I'll discuss how your choice of stocks (paper and materials) affects your stationery budget as well.

There are actually a few different things to consider about the paper used to create your invitations and envelopes.

  • What's the weight of the stock? The weight is a fancy way of saying the "thickness" of the stock. In general you'll find home printer friendly stocks are a bit thinner than other stocks so they don't jam your printer up. If you select a lighter weight stock it often times will be less expensive than heavier card stocks.

  • What is the finish of the stock? It's important to consider what the finish of the stock is. Is the stock smooth, textured or shimmery? Another thing to consider is if the stock is coated (which is often the case with shimmer/stardream stocks). In general if you choose a textured or shimmer stock depending on the depth of the crevices of the textured stock or the coating of the shimmer stock, you might not be able to print it on your home printer. Some stocks require a specific type of printing method in order to use the stock, so if you aren't printing it yourself you'll want to discuss and show samples of the stock to your printer handling the job. Smoother stocks are usually less expensive than textured or shimmery stocks but this isn't always the case.

  • What is the stock made of and how is it made? Nowadays many environmentally friendly cotton papers are on the market which work beautifully with many different printing methods including offset, letterpress, thermography and engraving. These stocks usually come at a higher cost to the consumer, mostly due to the process that goes into creating these stocks. Other popular paper types such as wood veneers and vellums though unique might also come at a higher cost. If selecting one of these stocks is important to you, you might want to reconsider other items such as the format of your invitation or the printing method to make it work within your budget.

  • The size of the card stock: If you are creating your invitations yourself, one thing most party hosts don't realize is how they can save money by purchasing larger sheets of card stock and cutting them down as opposed to purchasing stock already cropped to the sizes you need. For example, you can get two 5"x7" invitations if laid out correctly on one 8.5"x11" sheet of card stock. By cropping the two invitations out of the one sheet after you print them, you can sometimes save close to half the price as opposed to printing on pre-cut 5"x7" sheets.

  • Shipping the stock: The Internet is a fantastic source to find stocks for your invitations and stationery (granted you are not working with a stationery designer, who will most likely give you options of the stocks they carry and take care of ordering it for you). If you are purchasing your stock yourself, be sure to include shipping in your budget. You also want to be sure you account for enough time to receive the stock so you can still make your deadline to mail your invitations.

Next post in this series, what printing methods are currently available and how they impact your invitation costs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Announcing the Winner of our Custom Design Giveaway!

Invite Couture is excited to announce the winner of our first ever giveaway!

Christina Kelly of Seattle, Washington has won a Deluxe Design Package courtesy of Invite Couture. Our Deluxe Design Package includes three unique design concepts which can then be tweaked or combined into Christina's dream invitations.

She'll be using the design package to create the perfect wedding invitations to showcase her destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta.

Congratulations Christina!

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Paper Anniversary Gift

I've been pretty scarce lately as far as keeping up with my blog, Twitter and other social media outlets lately and for that I apologize. I've had a crazy week or so keeping up with work, having a tooth pulled and overall getting ready to leave for my big one year anniversary vacation. I write this to you minutes before leaving for my trip and I'm so excited!

Prior to leaving I just had to share with you the anniversary gift my husband gave me tonight. My husband and I met when I was a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland where I was a General Fine Arts major. My primary focus was digital media but during that time I did a lot of drawing, painting and traditional media as well. After graduating and over the years I drifted away from fine art, focusing most of my work in the digital field in graphic design and marketing. After a yard sale a few weeks ago I found one of my old sketchbooks and it's made me want to give it a go again.

So in the few weeks leading up to our vacation, I've been telling my husband how I was thinking while in Jamaica I was going to take some time to do some sketching and watercolor painting, which I haven't done in years at this point in time. Tonight when I arrived home from work, my husband surprised me with a brand new sketchbook and some colored pencils, and left an inscription in the book that reads "The future is ours... we just have to paint it together." How sweet is that!? To top it off my husband had to be all adorable about it informing me "I did some research and our first anniversary is our paper anniversary so I thought a sketchbook was perfect". Awwwww!
My husband has always been the most amazing gift giver, but this gift in particular touched me like no other, being it reminds me of the time when we met as well as imagine our future. I can't wait to use it while on our anniversary vacation, and I promise to post some pictures of my work when I return.
Everyone have a fantastic week and you'll hear from me again when I return!

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