Invitations are the first real glimpse of your wedding that guests see, so make sure they generate excitement for the upcoming wedding. For a checklist of what invitation and stationery items you may need, look at our helpful planning worksheets.

What’s the Difference?
Engraved: The most formal of printing techniques, wherein a letter or design is etched onto a metal plate and inked. Paper is then pressed onto the etching using two tons of pressure. This crème de la crème technique is time-consuming and the most expensive.

Thermography: A technique where ink and a powder compound are heated to produce raised letters that mimic the appearance of engraving without the cost. The text has a shiny finish, but may not be as sharp as engraving.

Embossing: An inkless process where paper is pressed between two heated metal dies, creating a raised impression.

Foil Stamping: An inkless technique that uses a die and heat to press and transfer foil onto paper, creating an indented, metallic effect. This style is gaining popularity for adding shiny drama to both sophisticated and casual invitations alike.

Letterpress: An old-fashioned technique where inked letters are pushed into the paper, creating an indented effect. This classic style has a rustic appeal and is particularly trendy right now.

Offset Lithography: A flat style of printing that rolls a rubber cylinder with an inked impression onto the paper. The printing is smooth to the touch and one of the least expensive.

Digital: A flat style of printing similar to your home printer, but with higher quality inks and greater precision. This less traditional technique works well for invitations with photographs and is one of the least expensive.

Tips
Get everything – invitations, envelopes, announcements and any supplements – at the same time. Be sure to have an accurate guest count.
Send out save-the-dates six to twelve months before the wedding.
If possible, include all the relevant dates, times, locations and any other helpful information about the area and places to stay in your save-the-dates so guests have plenty of time to plan.
Order extra invitation materials in the beginning to allow for any assembly or addressing errors that might arise. It’s typically more expensive to order them after the fact.
Choose programs, thank-you notes, printed napkins, place cards and other related items at the same time to save headaches later and to possibly receive a discount.
Mail invitations six weeks before the wedding – eight weeks if guests are out-of-state.
After invitations are sent, responses begin arriving immediately. Devise a system to keep track of replies. An alphabetized checklist, index cards, ledger or computer are all easy ways to keep track of who has and has not responded (keep in mind that statistics show you should only expect a 75 to 80 percent return).

Inserting Invitations
1. Insert invitation into the inner envelope along with the enclosure card, reply card and any other enclosures. Always remember the front (printed side) of the invitation faces the back (flap side) of the envelope. The tissue that is placed over the lettering to prevent smudging may be discarded or left in place.

2. Place the unsealed inner envelope into the outer envelope. The front (addressed side) of the inner envelope faces the back flap of the outer envelope.