Rhoad to the Altar: Designing our wedding invitations

Our wedding invitations are here! We used four type faces and our teal and grey wedding colors in designing our own modern invites.

Our sample wedding invitations came!

Because Christan and I both do design work, we said there was no way we were going to let someone else design our wedding invitations.

We gained most of our inspiration from modern designs without all the formal wording and frilly looks. This invite and this invite are two of my favorites, with this one coming in at a close third. Christian and I are both font fanatics, so we wanted an updated look with lots of fun typography while incorporating our wedding colors — teal and grey.

Whether designing your own invitations, having someone custom design them, or ordering a pre-designed template, draw inspiration from your own wedding’s theme, colors and style. The look of the invitations will mostly be determined by the style of your wedding and its formality. Generally, invitations are chosen to match the couple’s personality, and ours are nonformal and fun, the feel we’re going for for our big day.

When getting started, as with most wedding-related planning, look around online and get a feel of whether you want a modern, less formal invitation or a more traditional invite, with formal wording and style, multiple envelops and inserts and that fancy piece of tissue paper. Your invitations should be as simple or as complex as you want them to be.

Courtesy of sxc.hu user typofi
These are the moveable type letters that are used in letterpress printing.

One of the latest trends in wedding invitations is letterpress, the oldest form of printing. Letterpress printing actually involves the traditional movable type-setting that was developed by Johannes Gutenberg  in the mid-15th century. I personally love the look of letterpress. It is very traditional and  requires a lot of work, but it gives invites a rustic and embellished look with its deep, tactile impressions.

Today, the designs are created on a computer and then printed on to plates with raised text and designs, much like how a newspaper is printed. The plate is then then rolled with ink and pressed into the paper — the thicker the paper, the deeper the impression.

Courtesy of Flickr user arminho-paper
This business card shows a great example of how letterpress printing actually presses the image into the paper, giving wedding invitations a very tactile quality.

Without getting into too many details, each color in the invitation is represented by a different plate that must be mounted and inked with its respective color. So using multiple colors can be timely and expensive.

If you’re working within a budget, thermography is another option that is  becoming one of the most popular printing methods. It gives the appearance of engraved printing, and involves a process that uses heat to join ink and a resin-like powder. The fusion creates a raised-effect with the letters. Other printing options include engraving, foil stamping, lithography or offset printing, digital, embossing and calligraphy.

Printing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choices for wedding invitations. For us, we wanted to go the inexpensive route and actually chose to use Vistaprint because of the great Groupon deals offered, which also limited our options. If I had a bigger budget, I would definitely invest more in our invites being the print nerd that I am.

Among more decisions to make: kind of paper; inner and outer envelopes; tissue paper; inserts; sizes; stye — whimsical, modern, formal, vintage, destination; format (vertical or horizontal); maps and art; layered cards; ribbons and embellishments … the list goes on and on.

Other trends in wedding invitations

Flickr photo courtesy of Johan Brook
Use fun typography to make your invitations look like vintage tickets.

Vintage typography — Use fonts as the artistic element by making your invitation look like tickets, an old playbill or poster a from the 1920s and ’30s.

Custom illustrations — Use your (or a designer’s) artistic talents to create a personalized invite.

Buying the whole package — Add continuity, and follow your wedding invitation design through to the complete wedding stationery package: save the dates, RSVPs, custom envelopes, maps, reception cards, announcements, program and thank-you cards.

Unique packaging — Take your wedding invitations over the top with unique presentation. DesignShack.com offers this tip: “Try putting some creative thought into how you present the invitations … use a pop-open can containing the invitation. Guests are encouraged to then bring the can to the wedding and tie it to the back of the bride and groom’s car for that classic ‘just married’ look.”

Next week, wedding invitation do’s and don’ts and tips for picking the perfect invite.


Wedding Bee – What is letterpress

Related sites

Draw inspiration from these awesome modern invitations from Minted.com

Miss any previous Rhoad to the Altar posts? Check them out here.





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3 Responses

  1. Brittany Wilson says:

    Abby, your invites are awesome! I love all the fonts you and Christian incorporated into the design. Very you (plural).

  2. After reading this blog on wedding invitations, I must admit to being quite disappointed with the complete lack of reference to any local wedding resources or professionals. As the owner of a custom invitation and stationery store in York Township – as well as a native and lifelong resident of York – I felt Abby should have guided her audience to some local sources in addition to big-box online retailers. Abby and her fiance visited my shop several weeks prior to the writing of the blog while searching for wedding invitations, and we certainly would have been happy to speak to trends in stationery or offer advice on etiquette for the article.

    My staff and I at Persnickety Invitation Studio pride ourselves on offering accessible graphic design and outstanding customer service to all of our brides. I hope that the author, and the publishers of Smart, will come to recognize the intrinsic value of building strong local relationships within their own community, rather than just surfing the web for advice. South-Central Pennsylvania is brimming with talented, hard-working wedding professionals who give their all to each and every wedding they work.

    With a tagline that reads “Making Life Better in SouthCentral PA,” I certainly hope that Smart Magazine will make more of an effort to take advantage of the wealth of local talent available right here in York and direct the readers to these hometown treasures.

    Melissa Weiler, owner
    Persnickety Invitation Studio, York

  1. February 22, 2013

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