Which printing method should I use for my wedding invitations?


If you have found yourself here, odds are that you have recently gotten engaged and are beginning to delve into the wonderful world of wedding planning. Welcome and congratulations! Seeing how you’re here, I imagine it might be time for you to get started on all things paper, and with that comes a few things you should know about the printing processes that come along with that. You might have heard some terms like “Letterpress” “Blind Deboss” or “Hot Foil Stamping” that may have left your scratching your head or nodding along with a mental note to google whatever the heck that is. If that’s the case, well you have come to the right place! I intend to break down the most popular printing styles used with wedding invitations so you can make an informed decision about which printing method (or methods) you like the best.


First up is digital flat printing. This style of printing is by far the most popular and most commonly used. This is the process of taking an entire image and printing it digitally onto your desired paper. This can be done with ink (through ink jet printing) or toner (with laser printing). Most common household printers use digital flat printing. When printing for wedding invitations I partner with professional printers who use high quality commercial grade digital flat printers to ensure your paper and printing is always on point. Digital flat printing is the best method for printing intricate and colorful designs. You can print #allthecolors with digital flat printing and you can do so all at once, making this method not only pretty but efficient.


  • Beautiful crisp colors for intricate and complex designs

  • Great saturation for use of lots of colors or big areas of color

  • Fastest printing method and most cost effective

  • Limiting if you are wanting to achieve metallic colors such as gold or silver


Next up is the age old printing process of letterpress. This style of printing is essentially how printing got it’s start (Think Gutenberg). But you aren’t here for a history lesson so pardon me as I jump ahead to explain how it’s used today to make wedding invitations super spectacular. Letterpress printing uses a combination of a printing press to apply pressure, a custom plate (or die) of the design, ink that is hand mixed to match a chosen color swatch, and paper (usually a thick weight card stock). The Paper is loaded onto the press, usually one at a time, as the die is rolled with ink and stamped down onto the paper, leaving an impression of the design on the paper that you can see and feel. Because of the artisan process and the stunning impression left, this is a preferred printing method for elegant social affairs.


  • Handmade and artisan quality will impress your guests

  • Letterpress can achieve crisp, bold printing with high quality inks

  • Each color requires its own custom die to be made and for an additional run through on the press. This makes this printing process more costly than standard digital printing, especially when using multiple colors.

  • Due to the intricate process, Letterpress requires more time for printing than standard digital printing, this is really only a con if you are in a hurry.


My personal favorite printing process is hot foil stamping. I am a sucker for all things that sparkle. Hot foil stamping is quite similar to letterpress printing in that it involves a press to apply pressure and a custom plate (or die) to apply the design to paper. The main difference is that instead of using ink on the plate, it uses a foil film and a heated die to stamp the foil into place on the paper. The result is the same beautiful impression you have with letterpress, but this time with stunning metallic or matte foils instead of ink. The most common colors used are gold, silver, or copper. But you can even get blue, red, rose gold, holographic rainbow, and many many more! I also love to use Letterpress and Foil together in combination. This image here is black letterpress with gold foil text on a double thick paper stock. Truly a sight to see in person.


  • Ability to achieve truly metallic impressions in many colors and shades

  • Can be used in conjunction with Letterpress or Digital Printing methods

  • Handmade artisan quality will WOW your guests

  • Due to the labor intensive printing process, foil is more costly than other printing methods and takes a longer time. Be sure to allow space in your budget if you want to include foil as well as getting started early so you don’t run out of time.


Another method that is also similar to Letterpress and Hot Foil Stamping is that of creating Blind Impressions. Embossing is the process of creating a raised impression onto paper and debossing is the processes of creating a depressed or sunken in impression onto paper. It is called a “blind” impression because no ink is used and it is intended only to create a tactile impression on the paper.

Embossing alters the surface of paper by providing a three-dimensional or raised effect on selected areas. This method requires the use of two dies: one that is raised and one that is recessed. The dies fit into each other so that when the paper is pressed between them, the raised die forces the stock into the recessed die and creates the embossed impression. Debossing is similar to embossing, but recesses the design rather than raising it. Rather than the paper being raised in specific areas, it is indented. The process involves applying pressure to the front side of the paper and forcing it down from the surface.

The image to the right shows a blind deboss impression of palm leaves. It is a little tricky to capture the true feel in photos, but in person it is a subtle way to add design to an invitation in an elegant and understated manner.


  • A beautiful way to add subtle or understated design elements to your invitations

  • Because of the use of multiple plates it tends to be more expensive than other print processes.


One of my favorite things to do is to combine printing methods to let each method shine at what it does best. For example I love to combine digital flat printing with pops of gold hot foil stamping. This works best whenever I want to add some sparkle to one of my illustrated or watercolor designs. When I’m designing an invitation that uses line art (like in a botanical sketch or custom venue illustration) I love to use both letterpress and foil. Letterpress takes the line artwork to a whole other level while adding foil to the text adds that extra kick!

Digital + Gold Foil

Digital + Gold Foil

Copper Foil + Gray Letterpress

Copper Foil + Gray Letterpress

While there are many other print methods out there, these are the most popular and most commonly used print methods when you work with me on creating your event stationery. If you have any questions about any of these print methods or other print methods you might have heard of but I didn’t cover here, send me an email at hello@featheredheartprints.com and we can chat about it in more detail.

Why should I send a wedding invitation?

mail an invitation

I've been asked a time or two from friends or couples planning their weddings, "WHY the heck do I even need to send out wedding stationery? Can't I just email people a wedding invitation?" 

First of all, excuse me while my paper loving soul cries in a corner for a few minutes.

Okay, I'm back and ready to address why it's best to send a physical printed invitation to your guests. 

Why paper is a better choice than e-mails when it comes to wedding invitations:

Shown here: The Penelope Suite - New from the Artisan Collection. Photography by PJ Saffran

Shown here: The Penelope Suite - New from the Artisan Collection. Photography by PJ Saffran

  • Deliver important information: Arguably the most important part about why you need invitations is that you need your guests to know that they are invited and where and when to join the party! If you don't have guests, then you don't really have an event.


  • Show off your personality: Your wedding invitation is an opportunity to show off your personality as a couple. Bring in personal touches that tell your story and fit your event. If you are a fun couple and have a fun love story, tell that with your invitations. If you are a serious couple and love structure and all things elegant, show that off with your wedding paper. Don't be afraid to show who you are.


  • Set the Tone: Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse that your guests will get at what to expect when it comes to your wedding. This is your chance to communicate many things about your wedding. Is your wedding upscale? Do you want your guests to come prepared for an elegant party? a garden soiree? A classy cocktail evening party? Use your invitations to convey that to your guests. You can literally spell it out (ex. "Black Tie" on your invitations) OR you can communicate the level of elegance by the paper you send.

What message do you think an e-mailed invitation sends to your guests? What kind of party might they be expecting? 

mailing invitations is better than email


  • People LOVE to get mail that is not a bill. I know this might sound a bit silly, but seriously barely anybody sends snail mail anymore. In our fast paced lives the majority of our information is sent and shared online. Our physical mailboxes get filled up with junk and it's quite honestly depressing. I look forward to the holidays and birthdays because I have a few friends that still send holiday and birthday cards. Nothing makes me more excited than checking the mail to find something that isn't a bill! :::Cue the audio of angels singing::: Your guests will feel the same level of excitement when they open their mailboxes to find your pretty Invitation.


  • Keepsake: You might hear people say, "But it's just paper, everyone will just throw it away"….Maybe I'm a bit biased here because I am a paper nerd, but your wedding invitation will be one of the very few remaining elements after your wedding/party is over and done with. Yes you will have your memories and obviously your photographs. But everything else will be gone. I mean, what do you think happens to the venue, rentals, food? You spend lots of money on those, but those don't get to stay with you forever. Your wedding stationery is a perfect keepsake for you to frame and display, or include in your wedding album to remind you about all the details from your event. 5, 10, 20 years from now you can look back and reminisce about all the details that came together to make your best day ever! When you have good quality wedding stationery, you will be surprised how many of your guests will tell you that they kept your invitation as a keepsake.


Still not convinced you need to send physical wedding invitations? That's okay, the beautiful thing about planning your wedding is that you can make your own decisions and do what you want! So do what makes you happy and you won't go wrong.


Enjoy your week!

xoxo Emily-01.png

Wedding Guest List Template and Etiquette Tips for Addressing Envelopes

Need help organizing your wedding guest list?

Feathered Heart Prints is here to help you organize your wedding guest list with a free spreadsheet template that also includes tips and a few commonly asked etiquette questions when it comes to addressing envelopes. 

So by now you might have started collecting the addresses of all the people you want to invite to your wedding. If you're a weirdo like me, then you love spreadsheets. If you're not a weirdo like me, then spreadsheets might cause you to break out in a cold sweat. Don't worry, I've create a spreadsheet template that not only helps your organize your guest list, but it is formatted perfectly for when your wedding stationer or calligrapher needs the addresses for printing your envelopes. 

Another *BONUS* to this spreadsheet, is that I have included some pointers on formatting your addresses as well as common etiquette tips straight from the expert, Emily Post, herself. So grab your template today and start organizing that guest list!

Guest-List-Template-Spreadsheet-free formatting tips and etiquette tips

A few pointers regarding address format and etiquette

Abbreviations - In general, abbreviations should be avoided on formal event invitations and envelopes. it is best to spell out all words, such as road, avenue, apartment, etc. As with everything, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

  • Titles - Abbreviations may be used in titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Dr. etc. 
  • States - According to Emily Post, abbreviating states is acceptable
  • Space - For calligraphers especially, sometimes words might need to be abbreviated to accommodate for the space needed to fit the entire address. 

Formatting and Order of Names- This is a big one, and there are different schools of thought on this one. I am coming from a traditional etiquette here with Emily Post as my guide. There are a lot of misconceptions about how to order and format the names on invitation envelopes. I will outline a few tips below. 

  • Always address both members of a married couple - regardless of whether or not you know both members socially, both members should be addressed. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Also acceptable is Mr. and Mrs. James Jones.
  • If you plan to include both members first names, list the woman's name first. So if you want to make sure to include first names it would look like Mrs. Amy and Mr. James Jones. The traditional reason for this is that a man should never be separated from his last name. A more modern approach is to drop the formal titles, so it could just simply read Amy and James Jones. This is more of a semi-formal or casual approach.
  • Listing children - Children's names are listed underneath the parents names. So for example it might say Mr. and Mrs. Jones on the first line and then Becky Jones on the second line. If there are a lot of children or a big family all residing at the same address, you can address the invitation to "The Jones Family". 
  • Invitations to unmarried couples - The woman's name is always listed first. For example Ms. Janet Randall and Mr. Joseph Hall. 
  • Familiar titles - You can use familiar titles instead of formal titles if you prefer. Example: Aunt Donna, Uncle Larry. This might be best in an inner envelope. 

For formal invitations it's a good idea to consider inner and outer envelopes. For outer envelopes you have the main address and invitee information. And on the inner envelope you would list everyone's individual names who are invited. So for example you might have "The Jones Family" on the outside envelope, and then "Amy Jones, James Jones, Becky Jones" all listed on the inner envelope. This also helps take away any miscommunication about who exactly is invited. 

For more in depth tips and pointers about all things etiquette, consult Emily Post. 

The template shared in this post is for personal use only and cannot be redistributed for commercial use.