A wedding invitation is the first indication your guests will have of the celebration to come, so its design and appearance are important. The invitation will give your guests an idea of what to expect on your special day, so it should ideally be a reflection of the wedding itself. Before you can design your wedding invitations, you need to have made some critical decisions about the wedding. Will your wedding be traditional or modern? Casual or formal? Do you want to have a wedding theme or will you have a destination wedding? These decisions will influence the type of wedding invitation you will select. Once you have made these decisions, you will be able to search for a wedding invitation that will truly reflect your sense of style and the style of your wedding.
Traditional wedding invitations are typically printed on a flat or debossed stationary card, and a photograph is included separately. Card color is typically a neutral cream or white and the words are printed in black ink on the front of the card. Debossed cards have a panel that is indented, giving the card a frame which creates depth and texture. This is a classic and elegant option for creating a refined and traditional wedding invitation and there are a variety of options for simple or more elaborate frames. A graphic pattern or monogram can be added to the card to create additional visual complexity. Keep in mind that the graphic patterns on traditional cards are typically minimal and simple, but elegant. Crane & Co. has an excellent selection of classic and traditional wedding invitations.
There is more room for variety and unique style with modern wedding invitations, so you can more closely match your colors or theme and express your individual personality. The possibilities are truly endless. Modern invitations can be printed on cards of any color and graphic patterns are often bolder than those in traditional invitations. You can also add more variety to a modern invitation by selecting a tri-fold card or a card with a band that wraps the entire invitation. Bands can be a simple graphic band that secures all of the inserts to the invitation, or a more elaborate band with multiple pieces. eInvite.com has a good selection of modern cards that use unique folding techniques and interesting bands. Wedding Paper Divas has a variety of cards that use bold colors and graphic designs.
The most important thing about selecting an invitation for a destination wedding is that the invitation reflect the location of the wedding in some way. This can be accomplished through graphic motifs or colors. The location will also influence how formal or casual the invitation should be. For example, a wedding on the beach will inspire a more casual invitation than a wedding at an Italian estate.
A recent trend for more casual weddings is to include photographs within the design of the card. The possibilities are endless here as well. You can include one photograph, or several, and design them almost any way you like. The most important consideration for this type of card is the photograph (or photographs) you will use. The quality of the photographs will have the biggest influence on how elegant the invitation looks, so make sure you hire a professional photographer with the artistic style that you are looking for to take your engagement photos. This can also be a less expensive option because you do not have to print your photographs separately. Shutterfly.com has a large selection of wedding invitations that include photographs, and this will give you an idea of the possibilities for this kind of invitation.
Photographs, printing, and the invitation ensemble are additional considerations that will enhance the quality of your invitations. The style of the photograph you include should reflect the style of the wedding and the invitation so be sure to communicate what you expect to your photographer before your photographs are taken.
There are a variety of printing options for the wording of the invitation. The two most basic distinctions are flat (lithography) and raised (thermography). Thermography provides a more formal and elegant look to your invitation and is a very popular printing technique.
Your invitation ensemble will most likely include more than just the invitation itself. When designing your invitation, consider what else you will include, as extra inserts will increase the expense of your invitations. Some possible inserts include reception cards (most typically used when the reception is held at a separate location from the wedding), response cards and envelope (so that you can provide your vendors with an accurate head count), and map and direction cards (these can be extremely useful particularly if your wedding will be held at a location that is difficult to find).
Your wedding will be one of the most special days of your life, and your wedding invitation is the first indication of what that day will be like. So have fun, and make it special. But most importantly, make sure that your wedding invitation is a reflection of you!