Guide to printing your own wedding stationery

Printing your wedding stationery yourself can save you money and give fantastic results – it’s what I did for our wedding stationery and I was thrilled with how it turned out. However, it took a bit of time to get to grips with finding a printer, comparing costs and working out what we needed to provide, so here’s my guide to getting it right…

Does it work out cheaper to print your own wedding stationery?

To be honest, I didn’t do a great deal of research into this, as I knew I wanted an illustrator friend to design our stationery (the lovely Esther Etherington, who also did our blog’s amazing logo!), which meant we had to print everything ourselves. However, it can certainly be considerably cheaper than going with pre-printed invites if you do your research.

To give you an idea, we had 100 guests and used to print 65 A5 invites (printed one side), 65 A5 information sheets (printed one side) and 65 A6 RSVP cards (printed both sides). This cost us just under £2 per complete set, and then you need to factor in a small cost for envelopes and anything you’re paying a designer or illustrator. To us, this seemed pretty reasonable, and we were impressed with the quality.

Help! I don’t know where to start with choosing paper weights or types

This threw me a bit to start – what the hell was gesso paper and how did I know if I wanted it for my invites? Turns out, it’s a really nice, lightly textured type of paper, and looked lovely for our stationery! I found it too hard to make an informed decision ordering online, so popped into our local print shop. They were happy to show me samples and give me an idea of the finished result. You’ll also be asked about your paper weight – also known as GSM (grams per square metre). This is how paper is classed, and as a rough guide, 250gsm will give you firm invites of a nice quality (this is what we went for). If you go much higher, you’ll end up with thick invites that may add to your postage costs, so take that into account before making a decision.

How do I provide my artwork?

Online printing sites will give your clear guidance on how to supply your artwork files for print. They’ll ask for high resolution, print quality artwork, which means a resolution of 300dpi (or dots per inch). This refers to the number of pixels in an image. 300dpi means your image contains enough colour information to look good in print and is what a magazine would use. If you’re using a professional designer to design your stationery, they’ll take this into consideration, but it’s something to check if you’re designing your stationery yourself.

Sites will also specify how they want you to provide your artwork – usually as a JPEG or PDF (a flat image). These can be made from Photoshop or InDesign files, and you should select the highest quality option listed before exporting your files. You’ll need to create separate files for the front and back of your design if it’s two-sided.

It’s important to include a bleed on your designs – an area around your design (usually of 3mm) to allow room for error in printing. Design programmes like InDesign and Photoshop give you the option to add a bleed to your PDFs or JPEGS. It’s a good idea to avoid borders on your wedding stationery. Even if you’ve allowed a bleed, if the printing is slightly off your border can be of varying widths around the page – not a good look!

Save your images in a four-colour CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) format – this is what’s used for print, while anything on a computer screen will be RGB (red-green-blue). You can select this option when you save a JPEG.

Most printers have simple step-by-step guides to uploading your artwork on their websites – from experience, both and are easy to use.

Will I get a proof?

It’s massively frustrating to get your wedding stationery back and discover a typo or that you’ve given the wrong information – especially as your printer will class it as your mistake and won’t offer a refund. Double check every bit of info you’ve included (hotel addresses, post codes, dates and times – even the spelling of your own names!), and ask at least three people to read over your invites to check for spelling mistakes.

Once you’ve uploaded your artwork, your printer will send you a proof. Don’t try to proof it on screen – sit down with a print out and go through it slowly and carefully (reading backwards is a good way to check spelling!). Again, get a few different people to take a look so you’re 100% confident when you sign them off!

What about envelopes?

We didn’t order our envelopes with the rest of our stationery, instead picking some up cheaply online. If you’re having A5 invites, the corresponding envelope size is C5, white A6 invites need C6 envelopes (it took me a bit of Googling to work this out…).

How long does printing take?

I think our invites were back with us in under a fortnight, but I’d always recommend allowing at least 4–6 weeks (anything to avoid unnecessary wedmin stress)!

How can I make my invites look special?

One of the things we love about stationery companies is the effort that’s put into your wedding stationery – from printed envelopes to twine or ribbon around the invites. I made mine look extra-special by tying coral baker’s twine around the invite, order of service and RSVP card to make a little bundle, then added cute Rifle Paper Co stickers to seal the envelopes. You could also have personalised stickers made, use a cute wax seal on the envelope (you can buy personalised ones and fun coloured wax), or pop a few sequins or confetti pieces that match your colour scheme in the envelopes.

Let us know if you have any more questions about printing your own stationery in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

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