Design Glossary

What’s the difference between letterpress and engraving?

We’ve compiled a cheat sheet of terms to familiarize yourself with while making decisions.

Accommodations Cards  If you reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests, these cards will tell them where the block of rooms is located and when the rooms will no longer be available at a discount.

Bespoke  Designed and made specifically to your requirements (within your budget), from fonts, to print method and everything in between. Whatever you want – no, really!

Calligraphy  Artistic, stylized handwriting. Calligraphy is done by hand and can be used on invitations, envelopes, menus, place cards and so on. The current trend is a more loose “modern calligraphy”.

Champs  AKA Champagne, AKA the only thing keeping a #LOVELYSOMETHINGSBRIDE sane through all of the chaos!

Crest  Crest describes the shape of a shield which was traditionally used to represent a family’s “coat of arms.” Some couples choose to include their initials within a shield to add a personal touch to their design.

Custom Stamp Design  Elements from your invitation design can be turned into custom postage stamps maintaining your theme, which would then be ordered through Zazzle, etc.

Day-of paper  Paper-based elements used on your wedding day: table numbers, menus, informative signage…the list goes on! These pieces complete your vision by incorporating details from invitations and save the dates, too.

Deckled Edges  an irregular, feathered or torn-looking edge of paper.

Digital Addressing  Addresses printed digitally (yes, with a computer printer) on envelopes in the font of your choice.

Digital Printing  Your printer at home isn’t going to get the job done. Thousands of tiny ink dots form letters and designs on paper – ideal for full color designs, tighter budgets and short timelines.

Double Envelopes  This tradition was started in the days of the pony express when the outer envelope would get filthy. Today, double envelopes are a more formal tradition where the outer envelope is addressed to the couple and then a slightly smaller, inner envelope lists out exactly who is invited, possibly including children. This also keeps the inner envelope safe and brings the look together, as it has your optional envelope liner attached.

Embossing  Your design will appear raised, but colorless – a subtle look that can work for both traditional and modern visions.

Engraving  Text and images are etched into a metal plate and then filled with ink. Paper is pressed onto the plate with A LOT of pressure, leaving raised letters on the front and an indentation on the back. Engraving is typically used for extremely formal weddings and if the paper is suuuuuuper thick.

Envelope Liners  A portion of paper is cut to fit inside the envelope and fold down with the flap. Liners spice up a typical envelope and add character to the overall invitation suite.

Foil Stamping  A heated copper plate pushes foil leaves onto paper, leaving an impression similar to letterpress only it’s filled with gold, silver, or colored metallic foils.

Save-the-date  A card sent out 6-8 months before your wedding date that includes all of the appropriate details about your wedding: your names, wedding date, city, state and website, if applicable.

Invitations  The centerpiece of your wedding stationery, sent out 8 weeks before your wedding date. Invitations reflect the tone of your wedding and can have several pieces, but we can discuss that later.

Letterpress  Designs are etched in reverse on a polymer plate then coated in ink to create a depression when pressed on the paper. Images will appear indented on the front and slightly raised on the back with a unique 3D feeling.

Map Illustrations vs. Venue Illustration  Customized map illustrations indicate directions and locations of wedding-related events (church, reception and hotels, etc.). Venue illustrations are a detailed drawing or painting of the building where only one event is occurring (the exterior of the chapel, barn, etc.).

Monogram  A combination of your partner’s initials and your initials. Traditionally, before you’re married, only the initials of your first names are used (Sarah Langston & Brett White = S & B). Once you’ve said your “I do’s,” you can combine your initials to make one monogram which can be a nice addition to thank you cards. (SWB)

Perforation  A role of tiny punched holes so that part of the card may be torn off. We often use these to maximize the information that can go on one card, especially if printed on both sides (bottom would be a tear-off RSVP card, and the top might have reception info on one side and accommodations info on the back).

Pocket folio  A “pocket” that we typically mount your invitation to the front of, giving it a little border, and then when you turn it over is the pocket which would hold your other cards (reception, accommodations, reply, etc.).

Reply/Response/RSVP Cards  Sent with your invitations, listing a “reply by” date, lines for the guests to write their names, lines to check if they are accepting or declining and food options, if applicable. We could design it two sided to be used as a postcard or traditionally it would be just one side plus you would include a stamped envelope with your return address printed on the front.

Return Address  No one wants to miss your wedding, so let’s not confuse your guests in case they lose your reply card. You want to be sure to use the same address for your reply card envelope and your main envelope.

RSVP  “Répondez s’il vous plaît!” aka, we’ll see you there, right? Set your deadline for a month before your wedding so you can get a final headcount for day-of materials.

Swatchbooks  We have various paper collections and each company has assembled examples to reference while we work together. If you are local you’ll be touching and feeling these during a consult, or if remotely we can mail you individual samples.

Thermography  This heat-based printing process fuses together ink and resinous powder to create shiny, raised lettering – a formal look without the hefty engraving price tag (which can be 4x as pricey).

Vintage Stamps  Another great way to incorporate your theme or personality into the invitations. It can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire and apply vintage postage, but the results are truly unique.

Wax Seals  A traditional way to seal envelopes by melting and stamping wax with a design. A monogram or family emblem can be made into a wax seal to add a personal touch. We do recommend keeping wax seals on inner envelopes or using them to close a ribbon, all within a larger envelope, as the postal machines are not always kind to them.