This week I am giving you the power back. In this one little unassuming post, you are getting the tools to save money, satisfy your curiosity, save time and take away some of your stress. Yep, all in a few paragraphs. 


That’s right Bridey’s, I’m giving you the first hand info, straight from the graphic design guru’s mouth.  Tess from Smack Bang Designs is one of the integral players who continues to teach me all things expert in her sub-field of ink and stock and she is sharing with you her top tips on how to communicate with your designer and easily express exactly what you want.


And if you don’t know what you want? Perfect! ‘Cause she’s covered her favourite styles when it comes to printing and papers and you are seriously in for a treat. This #girlboss is one talented human, and  by taking control and hearing what she has to say, these tips and tricks are going to save time, money and be able to work more efficiently and effectively with your suppliers and get a more than perfect result. Because as you now know, perfect weddings come from being informed, inspired and guided by the best.


Drumroll please….. Brideys, here’s Tess! *woo, yay, applause, whistles*


You’ve heard it before but it really is so true: Your wedding invites are a sneak peek of what’s to come.


With the invite in their hot little hands, your guests receive a taste of your wedding day before its even begun. So, it’s important that these little beauties set the tone and expectations of your big day just the way you’d like!


The world of wedding stationery is vast and varied and traditions, trends and methods certainly do change. But here are a few hot tips to get you in the know:


Different paper stocks to ink up 

Consider the texture of your wedding invitation paper carefully. You dont have to choose the most expensive stock for wow-factor. There are plenty of amazing stocks and printing techniques to personalise and WOW-ify your wedding stationery that don’t bust the budget.


Use good quality card or paper as a base for your wedding invitations, even if you are on a tight budget. Your wedding invitation paper needs to be robust enough to reach your guests without acquring the postman-man-handles-my-post aesthetic that your phone bill sometimes acquires on its way to your letterbox.


It should hold up well and arrive with its chin high and corners in tact.


As for choosing the right stock, there is no short answer — the best paper for you will depend on your project. For a contemporary wedding, a smooth, high gloss paper can be just right, whereas for a traditional or rustic theme a linen or kraft finish might be more appropriate.


Here are a few of my favourite stocks:


(We use Crane Lettra in Fluorescent White)

Crane Lettra is designed for letterpress, its 100% cotton paper and is strong and durable. It takes ink well and has a lovely heft and feel in the hands. Crane Lettra is also tree-free! Bonus!



This stock has a great texture and presence. Its a perfect choice for a natural or rustic wedding.

Generally most printers stock Kraft that is 100% recycled! Another big tick for Captain Planet!



There are a multitude of different weights and slightly varied surfaces in this family. Overall, it is an inexpensive and practical choice. It also allows for super dooper creativity as there are almost no boundaries with this baby.



These are mostly made from natural organic materials including cotton, rag, hemp, and plant fibers, They are the most tactile of all, with their touch-me-I’m-rough textures.



Different printing techniques

We are so lucky to have the wonders of technology at our disposal when designing wedding stationery! There are loads of different and amazing printing techniques that give your wedding invitation not only an extraordinary look, but also a distinctive feel.


While letterpress is all the rage at the moment (due to the fact that it is just so damn good looking) it can be an expensive process. Thermography is a modern alternative for attaining the raised printed effect of engraving and is generally half the price. This is achieved with a heat process which causes powdered ink to expand, resulting in a raised letter with a beautiful sheen. Off-set or digital printing is a photo process resulting in a modern, sleek and more matte look. Generally this process is about the same price as thermography, but with digital printing you can print multiple colours at no additional cost.


Other specialist printing techniques that I love include:



Engraving is a traditional and timeless way to print your invitations. Letters are engraved or etched into a copper plate which is rolled with ink and then wiped, leaving the ink only within etched lines. The hand-fed paper is then pressed into the plate, picking up the ink, and leaving a raised letter or design that has a slight indentation on the back. The result is a beautifully sharp and rich impression. Engraving is a great way to print if you are using dark papers or if your invitation has designs or motifs with delicate lines.



One of the oldest printing methods in the world, letterpress is now known as the come-back kid. Its resurrgence has brought with it a style and sophistication of its on.

The technique of raising up/pressing down a portion of the page to create a shadow. This, like foil blocking, requires a special dye and metal plates to be made and subsequently can add significantly to the overall cost of a job.



Thermography is a modern alternative for attaining the raised printed effect of engraving. This is achieved with a heat process which causes powdered ink to expand, resulting in a raised letter with a beautiful sheen.



Digital or off-set printing is a photo process resulting in a modern, sleek look. For those looking for a more matte or contemporary feel, this may be the alternative you are looking for. It also works well for reproducing photograph half-tones, sketches and maps.



These are spot printed onto a page and can add a bit of oomph to your stationery when used judiciously (this is where we apply the less-is-more notion). They have a reflective, and ooh-la-la quality due to the metallic constituent in the ink.



A technique where metallic foil is applied to a page using heat and pressure to create a reflective area. The effect is usually more eye catching than a metallic ink as the foil has a greater reflective properties and sits on top of the paper rather than being partially absorbed as is the case with the ink. The down side of this is that it is more expensive than metallic ink.



A metal tool which punches is hole or edge into a piece of artwork to create a irregular shape in the substrate, usually card or paper. Like a cookie cutter in application.


What do bridey to be’s need to provide you with as a brief Tess?

To start with I would strongly encourage to set up a meeting in person with your designer or printer. My aim when producing wedding stationery for brides to be is to advise and assist you in every step of the way to your perfect, uber-YOU wedding stationery. What better way to choose a paper or decide on a printing technique than by actually seeing examples and talking about it in person?


Also, you’ll need to determine your invitation budget. There is no standard budget amount when it comes to choosing your invites and — like flowers, food and favors — the prices range vastly.


Wording: You’ll need to decide whether you would like traditional or contemporary wording – or maybe something in between. Its important to sound like you, write as you would speak. Be sure to confirm all names, titles, and details that will appear on the invitation.


Components: Decide what components and accessories you will need to include in your stationery pack. Most invitations include a response card and corresponding return envelope so guests can get back to you quickly. You may also need separate save the dates, reception cards, directions cards, maps, or thank you notes. And dont forget about the envelopment! This is the first thing guests see – make it count.


Online vs. Postal

Reply postcards are a really popular and great way to save money. They can be beautifully designed with a stamp to look and function like a good ol’ fashioned postcard.


Another great way to save money is a bi-fold invite with perforated reply postcard that your guest tears off and sends back. Your invitation can then have one continuous detailed design and lots of information across the two panels on each side, but by printing just one piece it cuts down costly components.


A lot of couples are now setting up very simple web pages to announce their weddings. These can be designed as well as or instead of tangible invites. Its a great way to save trees and your guests’ time! More often than not, this option is much cheaper than you’d think. You can also set-up online forms that allows guests to RSVP online and all it requires is emailing a URL link – no licking of the envelope required.


The biggest mistake couples often make is leaving the ordering of their wedding stationery until the last minute.

You need to allow production time for their stationery to be designed and produced made. You may need as much as two months or more for design and printing time, so be sure not to cut it too close.


Make sure you consider all of your components when ordering your invitations. Work with your designer/printer to maximize your moolah. For instance, if your are ordering from a larger printing company we recommend ordering announcements, maps, thank you notes and even placecards at the same time if you can.