5 Things to consider when purchasing invitations: Online vs. Brick and Mortar

Posted in Blog, Event Planning

When it comes to purchasing special event invitations such as wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, sweet sixteen etc., is it better to make your purchase online or at a brick & mortar business? Let’s take a look at the factors, so you can decide what is best for your special event invitations.

The important factors to consider when choosing an invitation is: color of the paper, thickness and texture of the paper, paper quality, printing method, proper etiquette, price, and turnaround time. We will need to weigh the pros and cons of each.

1. Paper Color: While online photographs can give a good interpretation of what the actual color of the paper will be, you can’t be 100% sure what it will look like unless you’re holding it in your hands. Most invitations today are printed on white or ecru stock. If you happen to order online, you may be disappointed that the white is too white or that the ecru is too yellow. If the exact paper color is important to you, make sure you order a sample first or visit your local stationer to see actual sample of their work.

2. Paper Thickness, Texture and Quality: This factor is similar to the color issue. It goes back to the photography of the item and how your monitor shows it to you. The thickness is hard to convey unless you’re holding it in your hand. You certainly cannot judge the stiffness of the paper stock. Again, this depends on how important this is to you and using a brick & mortar company will ensure you know exactly what you are getting. As for quality, fine papers have cotton content and Crane paper is 100% recycled cotton. The feel of it is indescribable.

3. Printing Methods: You might be familiar with all kinds of printing methods; you just might not know their names. In this instance, a clear close-up photograph of the type of printing should could suffice; however, when customers come into our store, they are constantly touching the surface of the invitations. A photo could never replace the tactile sense.

Types of Printing:

Digital: Digital printing refers to a printing method where a computer controls a color or laser copier or inkjet printer. The resulting product is flat printed and the quality varies due the different output devices used.

Offset/Lithography: Offset printing/Lithography is a high quality printing technique in which the ink is used to transfer the image on to the paper using a printing press. The result is a flat printed image. The advantage is that very specific colors can be used and duplicated

Engraving: In engraving, a metal die with an impression cut into the surface is filled with an opaque engraving ink then pressed against paper creating raised areas of the paper coated with ink. Engraving creates the raised surface on the front of the paper while also inking it. This method is of the highest quality and is in the high price range.

Thermography: A printing technique similar in looks to engraving, at a more moderate price. The result is a raised ink image with a shiny texture.

Hot Stamping: Hot Stamping is a dry printing method in which a heated die and foil are used to apply graphics to a surface.

Foil Imprinting: Foil stamping is a special kind of printing procedure where heat, pressure, and a metallic paper (foil) is used to create different shiny designs and graphics on your invitations.

Embossing: Plates are pressed against the surface of the paper to leave an impression of text and/or decoration on the invitation. The pressure raises the surface adding a new dimension to the paper.

4. Wedding Invitation Guidance: The wording on an invitation is important in addition to the accessories that you may needs such as: Thank You Cards, Programs, Menus, Directions, etc. If you’re adept at proper invitation etiquette, grammar and spelling, and know what you need as far as accessories then ordering online will work for you. If you’re unsure at all, use a brick & mortar business. This is a serious issue because people may get insulted by improper etiquette and the last thing you want at your event is hurt feelings.

5. Budget: If price is high on your list of importance, then ordering online may be your best bet. There is, however, a secret value to your custom invitation; you may want to read about it here before you decide where to shop.

Basically, it comes down to the type of event you are having and conveying proper information to your guests so they know what to expect .The look and feel of your invitation should be in line with the quality of your event and it will represent you. It will be the messenger that conveys the excitement of your upcoming affair. Making your purchase online or at a brick & mortar business is the first step in sending your message. Preliminary items such as save-the-dates are well suited to online ordering. Ordering an invitation suite, which can include the invitation, response cards, reception cards, directions, accommodation cards, calligraphy, place cards, programs and menus, certainly needs the advice of an expert at your local fine stationery boutique.

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