Wedding Stationery Glossary of Terms

A glossary of terms when it comes to the world of wedding stationery and wedding stationery printing.

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Wedding Stationery Glossary

A neat little 'wrap' that holds your wedding invitation and enclosures all in place. They can vary from ribbon or twine to printed or laser cut paper. They're sometimes personalised too.

Usually found in pocketfold wedding invitations, enclosures are additional information cards or sheets included with the invitation. They're included so that the wedding invitation can remain simple and not be too cluttered with information.

Enclosures vary from wedding to wedding and can include (either together or separately) things like maps, menu choices, accommodation and additional information you wish to keep separately to the main wedding invitation.

Enclosures are usually smaller than the invitation itself and bundled together with the invitation as a little 'parcel' or enclosed in an Enfolio pocketfold wedding invitation.

You're newly engaged, and you'd like to celebrate! These invitations are for your engagement celebration and for those you intend to invite to your wedding.

An invitation for those guests invited to the evening reception only giving them all the details they need to attend such as date, time and venue.

The style of text used for your stationery. Some fonts are open source, and some require licenses.

Traditionally your wedding guest book is a hardbound book for the wedding guests to write individual messages to the couple on the day. Usually passed around the guests under the supervision of the Chief Bridesmaid, Usher or the Best Man.

There are many alternative ideas for wedding guest books from fingerprint trees, to signing frames or wooden hearts fro the guest to sign.

The Chief Bridesmaid traditionally organises hen party invites, or Best Man for the stag these invitations cover all the details for a top hen party or stag do.

An Order of Service is for a religious ceremony where an Order of Ceremony is for a civil ceremony.

These booklets or programs are for your guests to follow the proceedings without hiccups and having to find hymns or songs in hymn books or via a screen.

They detail the order of the day at the wedding and what is happening at any one time. They describe readings and authors, hymns and songs and those reading/singing. Always remember that if you're printing the lyric to songs/hymns etc. under copyright, unless your venue has its license, then you should obtain the necessary permissions and pay any associated fees.

The booklets often include details of the Bridal party and sometimes dedications to those not able to share in the celebrations.

You can find an order of service template here.

The wedding order of the day is usually a timeline or 'schedule' of the events of the wedding day for the guests, e.g. drinks reception at 1 pm, the wedding breakfast at 2 pm etc. It can be presented in various ways such as on notice boards, cards and chalkboards. By listing the approximate timings, it helps make sure your guests don't miss anything on the big day.

A design created from the initials of the couple.

This can be used on the wedding invitations and the stationery suite.

Monograms are particularly used for embossed stationery and also for making wax seals.

A simple little informative card (usually freestanding but it can also be a tag) that denotes your guests seat at the table.

A separate enclosure often, known as RSVP cards, response cards or reply cards, are little cards are invaluable in your wedding planning. 'RSVP' stands for 'Respondez S'Il Vous Plait' which is French for 'Please Respond'.

They encourage your guests to reply (and give you an excuse to chase up if you include a reply date). They often include menu choices and notes on special dietary requirements too.

Save The Dates cards or Save the Day cards are sent before the wedding invitation. Their purpose is to let your guests know the date of the wedding in advance so that they can 'keep the date free'.

All the formal information to do with the wedding (time, venue etc.) are given in the wedding invitation. They're particularly useful for long engagements, weddings abroad or for families who live some distance and may have to plan travel for the wedding.

There are heaps of save the date ideas online; our save the date templates can be found here.

Vary hugely in design but are mainly labels for your tables to guide your guest to the right table. Traditionally tables are only numbered but now often follow the theme of the wedding or something unique to the couple such as football teams, places visited, sweets, famous bands or music.

Wedding post boxes are a tall decorative box matching the rest of the wedding stationery for your guests to 'post' their wedding cards and wishes. It's often displayed near to the wedding cake or guest book for ease; it helps the guests to have a safe place to post their cards on the day.

Wedding post boxes can be made to match your wedding invitations, or they can be hired.

They're most popular as wedding favour boxes but can also be pouches or bags. They contain little gifts or keepsakes for the wedding guests as a memento of the day and can double up as place settings or place cards and match the wedding stationery. They also serve as part of the wedding table decoration.

Most couples give chocolate wedding favours as they're universally appreciated by the guests!

Your wedding invitation includes all the information your guests require to attend the wedding such as the date, time and venue. It's important to distinguish whether guests are invited to just the wedding ceremony and the evening reception. The wedding invitation can also stipulate the dress code for the big day.

It's critical details are timings so that the guests arrive in plenty of time.

You can find wedding invitation ideas on our recipes page here:

Wedding menus list the menu for the guests. Did you know that the 'Wedding Breakfast' is known as such because it's the first meal the couple take together after their wedding?

A wedding menu is appreciated by the guests to remind them of their choices or the set menu. They can also be made to serve as place cards too.

Your table plan or seating plan (sometimes called a seating planner) guides everyone to the correct tables at your wedding breakfast. They take many decorative forms from 'Escort Cards' (individual little cards for each guest which contain the number of their table) and different lists (presented in creative ways) to framed table plans.

You can find a table plan template here.

No matter how brief it's important to say thank you to your guests for sharing your day and especially if they've given a wedding gift. Try to make them as personal as possible as it means a lot to the person who gave the gift.

Not for just gifts, you can also thank members of the wedding party such as 'Thank you for being my Bridesmaid Cards', everyone will have made a special effort on the big day and will appreciate your thanks.

'Will You Be my Bridesmaid' cards are usually greeting card style cards to ask the question formally – they're traditionally received with whoops of delight! They can also be found for Ushers, Page Boys and Girls and the Best Man too.Escort Cards

Escort cards are a smart way of informing your guests where they're sitting at the wedding breakfast and in their purest form are just small envelopes and cards. With the name of the guest on the outside of the envelope and the table number revealed inside, they're straightforward and allow for last-minute changes if this is likely to be an issue.

Wedding invitations with belly bands are simple to create.

Paper and Printing Terminology

Debossing is where the printing plate is placed under pressure to leave an indent of the design in the stock. It is the opposite of embossing. Blind debossing is the same effect without using ink or foil.

An attractive scalloped finish on the edge of the stock often used on wedding stationery.

A die is an etched metal plate that is used to press into stock to create an embossed, debossed or foiled image or type

Die cuts are shapes cut from stock using a cutting form (a cutter created from metal rules) that's attached to the press. Shapes can also be die-cut into the stock to generate interest in the design, for example, deckle edges, windows and tags.

Digital printing does not require printing plates and is cost-effective on smaller quantities, so it's ideal for personalisation and wedding stationery.

Embossing is a printing process that uses a male and female die to create a raised design effect on the board stock. Blind embossing is the same process, but without ink or foil. Embossing is the opposite of 'debossing'.

A process where the printing plate is engraved to create the printed image. Under intense pressure with ink applied the 'negative engraving' leaves a raised, printed surface on the stock.

GSM is a weight measurement for paper and board products. It stands for grams per square metre. Usually, papers fall below 150gsm (approx.) with board stocks above this. Be careful not to confuse this with 'thickness' as a stock with high grammage does not necessarily feel thicker and vice versa.

Hot foil. foiling or stamping is a printing method used to create a metallic finish on a stock (usually metallic silvers and golds) and uses as metal die which is combined with heat, pressure and foil to create the effect.

A process using a laser cutter that effectively burns away the stock to leave the design. Laser cutting can create outstanding detailed images with hardly any noticeable burn marks on the stock.

Letterpress is a traditional printing technique in which a metal plate is etched or engraved so that the design itself is raised. With pressure and ink, the design is imposed onto the stock, traditionally you should not be able to feel the print on the paper, but since it's very tactile, it's more common for the pressure applied to be high enough for the design to be debossed at the same time.

Litho printing (or lithography) is a printing technique that involves a plate pressing colours onto the stock to create the design. Since a printing plate has to be produced, it's often only economical for larger print runs.

In this printing process, the image is transferred to another substrate (usually a rubber blanket) before being transferred to the stock to create the print.

The sample design and text exactly as it will appear before printing. Printers ask you to check this carefully before the print run proceeds as after the final proof no changes can be made.

This type of printing involves a prepared 'screen' or 'mesh' that has lots of tiny holes that the ink is forced through with a roller onto the stock.

The paper or card stock used for printing your wedding invitations.

  • Pearlescent card stock has a sheen or pearl finish. Sometimes on one side only. Often not suitable for inkjet printing.
  • Matt or Plain card stock that has no sheen or texture and usually suitable for all types of printing.
  • Textured a card stock that has a subtle texture that occurs from the making. Usually suitable for many types of printing but make sure that the texture does not impede your printer.
  • Embossed  a card stock that has been decorated (often with a roller) to create a texture on the surface. Usually only on one side, suitable for many types of printer but check your own printer's capabilities.
  • Cotton Paper is a paper or card stock that has a high content of cotton fibres. Luxurious and Tactile, it's often a more expensive option but stunning for letterpress wedding stationery.
  • Handmade papers are truly made by hand. Expect thicker paper, flecks, blemishes and subtle marks which are all part of the charm.
  • Vellum paper is  a type of stock that's translucent almost like tracing paper. Often used in overlays, invitation wraps and for decorative effect in wedding invitations.

Thermographic printing is a more cost-effective process to engraving producing a similar 'raised effect'. Using ink, thermography powders and heat the powder fuses onto the ink to create the effect.

Craft materials for card making.
Using the right materials will mean making your stationery is much easier.

Styles of Wedding Stationery

The art of beautiful handwriting, usually with pen and ink.

Calligraphic wedding stationery can be traditional or contemporary.

The trademark for the pocketfold and wallet designs belonging to wowvow.

Plain or decorative paper cut to size to fit the front and flap of the envelope. Usually matching or coordinating with the wedding invitation they not only add a touch of luxury, but their addition protects the invitation inside.

Also known as panel cards, they're simply cut pieces of stock (either single layer or layered together). Available in various sizes they usually fit standard envelope sizes.

The orientation of the stock, landscape is where the longest edge is horizontal.

Available in various sizes (usually to match standard envelope sizes) with a single crease so that the card can stand up (similar to a birthday card).

Available in various sizes and the same as a greeting card style with the intention of the crease running parallel to the horizontal.

With two creases the design opens out to reveal three panels.

Wallets are a style of invitation that have just one' pocket' that the invitation is stored inside.