This week on the blog, we’re turning to an expert to get answers to all of your wedding invite questions! Love Club member Fiore Press is a boutique letterpress and design studio located just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Fiore Press founder Carmela Heintzelman specializes in custom letterpress invitations and announcements for all of life’s important celebrations, from birth announcements to engagement parties. Read our interview with Carmela below for genius money-saving tips, advice on how far in advance you should send out your invites, and more.
Of course! First and foremost, when couples come to me for a proposal, I ask them what their vision is for their wedding invitations. Some designs just don’t work well with letterpress, so finding out what is most important to them helps me guide them in the right direction.
With letterpress, each color requires a separate pass through the press, which adds to the cost considerably, so I’d recommend doing one color if you are trying to be mindful of budget. Letterpress is so beautiful [on its own] that you don’t need a lot of colors to create a beautiful invitation.
Depending on the design, we can combine letterpress with flat printing to bring down the cost. Most often, we can design and print the main invitation with one color letterpress, and the other cards in the suite we can have flat (either offset or digital offset) printed.
Another way to save money would be to use reply postcards instead of a reply card and envelope (don’t forget the cost of postage!), and to use a stamp for the return address on the outer flap, or digitally print it instead of having it letterpress printed.
We recommend contacting us 4-6 months before your wedding date. The standard timeline is to send invitations out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, allowing additional time for stuffing and addressing envelopes.
So let’s say you’re getting married June 1. Eight weeks prior to that is April 1; a week of stuffing and addressing envelopes is March 21. 4-6 weeks production time puts you at mid-February, but remember; that is after your final draft is approved. Figure about 2-3 weeks of design and revisions (this depends on how many times you change your mind and how complex your invitation suite is) and now we’re talking the end of January.
Invitations can be as simple or as complex as you’d like them to be. An invitation and reply card with corresponding envelopes is the most simple, but many couples choose to have an accommodations card to list hotel options, a custom map, and a card that lists the events for the wedding weekend.
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Letterpress is a beautiful but laborious process — it’s an art form. Letterpress is a tactile printing process in which a raised surface (image or type) is inked. As the paper passes through the cylinder of the press, or makes contact with the platen, the pressure of the paper against the raised inked surface creates a crisp impression into the paper. Letterpress works very well with cotton and handmade papers, resulting in a beautiful impression with an amazing three dimensional quality. (Here is a video showing the printing process on a cylinder printing press, if you’re interested!)
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Calligraphy stationery in that rich shade of yellow…. 💛 it! #chicvintagebrides . See more of this fabulous Fall wedding inspiration here –> http://chicvintagebrides.com/rustic-barn-wedding-inspiration/ . Photography – @lisakathanphotography || Event Styling – @elliestyled || Venue – @wagonwheelbarn || Bridal Fashion – @honey_bridal || Hair – @julesmammoser || Makeup – @yourstrulyhmua || Groom’s Attire – @formallymodern_chicago || Vintage Rentals – @foreverbirdy || Floral Design – @floral_alchemy || Ceremony Backdrop – @blackcandydesign || Letterpress Invites – @fiorepress || Calligraphy ＋ Ribbons – @bienfaitcalligraphy || Tabletop – @thefestivefrog || Ceremony Chairs – Hall’s Rental || Food – @caputocheesemarket || Linens – @bbjlinen || Models – @robbie_and_ryan
Embossing and engraving are two other traditional printing methods. Engraving is similar to letterpress in that it is a laborious process, but the result is entirely different. An image or text is etched into a metal plate filled with ink. With a lot of pressure, the paper is pressed onto the plate, which creates a raised type on the front and an indentation on the back. Embossing is somewhat similar to engraving in that there is etching into a metal die. It is usually used without ink and creates a raised image.
There are other printing options out there, such as offset, digital offset, and foil printing. Offset and digital offset work best with multiple colors or gradients (think: photographs), and foil printing is similar to letterpress with the impression depth, but instead of ink it uses shiny foil.
With considerations to the limitations of letterpress printing outlined below, the sky’s the limit with customization options! Anything that can be drawn, calligraphed, or hand-lettered can be letterpress printed.
Some limitations of letterpress:
Light ink on dark paper. Letterpress inks are translucent, which means that if you printed with white ink on black paper, it wouldn’t be a nice bright opaque white like you’d imagine. Darker inks on light colored stock (whites, creams, light grays, pinks) work best with letterpress.
Large solid areas of coverage. This is not ideal for letterpress since such a large area of ink coverage can vary from print to print. Furthermore, the solid area may appear grainy or “salty.” Some people like this, but I always like to give this disclaimer. And finally, if you print a large solid area, it can distort or warp the paper so that it won’t lay flat.
Large solid areas combined with text in the same color. If you have a large area of coverage and some text in the same color, it would require a separate pass through the press so as not to over ink the smaller area of type.
Custom letterpress is more expensive than many online retailers because of the design time and laborious printing process involved. The design process is the initial part of the custom invitation process and can take up to a few weeks depending on the design. Paper for letterpress is significantly more costly than papers used for digital and offset printing, and when plates are made and the invitations are ready to be printed, inks are mixed by hand. There is quite a bit of time needed in setting up the press, and each sheet of paper needs to be hand fed. (This is different from most online retailers, which have pre-designed invitations and are digitally printed.)
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Lettering mixed with letterpress. Since I also do modern calligraphy and hand lettering, I really love seeing that in invitations. I know it’s more on trend now, but I’ve incorporated that in a few of my invitations as far back as 2010! I really just love seeing some sort of personalization on the invitations. On one suite I did, the bride drew the map herself and used her own handwriting. On another suite, the bride wrote out some of the wording. What a way to customize your invitations!
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Gorgeous calligraphy by @mmsurdo deserves gorgeous letterpress! Congratulations to @mcbeckgoolsby and Matthew!. . . . . . . #letterpress #letterpresswedding #luxewedding #customweddinginvitation #customletterpress #calligraphy #dailydoseofpaper #fiorepress #luxurywedding #lakeforest #chicagowedding#lakeshoreinlove @thegildedaisleweddings @numberfoureleven
Custom laser cut designs. I also really love laser cut design elements right now. Laser is becoming more available, so it’s been fun to incorporate custom laser cut designs in a suite.
Edge painted cards. I haven’t met a super thick paper I haven’t wanted to paint an edge on! Edge painting is done on super thick paper and adds a pop of color. Sometimes it’s subtle, like a suite I just did with a blush edge, and sometimes it’s fluorescent pink! But it’s always a good idea.
The main thing I tell couples, unless they have an unlimited budget in every area of their wedding, is to pick the one or two things that are really important to them, and splurge on that. People who come to me for letterpress invitations either love letterpress, love the art form of it, or they know how traditional and elegant letterpress is and want to really impress their guests.