There are a lot of unique terms to get used to when it comes to wedding stationery. That’s why we’ve created this handy wedding stationery glossary of terms! We know that getting the perfect wedding invitations is a big part of your wedding planning, and it can help a lot to know what everything means. 

Your wedding invitation doesn’t just have to look and feel great. It’s also an essential part of your day because it will let your guests know when and where they need to be. Whether you already have some ideas about the kind of wedding invites you want to send out, or are simply looking for inspiration, here are all of the important wedding invitation terms you need to know.


1. The Different Printing Techniques

When it comes to the way you print your wedding invitations, there are lots of options to choose from. Here are the important wedding invitation terms related to the type of printing you choose.

Blind Embossing

This is when you use pressure to create text, patterns or images on your wedding invitations. Using pressure rather than ink means that you end up with a more tactile wedding invitation that can be used to play around with light and shadow. Blind embossing is normally limited to monograms, borders and stylistic flourishes.


A die is a metal plate that’s been etched and can be used to add embossed imagery and text to your wedding invitations. Die-cutting means that paper is cut into your preferred shapes. It’s often used for adding design elements like scalloped edging or deckle edges on your invitations.

Digital Printing

This is any printing carried out using a professional digital printer. Digital printing is the most commonly used printing technique to create wedding stationery, offering couples a cost-effective solution with endless customisation options. Digital printing technology has advanced a great deal over the years and now promises a high-quality finish with unlimited colours available to choose from. Digital printing is the least expensive option with the quickest turnaround time, making it a popular choice for all kinds of stationery.


Embossing works in much the same way as blind embossing, except that the embossed imagery or text is printed with ink first. You can also choose to add foil embossing or spot UV to make your embossed elements stand out more. Embossing is one of the most popular additions to wedding invitations and easily one of the most important wedding invitation terms to learn more about. From an aesthetic perspective, embossing is hard to beat, providing an elegant raised effect. 

Digital Foiling

Add some shine to your wedding invitations with foil printing. Digital foiling doesn’t require a die or block to be created first. The text or image is printed directly from a digital file onto a smooth card with pure black. This is then run through a hot foil press where the foil is fused to the black. Digital foiling is a flexible and cost-effective way of producing foiled stationery. The result is a smooth print finish but with the same eye-catching lustre that was traditionally only achievable through block printing.


This is a way to raise any printed elements on your wedding invitations. Engraving involves using a plate that’s been engraved with your wedding invite text, which is then pressed directly onto the stationery. That text will then be slightly raised, creating a visually appealing and tactile invite.


This is one of those important wedding invitation terms that most people know but aren’t quite sure what it refers to. GSM is simply a weight measurement that’s used for paper and boards. GSM stands for Grams Per Square, and most paper is under 150gsm (although some types can exceed this). It’s very common for people to equate GSM with thickness, but having a higher GSM doesn’t always mean thicker paper. Instead, the higher the GSM of the paper you choose for your wedding invites, the heavier the paper will be.

Foil Stamping

Using a copper plate, gold, silver, or any other colour is pushed onto your wedding invites. Foil stamping adds depth and shine to your invitations and always leaves an impression (pun intended). This technique is also referred to as Hot Foiling and Stamping.

Laser Cutting

This is a method to add real detail to your wedding invites. Using a laser cutter, any words or design choices are accurately cut out on your invitations. The level of detail is always impressive, and there’s very little in the way of burn marks left on your paper.


To letterpress, a metal plate is taken and carved so all that remains are the text and the images that you want on your invites. These are raised on the plate in mirror-image before being inked. To transfer the design onto paper, pressure is manually applied. The result is the opposite of engraving (which raises your text). This technique instead sinks the writing and images on your invites into the paper for a debossed effect.

Litho Printing (Lithography)

Litho printing tends to only be used when you have a particularly large print run, so it’s not ideal for those smaller wedding plans. It involves using a printing plate that then presses colours straight onto your stationery.

Offset Printing (Flat Printing)

This printing technique uses a printing instrument that stamps your words and images directly onto the paper. It does involve premixing the ink, and it’s a far cry from digital printing! It looks stunning when combined with paper that has a higher level of texture to it.


This is what we send you before we print your wedding invitations. When it comes to the most important wedding invitation terms, your proof is one of the most essential terms to understand. We will send your proof to check before we print, so you need to ensure that it’s right. Once you approve your proof, it will be very difficult to make any changes to your wedding invitations.

Screen Printing

This type of printing presses a mesh stencil onto any fabric you're using for your wedding invitations. Ink is then pressed through the mesh (which is highly porous) using a roller.


Although thermography results in a similar finish to engraving, it’s an entirely different process. Using heat, ink and a resinous powder are fused together, resulting in slightly raised text on your invitations. It tends to be less costly than engraving, but the slight shine you get on the text simply whispers class.


2. Understanding Typeface (font) Terms

No wedding stationery glossary of terms is complete without breaking down the different words used to discuss your font preferences. The words font and typeface both mean the same thing when it comes to your invitations, but there are many important wedding invitation terms focused entirely on the kinds of letters you want and how you use them.


This is all about where you position your text on the invites. In most cases, couples stick to the traditional option of centring all of their text. However, in recent years that has slowly changed and left or right alignment is becoming more common. 


This is the stunning writing technique that used to only be achievable with fountain pens or quills. It’s stylised, extremely creative and is often considered an art form itself. You can use calligraphy on all of the stationery for your wedding, from your invites to place cards and menus.


These are the little details that complete your calligraphy. They are normally seen on more formal invites, but they’re essentially just the decoration for your calligraphy. It’s the ideal way to complete your wedding invites, with all of those elegant swirls and loops adding a traditional, classic look.

Initial Cap

Also sometimes referred to as the “drop cap”, this is one of the important wedding invitation terms to learn about if you want to focus on the decorative elements of your text. The “initial cap” is when you use an oversized first letter on your wedding invitations. 

Point Size

This is simply the size of the letters and characters you want to use on your invitations.


3. The Different Types of Paper

Getting the paper right is one of the big tasks when you're starting to design your wedding invitations. No wedding stationery glossary of terms is complete without a section on the paper!


Backers are used to add a little extra design aspect to your invitations. It’s simply a piece of paper to which your invitation is attached, with the invitation then displayed. In most cases, but not all, the backer is the same colour (or uses the same colour scheme) as the wedding invite.

Bamboo Paper

This is a very soft but unexpectedly thick paper made from bamboo. It’s very eco-friendly, and its soft thickness makes it perfect for use with letterpress printing.

Bevelled Edge

Bevelling is when you cut the edges of your paper at an angle of around 45 degrees. It means that the thickness of your wedding invites stands out more. Some people also paint those bevelled edges, and it’s hard to deny that when they are painted in gold, they can transform an invite.

Corrugated Paper

This is the process where your wedding invites will end up with a look that’s reminiscent of more tactile cardboard. With corrugated paper, you get thick wrinkles, as well as grooves and ridges. 

Cotton Fibre

Made from 100% cotton, this type of paper is one of the most popular choices for wedding invites. It’s durable, strong and lasts for years.

Deckled Edge

This kind of edge to your wedding invitations gives a scalloped finish. The final effect can look like it’s been torn or feathered, meaning that you get a more handmade feel to your invitations. 

Flat Board/Postcard Style/Panel Cards

This is simply about the size of your wedding invitations. If they fit into standard envelope sizes, they are a flat board.


Slick and shiny, glassine is an extremely thin and waxy paper. It’s quite similar to vellum, but it’s not often used for the wedding invites themselves. It’s quite a delicate type of paper and is often used for liners rather than invites. 

Handmade Papers

This is any kind of paper that’s been made from natural materials. It includes paper made from hemp, cotton, rag and plant fibres. The feel of handmade paper is slightly rough and uneven.

Industrial Papers

If you're looking for a more rugged kind of paper, look for those made out of recycled fibres. They’re not generally a popular choice for wedding invitations unless you're going for that corrugated-cardboard look.


This is screen-printed paper. Jacquard fabrics are common at weddings, and Jacquard stationery is growing in popularity. The effect is a layered look to your invites, which will look like you've wrapped them in a thin layer of lace.


This is a type of paper with fine ridges on its surface that go across the paper’s gains. It leaves a bumpy finish, and it’s less likely to be used for wedding invites than for decoration, such as place cards on tables.


This is what lines the interior of your envelopes. You can choose from a liner that’s very, very thin or opt for something thicker and more protective.

Marbled Paper

This is a popular paper design that has the appearance of marble. It’s one of those important wedding invitation terms that most people already know about.

Matte Paper

This is any paper that doesn’t have a shine to it. It’s a very popular option for wedding invitations.


Mylar paper feels more like foil than it does paper. As a result, it’s not commonly used for wedding invites as it’s notoriously difficult to print on. However, it is a great option for wedding invitation envelopes!


A very cloudy kind of paper that’s more than a little translucent. It’s more often used for adding subtle design elements to an invite rather than being used for the actual invitation.

Rice Paper

It’s not made of rice! Rice paper is soft and made from natural fibres such as mulberry or hemp. It’s particularly great for wedding invites if you’ve decided on letterpress printing.


This is simply a word that stationers use to describe the weight and thickness of the paper. 


If a paper has a lot of tooth it means that it is rougher and has more texture. With lower tooth, the paper is smoother.


This term refers to when paper has subtle touches of differing colours. The effect is reminiscent of paper that’s been covered in watercolour swirls.


Vellum is a fantastic option for wedding invitations, adding a beautiful, delicate look to your chosen design. It’s made from a cotton blend and has a frosted, almost translucent look. The finish is smooth so that the invites will feel as if they have a plastic covering.


This is a translucent image that’s possible to create on fine, thin paper. It will usually only be seen when your guests hold their invites up to a light source. Watermarks have been used on paper products for generations, and they suggest only the highest quality. You can even find watermarks on money!


4. Terms Used for Packaging and Presentation

It’s not just about the types of paper you use and how they’re printed. This next section of our wedding stationery glossary of terms is about how you package and present your wedding day invites.


This is a wedding invite that’s been folded in half. It results in an invite resembling a standard greeting card that can stand up and be displayed. Some people choose to add a pocket inside a bifold wedding invite so they can include any additional papers, such as RSVP notes.


For those planning an ultra-deluxe wedding, the term boxed means you will present all of your invitation stationery in a velvet, silk or thick paper box that’s been custom made. Extravagant but unbeatable when it comes to adding that perfect finishing touch.


This is any documentation you include with your invites. It could refer to maps to the wedding venue, menus with tickable boxes, accommodation details, or anything you want your guest to know about. Enclosures help keep the actual invitation from getting too cluttered with information. They tend to be smaller than the invite and are often bundled within a pocket inside the invitation itself.


Your envelopes can be personalised however you choose. Kraft brown envelopes are a much-loved option for the rustic and natural look they bring to wedding stationery, but you may opt for classic white or a colour that ties into the theme of your wedding. Envelopes can be made of a wide range of paper types, with silk, vellum and burlap being very popular.


Gatefold invitations are exactly how you’d imagine. They simply have two front panels that open like doors. Beneath the “gates” will be the text of your invitation.

Long Fold/Concertina

Concertina or long-folded invitations are those with 4 panels and three folds. These invitations fold from top to bottom for more sections, providing ample space for your chosen design. These may also be referred to as accordion-style invitations.

Tent Fold

Often confused with the bifold, the difference is that tent-fold invites have the crease at the top rather than the side. It means that they stand up and look more like a tent than traditional, upright cards.


Trifold invitations have been folded twice, with three sections available to print on. These wedding invitations are a compact, all-in-one solution, providing plenty of space for all your information while folding neatly into a square envelope. This is sometimes also referred to as a Z-fold invitation.


5. Understanding the Terms for Design Choices

One of the most fun parts of designing your wedding invitation is choosing the unique design choices that reflect your big day. You can go as wild as you like or stick to the classic look. Here are all the important wedding invitation terms related to your design choices.

Belly Band/Sleeve

You can hold the different parts of your wedding invitations together by using a belly band or sleeve. This is a piece of ribbon, fabric or paper that wraps around the different pieces of paper that make up your invitation pack. 


Most people already understand the difference between landscape and portrait, but it’s simply about the orientation of your invites. For portrait designs, the longest edges will be the vertical (top to bottom) ones, while landscape means the longer edges are horizontal (left to right).

Map Cards

Your guests need to know where to go if they're going to make it to your wedding! Map cards tend to be separate pieces of stationery, and you can go wild with them. You could choose hand-painted and stylised maps that show guests where they need to be and when, or you could opt for a Google map. You could even add fun elements like where the happy couple first met.


A very popular motif for weddings is to use monograms on your invites and other stationery. A monogram is simply when you combine your initials with your partner’s. You could use forename and surname initials, married initials or any combination you prefer. As well as the invites, monograms can also be used effectively for wax seals.


This is any recurring theme you have decided to use throughout your wedding. It will usually be on all of your stationery and may even be used across your wedding venue.


These are small holes added to your wedding invites as an added design element. They can also be used to create a ‘tear here’ line for an RSVP section.

Wax Seal

When it comes to sticking to the traditional, it’s hard to beat using a wax seal. Wax seals always look great, and you can even use yours to show off your monogram designs or a family emblem.

6. Additional Terms Used in Wedding Stationery

There are extremely important wedding invitation terms that don’t fit neatly into the above sections. However, they are always worth learning a little more about.

Evening Wedding Invites

You don’t always want every guest to be present throughout the entire wedding day. Evening wedding invites let those guests know that they’re invited to the latter part of the day.

Guest Book

Most weddings have a guest book, in which guests write messages to the couple. 

Order of Service/Order of Ceremony

This will be a booklet or program handed out to guests as they arrive at the wedding venue. If the wedding is religious, the document will be called an Order of Service. Order of Ceremony is used for civil ceremonies only. It’s essentially a list of songs, readings and hymns that will be used during the ceremony. Sometimes, dedications are added to remember the people who couldn’t make it to the big day.

Place Card/Place Setting

For the reception, you will use place cards to let people know where to sit. It’s usually a small card that’s freestanding.

Table Plan

A table plan is a large poster or board displayed at a wedding reception, often sat on an easel for everyone to see it. Table plans have the names of all your guests and help them easily find their seats.

Table Plan Cards

Table plan cards serve the same purpose as a table plan, but information is printed on individual cards rather than one large board. These cards give couples the freedom to get creative as there are endless ways to use them, whether placed on individual tables, housed in a decorative frame or hung from a tree outside the reception venue.


Save the Date Cards

You will send out your Save the Date cards before sending off the invitations. It’s simply a way to ensure your guests know not to make any plans on the date of your wedding. The invites will follow shortly after.

Thank You Cards

When the wedding is over, and you're back from your honeymoon, you can use professional thank you cards to thank your guests for sharing your amazing day. It’s always a good idea to personalise these cards.


Wedding Stationery — Glossary of Terms

It’s your big day, so it’s good to know you have so much choice when it comes to your wedding stationery. If you have any questions about these wedding invitation terms, you can get in touch with us using our contact page. You can also sign up for our VIP Club and get wedding inspiration delivered straight to your inbox!


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