In this article I will show you how to choose the best wedding stationery paper for your PDF wedding printable like the one seen below.
Creating wedding invitations is becoming more popular with brides as a way to keep costs down. High quality PDF designs can be uploaded and printed online for a significant savings compared to buying expensive wedding stationery suites. Unless you are a paper aficionado, the tricky part is transforming your PDF from digital design to physical paper product. That’s where the following guide can help!
When it comes time to print your wedding invitations you have two choices:
- Print from the comfort of your home
- Use a professional printing company (we recommend Vistaprint), to handle printing for you
Either way, one of your main tasks will be to choose an appropriate paper type based on paper weight and thickness. Below is a guide to choose the best paper weight and thickness for wedding invitations along with the best type for your project.
First, let me clarify one confusing aspect about paper weight along with the terminology that the industry likes to use.
Two Main Paper Weight Metrics
- The Metric system – mainly used across Europe whereby paper is graded in grams per square metre or ‘gsm’. The European system is more standardized than the American system and uses only one measuring scale to measure all kinds of paper products.
- The U.S. System – where paper is most commonly measured in pounds or ‘lbs’. The confusing part is that there are different categories of paper such as cardstock, text paper, and others.
Since most of our readers are from the U.S., we will focus our attention on the U.S weight system.
Paper Weights for Wedding Stationery
There are two basic weights that you will encounter when you set off to customize your own wedding stationery.
1) Text Paper
Text paper comes in varying weights, generally between 20 lbs to 80 lbs. It is the type of paper you find in your home printer, the average ‘letterhead‘ piece of paper.
2) Cover/Cardstock Paper
Cardstock also comes in varying weights, but the feel reminds one of a post card or business card. It is sturdy and doesn’t bend as easily as text paper, which provides a good surface to print wedding stationery. Cardstock weight ranges from 45 lbs to 200 lbs or higher.
Note: When it comes to paper weights a sheet of 80 lb text paper is totally different than 80 lb cardstock paper.
A good rule of thumb: the heavier the basic weight, the thicker the sheet. The thicker the sheet, the more impressive it will feel. The more impressive the wedding invitation, the more wedding accolades you receive!
The thickness of a sheet of paper is measured in thousandths of an inch. The main difference between text paper and cardstock paper is the thickness of the sheets. Text paper is easier to fold, where as cardstock is more rigid.
Below is an example chart that compares paper types you may run across when printing through a professional printing company like Vistaprint.
One thing to keep in mind if you decide to print your invitations at home is that most home printers can only accommodate a paper weight of up to 80 lbs. Cardstock paper is simply too firm to bend and will usually not be able to accommodate a home based printer.
It’s a good idea to feel the paper before you commit to a certain type of paper for your wedding stationery. Vistaprint offers a FREE Wedding Sample kits (and don’t forget free shipping), which will enable you to feel the paper for yourself. See if the paper type is crisp, luxurious, too flimsy, textured, or perfectly smooth for your wedding invitation project.
When deciding on the type of paper for your wedding invitations, it is a personal choice as to how much you want to spend and what tone you want to set for your wedding.
A paper weight of 100-110 lbs will give off a professional look and still allow you to mail your invitations with a single stamp.
Each paper type gives off a different look and feel. Personally, I think linen finish is a beautiful option and widely underused. It will give your wedding invitations a luxurious textured finish that is a great option for any wedding invitation.
If you are going to DIY your wedding invitations, I suggest choosing thicker paper so that your invitations don’t scream cheap.
(Below: Example of Vistaprint’s Linen Finish)
Another new option is the Ultra Thick Paper Stock from Vistaprint – the same paper stock they use for customer’s business cards. Other professional stationery companies offer this same type of stock, but at a premium price of between $3.50-$4.00 per piece. Vistaprint charges as low as $1.20 per piece.
Bet you didn’t know there was so much paper weight knowledge you could learn!
Vistaprint’s selection of affordable wedding invitation designs has grown over the years, and you might just find the perfect invitation for your big day. Only pay for the amazing value printing service and not the exorbitant prices that some professional wedding invitation companies charge. As they say, they only look expensive!