Your Guide To Print At Home Wedding Stationery
Having spent the past many years totally engrossed in the wedding world (and even longer before that in the design scene) we've seen all manner of invitations and one 'category' which maintains its place are 'print at home' invitations. This covers all manner of styles and ideas, but ultimately we categorise it as something which has been cared for and crafted by the couple personally, rather than relying on external suppliers to produce them.
We've seen some absolutely wonderful print at home invitations; we ourselves followed this method, designing them ourselves and printing them on our inkjet printer. All in the aid of both saving money and allowing us to create an invitation 'set' with different guests receiving different variations on the design (more on that later).
Print at home invitations can allow you to create something which feels more specific to things you like. For example, you may find a template that you love, but there isn't the option to add the envelope colour you would like, or the wax seal or stamp that would make it perfect for you. In these instances curating these different elements together to create your invitations ensures you get the result that's right for you and your expectations.
Handmade wax steals with personal monogram, created for Jess & Ash
The personal factor is also a huge advantage to creating invitations at home. If you're printing the design yourself, you can pick a paper or card which feels right for you. This could be a really simple thick white matt stock, brown craft card or even translucent neon paper which allows light to flow through the design. These three options alone can totally change the impression of a simple black text design, with each giving and entirely different 'feel' the design.
Examples of CMYK designs, printed on different types of paper.
[Left: via loveofcreatingdesign.com, Centre: via victionary.com, Right: via JazzHandsPaperCo on Etsy]
So what is and isn't possible on a home printer?
When printing at home, there are a range of things which are commonly available and some elements which would be better left to a professional printer. Typically an inkjet printer (the kind most common at home) are able to print CMYK colours only (CMYK is shorthand for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black). Some can print special inks but these are reasonably uncommon and normally far more expensive to use. A CMYK printer allows you to print black and a range of colours but importantly not white, so the lovely design below which uses white text on a brown stock wouldn't be achievable at home when using an inkjet printer; professional techniques such as digital or screen printing this would be better at achieving this result.
Examples of white ink design by Jennifer Wick, not possible to reproduce using a CMYK printer
Working on it together
One of the nicest things about curating the invitations yourself is the opportunity it affords to spend hours in 'wedding mode' at a reasonably early stage and if both you and your partner are involved, you'll naturally have chance to discuss loads of different ideas and thoughts about your day. It can be surprising how some couples think they're on the same page and later discover they're not and vice versa, so whilst you're in 'production mode' it's a great opportunity to make sure you're aligned at a reasonably early stage of your planning about all kind of other things, from catering to the first dance.
That said, invitations can take hours to curate and finalise when doing them yourself, as long as you're aware of this beforehand, it's less likely to feel like a chore that's dragging on, and you can make the most of the time spent by getting excited and discussing the next stages of your planning!
Example of our wedding invitation set on display at our wedding
Another big advantage of creating invitations yourself is the flexibility you have both on the design and quantity you require. For our own wedding, we created x5 different variations, plus an evening variation too. Each design had a different background photograph, each taken during our time as a couple. We labelled each so our guests would know where the photograph was taken and on our wedding day, we showcased the full set. It made a nice talking point for our guests on the day too. Although not impossible, this would have been much harder to achieve, not to mention much more expensive(!), if we'd printed them externally.
We were also able to print different quantities on demand. If you're unsure how many guests may RSVP 'yes', you may have a 'B' list of guests who you'd like to have join, but it won't be clear who to invite until you've received the first RSVPs. This is particularly useful if you have a venue which limits numbers, and you're then able to invite those people you just couldn't squeeze in first time around (such as plus ones, friends you see less frequently and more distant family members).
Our Geometric Marble RSVP could be produced at home on a CMYK printer.
If you find some people can't make your wedding and you'd like to invite additional guests, reprinting invitations with an external printer can be time-consuming and more expensive than you'd planned for... or you may even order far too many options as a 'just in case', only to later discover this wasn't necessary. When you print invitations yourself you have total freedom on when to print them, and as such these issues are avoided.
However one of the major advantages of printing invitations with a professional printer is the quality it can achieve (when using the best printers) and wider range of choice that it offers. From a broader range of papers and paper thicknesses to different inks, the print detail and special techniques like gold foiling, embossing and spot varnishing.
Ultimately your decision to create your invitations at home or by using a professional printer is likely to come down to time, your budget and what's right for you, but hopefully this guide gives you an insight into some of the pros and cons of printing invitations at home.
Let us know your thoughts and if you've had good and bad experiences of printing invitations at home yourself!
Chloe & Tom