Paper Choices for Invitations

Choosing the Perfect Paper for Your Wedding Invitations

A common question among couples who design their own wedding invitations is, "What kind of paper should I use?"

Not only will the paper you choose affect the look of your stationery (and your budget), it can often dictate what kind of piece you design. For example, if you create a 5"x5" invitation, you should know what your paper choices are in that size. If you like the look of an embossed border, then selecting a template may be the way to go.

Thinking through your paper options before designing your wedding stationery is time well spent.

Paper Types

There are several basic paper types to consider. Luckily, today's choices are widely available and achieve professional-looking, beautiful results. Let's go through the common types of paper for wedding stationery and the reasons brides and grooms choose them.

  • Heavy Card Stock: The most common paper used by professional printers and by do-it-yourselfers is heavy card stock. Heavy card stock paper is thicker so it resists bending and creasing during the mailing process. It takes ink well with minimal or no "bleeding" (running) and is heavy enough to frame as a keepsake.
  • Generally, this type of paper comes in traditional wedding invitation colors: white, off-white or ecru. Other options, such as colors or textures, used to be harder to locate. The good news is this is no longer a problem. Stationery stores, office stores, scrapbooking stores, even Walmart stock quality cardstock. You can also order beautiful styles online, so check out all your options.
  • Cotton and Linen: Both cotton and linen invitations can be exquisite. They can also be quite pricey, so be sure about this option before setting your heart on it. However, even at its higher cost, either cotton or linen may be less expensive than, or only as much as, lower-quality paper stock through a professional printer, as you won't be charged the cost of someone else doing the printing.
  • Cotton invitations will last for years and retain their beauty. They're also more likely to be "photo safe," so they'll keep better in your scrapbooks and wedding albums. A good compromise for the budget-conscious is to choose a cotton blend rather than 100% cotton. This will lower the cost of your paper while retaining the beautiful look of cotton paper.
  • Vellum: That wonderfully crepe-paper thin covering on wedding invitations is known as vellum. It's usually translucent and adds an elegant touch to printed wedding invitations. Some couples choose to print directly onto the vellum itself. If you do this, include a thicker paper behind the vellum for support.
  • Vellum is an option for couples who don't wish to use its precursor, parchment. Because it's made from animal skins, parchment isn't always the first choice among brides- and grooms-to-be, but it is an option. It will probably be more expensive than vellum, so keep that in mind as well. Either will add a soft, "frosted" touch to any style wedding invitation.
  • Handmade and Recycled Paper: Handmade paper can be stunning. It's usually a better choice for smaller weddings (and hence, fewer invitations) because its cost can be high.
  • A lower-cost, eco-friendly choice is recycled paper. Recycled wedding invitation paper can be virtually indistinguishable from original paper, have a rustic, on-trend look, or fall somewhere in between. Look over all your options before making a final decision, often recycled papers are less sturdy.

Where Do I Purchase My Paper?

After you've made the decision on the paper style, you'll need to go shopping. Our advice is let the internet be your guide. Here is a site you might consider visiting for paper:



Whether you bring your paper selection and digital file to a professional printer or do it yourself, the quality of the ink will make or break the piece. Use the highest quality you can, and lastly print some samples on plain paper to be sure it's exactly what you want before you start using your "good" paper.

Done the right way, "DIY" wedding stationery such as invitations, programs and menus can be virtually indistinguishable from printer-ordered ones. Using your paper, your design, your choices and your style will result in an invitation that's unique to you and your groom.

Written by: Dawn Applegate