Sometimes, choosing your wedding stationery can be even more frustrating than finding a dress that ALL your bridesmaids like! With so many options, styles and techniques available; shopping for your stationery could really make your head spin.

We’ve compiled a listing of the most popular terms when it comes to wedding stationery. Feel free to use this list as your shopping guide, print it, share it! Knowing many of these terms is your ticket to choosing the perfect stationery for your special day!

Applique - A decoration or ornament applied to a larger surface.

Bellyband - A decorative paper, ribbon or fabric band wrapped and secured around the wedding invitation or one of its accompanying pieces.

Blind Embossing - Blind embossing is a printing method where an image is pressed into paper resulting in a raised design. The embossing is termed “blind” because the design is formed without ink or foil. (Debossing is an image stamped onto paper or a napkin without ink or foil; it appears “indented.”)

Bright White - This shade is the ultimate in white, very crisp, pure and bright!

Calligraphy - The perfected art of handwriting/penmanship. Often associated with fancy, curlicue script, calligraphy is now comprised of several genres and styles.

Card - Invitation cards do not fold, your wording is printed on the front.

Corrugated - Term describing the appearance of paper with thick wrinkles, ridges, and grooves.

Deckle Edge - An uneven, feathery edge on a piece of paper is called a deckle edge. This edge is most commonly found on parchment invitations; however, other papers may also have deckle edges and will be noted in descriptions.

Die-Cutting - The process of using sharp metal rules to cut shapes and designs into paper. Die-cutting includes cutout shapes and sculpted edges.

Double Envelopes - The traditional set of two envelopes is used with formal invitations and announcements. The outer envelope is addressed to the guest and may have your (the sender’s) address printed on the back flap. The inner envelope, with the invitation and enclosures is enclosed inside the outer envelope. The inner envelope carries only the guests’ names. The inner envelope is available with a coordinating liner; it is not gummed and is not sealed.

Ecru - This color is a warm creamy beige.

Embossing - Embossing is like blind embossing above, only this type of printing uses ink or foil on the raised area to add drama and dimension.

Engraving - The most formal of printing methods, through which the letters appear slightly raised. A "bruise" typically forms on the back of the paper from the pressure.

Engraving plate - An etched steel die used to create engraved type or images.

Faux - A fashionable term from French to indicate something made to look like it is something else. Literally this means "false."

Flourishes- The ornate calligraphic details that frequent ultra-formal invitations

Foil Stamping - This effect is achieved when colored foil is hot-stamped onto paper (perhaps a Christmas card) or accessory items, such as napkins.

Folder - Invitation folders are folded once, either to create a top or side fold. Your wording is printed on the front.

French-Fold - A sheet of paper folded twice to create a four-paneled invitation is considered French-folded. This fold is most common with parchment invitations.

Glassine - A very thin, waxy paper. Thinner than vellum (see below), its surface is slick and shiny, whereas vellum is more translucent. Glassine is best suited for envelope use, while vellum is sturdy enough to be printed on directly for invitation use.

Handmade Papers - Made from natural organic materials including cotton, rag, hemp, and plant fibers, uneven or "rough" in texture.

Hands - The various (calligraphic) script and lettering styles a talented calligrapher can create.

Industrial Papers - Made from chipboard or newsprint, often from recycled fibers, industrial papers have a rugged, hip look about them. Corrugated cardboard and brown kraft paper (think brown grocery bags) are examples.

Initial Cap - A term for the exaggerated, oversized first letter of a word you'll sometimes see in lavish calligraphy or a decorative typeface.

Invitation Holder - A small pocket that secures your invitation and enclosure cards. Invitation holders are especially useful when sending multiple enclosure cards because they allow guests to easily keep track of the pieces. Holders also create a stylish, organized effect.

Jacquard - Screen-printed paper that creates an illusion of layering; for example, paper that looks like it's overlaid with a swatch of lace.

Laid - Paper that's similar to Vellum (see below), with a rougher, bumpy finish.

Layers - This term indicates layers of paper tied or glued together. If the top layer is translucent and the lower is decorative paper, you’ll see a muted version of the lower layer through the translucent top.

Letterpress - A beautiful printing alternative to engraving (but more expensive). The labor-intensive method dates back to the fifteenth century and involves inking an image to produce an impression: the impression is transferred by placing paper against the image and manually applying pressure. The images and typeface appear precise -- individually "stamped into" the paper -- and very rich in color. Letterpress is great if you're using unusual paper, motifs, typeface, or want to play around with pigments. Comparatively, engraving and thermography restrict the possibilities.

Linen Finish - A paper type with a surface that's more grainy than pure cotton stocks. Another elegant, classic choice for wedding invitations.

Liners - This term refers to the decorative paper used to line the inside of an inner envelope or a single envelope.

Marbled Paper - Decorative paper marked by swirling, abstract patterns that resemble the surface of marble.

Matte - Paper with an opaque, non-reflective finish.

Monograms - A decoration using the initials of a name. When the middle letter of a person's monogram is larger than the side two, the sequence of initials is first name on the left, surname in the middle, then middle name on the right. When all letters are the same size, the sequence of initials from left to right is first name, middle name, then surname. If you are combining the bride's name with the groom's, you must use the format with the middle letter larger. In this case, the sequence of initials is the bride's first name on the left, mutual surname in the middle, and the groom's first name on the right.

Mylar - Foil-like paper, non-crinkling with a shiny, mirror-like finish. It's best for envelopes, and not appropriate for the invitation (ink doesn't take to it well).

Offset-printed - The "flat" printing used on everyday fliers, letterhead, stickers, and more. It's a nice choice if you want to save lots of cash, use highly textured paper, or several different colors of ink (with engraving and embossing, you're usually limited to just one).

Panel - A panel is the center section of your invitation “framed” by a raised area of paper. It also refers to pages facing each other. For example, a tri-fold invitation when opened fully, has a left, middle and right panel.

Parchment - This translucent paper is made to look like original parchment. This distinctive paper adds a softening effect to any invitation.

Pearlize - The process that applies a luminous pearl-like finish to part of an invitation, usually to an embossed design, is called pearlizing.

Pocket Folders - A pocketed folder used for presenting the invitation card and additional pieces in one packet. Typically, the invitation card is immediately visible once the folder is opened. Additional pieces are tucked into the folder’s accompanying pocket.

Point Size - Unit of measure indicating the size of an individual letter or character

Rice Paper - A thin, soft paper that is actually not made from rice. It's non-traditional, but beautiful and elegant. It can only accept the letterpress printing mode; cream and ivory are the most common colors used in the design of rice paper wedding invitations.

Short-Fold - A short-fold is created when a sheet of paper is folded once, not exactly in half, forming an invitation with a short front panel and longer back panel.

Soft White - This shade is a soft white, like wedding gowns. It is a delicate hue.

Stock -Refers to the paper component of a project. The term is used to describe the thickness and heaviness of paper. Hardy card stock is ideal for formal wedding invitations. They'll often come accompanied by a square of tissue or parchment (delicate stocks) for elegant contrast.

Thermography - This type of printing is created by adding a resin powder to wet ink, which when heated, creates a raised surface.

Tri-Fold - A tri-fold is created when a sheet of paper is folded twice to form a three-paneled invitation. Both outside panels are folded inward to cover the center panel.

Typeface - The style/appearance of a letter or numeral. With the arrival of desktop publishing, the term is more or less synonymous with the word "font."

Vellum - Vellum is a paper with a rich, smooth finish.

Variegated - A term you might hear used to describe the look of certain paper or ribbon, meaning that it bears discreet hints of different colors

Watermark - The translucent emblem or "beauty mark" buried in fine paper that becomes visible when the paper is held up to light. A watermark denotes superb quality, signifying the exclusivity of the paper company or boutique.

White - This shade is a soft white, like wedding gowns. It is a delicate hue.

Z-Fold - A z-fold is created when a sheet of paper is folded twice in accordion fashion to form a three-paneled invitation.

Happy Shopping!

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