When it comes to wedding invitations, it's hard to choose whether you should print them at home to save money or send them out to a professional printer. Seems simple enough to just purchase paper at your local craft store, purchase your digital file and start printing, right? It's not that simple. If you have a printer at home that you use everyday for home projects and everyday printing, your printer may not handle thick flat cards. Most printers can handle up to #60 or less of paper thickness. Your home project will be halted before you even begin!
Check your printer stats first. How fast is your printer? Is it an ink jet or laser? What are the settings, regular print or photo printing? Does your printer offer borderless printing? These are all things you need to check first before you run out and purchase all your paper and envelopes.
If your printer can handle high quantity printing and fits your needs, make sure to run print tests first. Check your boarders so there are no cut offs, called full-bleed. This is where bleed lines come in. In the printing industry, is achieved by creating a design slightly larger than the final cut size. The extra will be trimmed off and discarded. For a 5"x7" standard invitation, the size will be 5.25" x 7.25" and an eighth of an inch will be cut from each side.
Check your colors and settings. Please note every monitor and printer is color calibrated differently. Color may vary slightly from that seen on the screen. Paper type may also affect color. Check the colors and set them to CMYK and not RGB on your digital file along with 300 dpi for a sharper image.
Paper quality is a big deal too! Some papers do not do will with laser printers than ink jet. Inkjet printers tend to be better for printing designs than laser printers (which often can't handle the thicker papers and also tend to make your invitations come out strangely shiny as opposed to matte. Make sure to print at "actual size," and not "fit-to-page" as well. What type of paper works best? Should you choose cotton or linen? Textured or non textured? Gloss or no gloss? Many suggest picking a paper type that suits you best (whether it be regular paper or linen, cotton linen, or felt weave for more visual interest), but to go for at least an 80lb or 12pt stock. Read reviews to see what paper works best before you purchase. See if you can get a sample pack and do a few test runs.
Consider how much ink your project will use. As with all other supplies, at-home printing uses a lot of ink. I had one project use 3 cartridges of just yellow ink for 100 invites! If you have a lot of guests to invite, and want a dark background color, consider having your job printed at a copy shop.
It's a lot to think about and it takes a trial and error approach. It's a lot of work, but you can save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Do a test print before you try printing all 100 invitations, or however many you need. Don't just look at the design on the computer! Allowing enough time for a test run for size and color will make the real deal run much smoother.
Professional paper printers each have there own standards you need to meet before walking in and ordering your prints. Make sure your digital files are ready to go. Do the printers require bleed lines? Do they require a JPG or PDF? What size files do they need. Check with your invitation designer and let them know you plan on using a local printer and give them the specks ahead of time. This will cause less headaches between you, the designer and the printers.
Make sure to ask questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Is your printing done in-house or do you outsource it?
- If I choose a custom wedding invitation, what are my options for color, paper type, ink and fonts? What is the word limit for the text?
- Do you offer a package or a discounted price if I order all of the invitation components at the same time?
- Based on the paper I select and the number of pieces involved, what would it cost to mail my wedding invitations?
- What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order?
- Can you provide me with the contact information of 3–4 recent brides who I can call or email for references?
Do your homework and price shop. Sometimes printers online are much cheaper then local brick and mortar printers. How much do they print per card?
Pricing for any invitation can run from $1.50 to $4.00 per card. This depends on if you want flat digital printing, foil prints or letterpress. I often suggest digital printing to brides who don’t have the budget for something like letterpress, but still want modern, well-designed and/or completely custom invitations. Printers are great of you don't want to fuss with DIY projects and stuffing 100 envelopes.
The difference is really up to your budget and your valued time. We offer professional printing for all our invitations to take the hassle out of printing at home or researching a printer near you.