Paper has come a long way
OK children, it’s time for a serious class on history and science! No Shah Rukh Khan or Rajnikanth to keep you interested. But once in a while, it is OK to use different parts of your brain.
We are going to learn all about the technical mumbo jumbo about the different types of wedding invitation paper and how to choose the right paper for your marriage invitation. If you are unmarried and still waiting to find your soulmate, this might be a good time to plan ahead considering how a seemingly trivial thing is actually so complex! So buckle up and read on.
According to Wikipedia,
The word “paper” is etymologically derived from papyros, Ancient Greek for the Cyperus papyrus plant. Papyrus is a thick, paper-like material produced from the pith of the Cyperus papyrus plant which was used in ancient Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures for writing long before the making of paper in China. Papyrus however are plants dried and woven, while paper is manufactured from fibers whose properties have been changed by maceration or disintegration.
If you had an opportunity to meet a Pharaoh and showed him a piece of paper, he will probably won’t recognize it! Paper as we know it was invented in China in 105 AD under the Han Dynasty. Apparently a bureaucrat named Ts’ai Lun was the first to start a paper-making industry! No wonder government offices in India are buried in stacks of papers and files!
If you don’t want to read any more history, we have lined up a cool timeline graphics that illustrates the evolution of paper as we know it right from the days of Ts’ai Lun.
10 types of wedding invitation paper
While you were busy fussing about the wordings for your marriage invitation, you might have completely ignored the dozen or so options you have for choosing the paper on which your marriage invitation card will be printed. Just when you thought things cannot get crazier, we unearthed 11 additional reasons to make your wedding-planning more complicated.
1. Marbled paper
Guess what paper type would Emperor Shah Jahan choose? The answer is marbled paper (kidding). You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the marbled paper actually looks like marbles. Anyways, it’s actually possible to create marbled paper at home. All you need is some paint colours and a few other ingredients. There are plenty of DIY sites and tutorials for creating marbled paper at home.
2. Matte paper
Matte Paper is a common paper finish. It has a crisp white finish and pastel colours look really nice when printed on matte paper. Matte paper is preferred by thieves from all over the world as it doesn’t get fingerprints easily! There are different types of matte paper – photo quality, double-sided, semi-matte, and premium matte.
3. Glossy paper
Matte paper has a very close cousin or should we say twin brother separated at birth? In fact, a glossy paper goes through the same manufacturing process as that of a matte paper but gets more chemical coatings compared to that of a matte paper. Glossy paper is great for printing colourful wedding invitations as colours pop.
4. Mylar paper
Mylar is the paper for you if you like metallic and shiny finish to your marriage invitation card. If you have received a gift basket and wondered about the shiny silver paper, you probably were wondering about Mylar! Its chemical name is biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate or BoPET. You can check out this site if you are interested in finding out how mylar is made. Mylar paper is paper coated with BoPET and is used by the US Library of Congress to preserve old books (one paper to the rescue of others). Mylar is the superhero of papers! Here is how mylar paper is used in wedding invitation cards.
5. Parchment paper
Parchment paper marriage invitation gives you that old-fashioned look. If you want to go for a scroll type wedding invitation, parchment paper is your paper.
According to Wikipedia,
Modern parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid (a method similar to how tracing paper is made) or sometimes zinc chloride. This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper.
6. Vellum paper
Vellum paper is actually made from calf skin! Yes, this makes it the least likely option that any Indian vegetarian will make when designing the marriage invitation card. Hey, if you like your leather bag, why not consider vellum? Also, we have “vegetable vellum” a different synthetic material that is used for technical drawings. Did you know that the Magna Carta was written and signed on a vellum paper?
7. Glassine paper
Glassine is a glossy paper that is water and grease resistant. Glassine is great for marriage invitation card envelopes. You might have seen glassine paper in photo albums to keep the photos from sticking to one another and fading away. Glassine paper is made by a process called calendering. Read about how glassine paper is made here.
8. Handmade paper
Handmade papers are eco-friendly and made from cotton, hemp and other plant fibers. Their coarse appearance adds a special warmth to marriage invitations and envelopes.As the name suggests, handmade paper products are usually produced in small scale and are more expensive than any other type of paper.
9. Recycled paper
Why not be ethical and eco-friendly and send out a marriage invitation card printed on recycled paper? Some even say, why not stop using paper and send invitations over email or call people? Recycling paper is big business in India and recycled paper products command premium prices.
10. Linen paper
Linen paper, as the name suggests, looks like a fabric and made from fabric! It’s our favourite for printing wedding invitation cards as it is classy and has a great hand feel. According to Vistaprint,
linen finish is a lovely choice because it has a texture to it, almost like the soft version of a canvas. In terms of whiteness, the linen is very close to the color of the matte and recycled options, but is not smooth because of the texture. Photos are printed crisply, while the texture is visible when you look close enough.
Did you know that the mummies found in the Egyptian Pyramids are wrapped in linen cloth?
Choosing the right wedding invitation paper
GSM: No, this is nothing to do with your cell phone. GSM number stands for “Grams per Square Meter” and is a measure of the quality of the paper. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper. GSM numbers range from 55 GSM to 400 GSM.
Your marriage invitation cards are usually printed on 220 GSM to 400 GSM paper depending on the design. For example, if it’s just a card, the paper is thicker.
But if your invitation is folded and has multiple pages, you will go with a thinner option. Check out this site for more details.
Coating: There are two types of characters in movies – the hero and the villain. Papers are no different. You will always have to choose between coated and uncoated paper! But like in movies, there are different shades of heroes and villains.
Coated papers start with “Gloss” which is shiny and then you have least glossy papers called “Matte”. You also have other types of coated papers like Silk, Dull, and Satin!
Uncoated papers also have different finishes – Vellum, Embossed, Felt to name a few. Please remember that printing on uncoated paper requires expertise and skill. Don’t print them at home to save money.
Now you know where the 11 types of papers actually fit in and why we had to drag you through the entire list of options!
So why should you care about GSM and Coated / Uncoated paper?
- You should know this if you plan to cut costs and print your marriage invitation at home.
- An informed buyer is a smart buyer. You can talk to your printer (or your future mother-in-law) with confidence and know that he cannot fool you with mumbo jumbo anymore.
- Remember, the heavier your invitation card is, the more money you will pay the post office.
As always, you should try looking at different samples of different quality and coatings to see what you like before choosing one.
Wedding invitation printing options
Wait, choosing the paper alone is not enough. The next step in the process is to choose the printing method that will go well with the paper you selected.
Letterpress as the name suggests presses the letters on the paper and requires thick paper. Letterpress is also expensive and works well with dark colours. In the olden days, letterpress involves assembling the alphabet/letter plates one by one and then pressing them against the paper. Nowadays, we have plastic-based plates that can be created based on a digital design. No more manual assembling of alphabets!
Engraving is an expensive way to creating raised letters and patterns on a thick paper material. If you try engraving on parchment paper, you will have a paper mash. Engraving with multiple colours is very expensive and time-consuming as every colour requires its own “plate” that is used to engrave the letters and designs on the paper.
Thermography is the poor man’s engraving option! It looks similar to engraving except that the back side of the paper will not have depressions corresponding to the engraving. Engraving uses metal plates and pressure, whereas, thermography is all about using a thick layer of ink to create raised surfaces on the paper. This technique works with thinner paper compared to that of engraving.
Digital and Offset printing is a common printing option for wedding invitations. Digital printing is like your laser printer at home. It allows you to print on thinner paper and is the cheapest printing option. If you have a little more money to spend, then offset printing is your choice. Offset printing will also work with different types of wedding invitation paper.
Embossing is usually done to enhance the visual and texture of the card. Unlike engraving, embossing is usually done without any ink and relies just on the pressure to create beautiful patterns. If you use colours, the design options are restricted. Uncoated paper is the best choice for your embossing needs.
Foil stamping is not even printing! It allows you to overlay the card with a nicely designed thin foil (such as borders or a specific set of important letters). Foil stamping works well on dark coloured paper as they will stand out very well against the background.
Choosing a wedding invitation card is not an easy task with so many paper types and printing options to deal with. However, here are some handy tips that can help you navigate this challenge.
- When you go shopping for wedding invitation cards, you can always look at samples and just pick one that meets your expectations and budgets.
- Knowledge of paper types and printing options can help you negotiate when you need custom invitations.
- People have now started using custom illustrations and infographics to create unique wedding invitations.
- While you focus on paper type and printing options, do not forget that a simple grammar mistake in the content can ruin the invitation card. Proofread a dozen times and then read it again before printing the invitation.
- If possible, order your wedding invitation cards at least 2 months before your wedding so that you are not under pressure to choose or miss out on proofreading.
- Make sure you know the additional price for an urgent or rush order if you need additional invitations.
- Make sure you know how long the printer will take to make corrections.
- Find out what is the refund policy if you were to cancel the order.
All said and done, you need to find someone special to think about the special wedding invitation paper! Finding the special someone starts with a Jodi Logik matrimony profile. What are you waiting for?
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