It was a weekday. I was standing at an aisle in Office Depot, on a rare emergency run for paper. The ream I was holding indicated it was "100lb." so I thought "PERFECT! That's the same weight I use!" So I quickly went to checkout and ripped that baby open right when I got home.
There was just one tiiiiny problem. This was basically flimsy, copy paper. I needed this paper for invitations. I was CONFUSED.
That day, I learned that "100lb. Index Paper" is completely different than "100lb. Coverstock." Paper thickness and weights are not as clear cut as I once thought.
Let's make sure you're on the fast track to getting that luxe paper you want for your wedding stationery—no office depot meltdowns included.
Whether you're a creative powerhouse who wants to DIY some pieces, or chat with your stationery designer about options, you'll gain know-how on:
- Avoiding paper weights that feel cheap or flimsy
- Capturing your personality through paper TYPES (silk paper, vellum paper, wood paper, handmade paper? oh myyyyy!)
- Setting the mood with colors
- Common paper sizes for invitations + details
- Choosing the right paper for printing (digital, letterpress, and foil printing)
- Last, but definitely the JUICIEST part: Where to SHOP for good paper online. These are sites I personally use!
What's just as important as how your invitations look?
How it feels. And not in a "wu wu" kind of way. How it LITERALLY feels. The medium your design is on is just as important as the actual design itself.
Whether you're going the DIY route, or want to work with a stationery designer for the big day, here are some tips to help you choose the perfect paper for the big day.
Think about your favorite romcom film. Got it? Now let's cut to the ending scene where everybody is happy and lively. Wouldn't it be weird if the colors were all gray, dark, and moody? Or imagine going to a spa to relax, and upon entering, you find the walls painted with the loudest neon colors you've ever seen. Colors play such a huge part in setting the mood, and this is no exception with paper!
The main thing to consider: What kind of mood do you want to set for your big day? Going for a classy, timeless, elegant look? You might want to stick to colors like ivories, creams, and pops of black. Immediately, you think more formal, black-tie, classy, or even traditional, right? Want to add a burst of energy and unexpected surprise? Neons were all the rage in 2022 and they're still going strong now. They'd be perfect for hinting at something more casual and loose! Just check out the example below: a few color swaps, and they feel like completely different events.
There are HUNDREDS of paper colors to choose from so before you finalize your wedding color palettes with your planners, or even as you're creating it yourself, think about how this will affect all of your stationery from engagement till the party's over.
TLDR: Your colors create the vibe.
We've all done it: bought flimsy clothes because they were just too cute to pass up. I remember what it was like when I stopped shopping at Forever 21 and started investing in higher quality pieces in my late 20s. The difference was more shocking than Rihanna's superbowl pregnancy announcement. It was only then I realized fabrics could actually feel luxurious and comfortable, rather than trendy... but cheap and flimsy.
Even if you have a killer design, using paper that's too thin will instantly make it feel less than the masterpiece it should be. I won't bore you with all the details of how paper weights are measured because it honestly just gets so confusing.
In a nutshell:
- aim for the word "coverstock,"
- avoid "text weight"
- don't buy anything less than 100lbs (written as 100#)
I did a quick search on Amazon for "110lb. paper" these two results showed up right next to each other:
See how the first one has a different grams per square inch (gsm/g/m2) number? The first says: 199gsm, and the second: 297gsm. Both say 110lb, but the first is 110lb. INDEX, and the second is COVER.
Watch out for that when you're buying paper to avoid an invitation meltdown like I had :)
Here at A Modern Wedding, our pieces are printed on 120#-240# for an extra luxurious feel. The heavier the paper, the thicker and more luxurious it will be. Note: 240# is known as duplexed,or double thick paper;resulting from gluing two pieces of paper together. It's rigid, thiccccc,and downright luxurious.
TLDR: Use coverstock 100# and up!
We'll break this area down into 2 sections: Finish + Material
Matte + Glossy are the yin and yang of paper finishes. They branch off into many variations from there, but ultimately, you're deciding if you want your paper to look shiny or not 🤷🏻♀️.
We love matte paper around here for all wedding stationery, and reserve the glossy stuff for things like business flyers and postcards.
Here's where things get REALLY interesting:
There are thousssands of paper types! Did you know there's such a thing as plantable paper? Yes, you literally cover it up with some soil, water it, and wait for flowers to grow. Other than plantable paper, there's so many other nature inspired textures and materials to choose from! Specialty papers are great for accents, using as backing paper, belly bands, or anywhere you want to add a punch of interesting texture.
Here's even more options (and this is just the beginning!):
- Handmade Paper
- Wood Paper
- Silk Paper
- Paper made out of fruit leaves (mango, banana, etc.)
- Vellum (that beautiful, semi-translucent paper you see everywhere!)
Paper from Mulberry Papers
I used the 2nd paper as the belly band to an invitation suite:
TLDR: Matte papers mixed with vellum pieces for that see-through effect = chef's kiss
For digital print, (the most common, and cost-effective type of printing), cover stock is the usual choice. Digital print, as its name suggests, feeds through printers containing rollers to digitally print the artwork. So this means it's a no-go for textured or specialty paper such as wood paper, handmade paper, or silk paper—they just wouldn't take the ink well and couldn't survive all the gears of the printer.
Cotton-based paper is the wedding industry's go-to for elevated printing methods such as letterpress, and embossing as it's thicker than standard copy paper and provides a gorgeous finish. It's fibers are pillowy and soft, so when tons of pressure is applied, it creates a crisp, deep, impression.
Check out these embossed beauties from some past invitations:
TLDR: Digital print = coverstock, Cotton Paper for Letterpress & Embossing, save specialty paper for accents, belly bands, wraps, and backing paper.
We'll keep this part short: Here are the most common invitation sizes:
Main Invitation: 5"x7" (also known as A7)
RSVP Card: 3.5"x5" (also known as 4-bar) OR 4"X6"
Details Card: 4.25x5.5" (also known as A2) OR 4"X6"
If you don't hear from me over the next few weeks, it's because my head's been served on a silver platter by designers who wouldn't want these resources out in the wild. Links that come up a dime a dozen on Google? Easy. But "secret" companies/vendors we ACTUALLY use? Death sentence For you? I'll take my chances...save these links!!
These companies carry multiple brands and have giant selections.
We've put a "*" next to those who also offer printing services:
Today, you learned about some major factors to consider for choosing your wedding stationery. Want to be first in-the-know for more insider tips like these?
Make sure to join our newsletter for resource-packed emails you'll love to get.
To invitations that are giving "Luxury, Chanel, and afternoon on a million dollar yacht vibes.."