Wedding Invitations: What is a backing layer?

Nothing screams luxury more than a thick, stiff invitation. Conversely, invitations that are thin and bend easily send a message of poor quality and may reflect to the invitation recipient that the event will also be sub par. Thick cover stock is one way to achieve a luxurious feel. Another is to add a backing layer to the invitation.

A backing layer is a piece of cardstock adhered to the invitation itself. The backing layer is slightly larger than the invitation so it adds a border to the piece, creating an opportunity for an additional touch of color.

My favorite cardstock to use for a backing layer is Stardream metallic. Their 105 lb. stock can be purchased precut via cutcardstock.com or envelopemall.com, among others. I recommend the backing layer be sized .375″ greater than the invitation itself. For a 5″x7″ standard invitation for example, the backing layer would be 5″x7″ and the invitation would be 4.625″x 6.625″. This will achieve a .1875″ border all around the edge of the invitation.

The invitation pictured above was digitally printed on 100 lb. matte cover stock. It is adhered to a Stardream 105 lb. lapis lazuli (metallic navy blue) backing layer. The accompanying envelopes are Stardream Antique Gold.
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The Postcard Response Card: What You Need to Know

The postcard response card is gaining in popularity. One less envelope can mean cost savings for the couple, while also saving some trees. There are, however, a couple of things to consider:

Avoid Mailing Mishaps

The U.S. Postal Service will not mail anything smaller than 3.5×5. Doing a postcard response at the minimum size can be advantageous however, as four cards can be laid out per page when printing (more per page typically means cheaper. In other words, the smaller the card the better). Just be sure your cards cut accurately. Even cards slightly under the minimum can be rejected – believe me, a postal clerk WILL measure. I often lay out postcard response cards 3.625×5.125 (adding an 1/8th of an inch to the dimensions) just so any cutting mishaps do not render my postcards unusable or returned.

Make Sure Postcards Will Actually Save You Money

Postcards can save you money, IF you’re not being charged for double-sided printing. Some printers, particularly online vendors, will not charge for printing on the back of a card. However, if your printer does charge for double-sided printing, compare the cost of the envelope to the cost of double-sided printing. Weigh this with the cheaper postage of a postcard vs. an envelope (assuming you’re fronting the stamp on the response), and see how you come out.

Cost-cutting solution: leave the back blank and use labels or a stamp for your return address. Or, leave one side blank and like a traditional postcard, use the left side for your message and the right for address information:

In general, the more formal the invitation, the less inclined I am to recommend a postcard. However, if you’re looking to cut corners, postcard responses can be a viable option.

Metallic Mania: Foil Printing

For a reflective sheen, and some texture (think letterpress), you may wish to consider foil printing. Like offset printing, it can come with a heavy price tag for wedding invitations, but the effect can be phenomenal. To take gold to the next level, more brides are using this method for their invitations, and several online vendors are now offering this option.