“The Craft of Authentic Letterpress Invites” – by Paper Themes

Paper Themes Bespoke Stationery offer a fabulous range of stationery, accessories, and decorations. They utilise a traditional printing method called ‘Letterpress’ and have kindly shared some valuable tips with the Dotty Vintage readers…

Your wedding invites are the first indication that your guests will have as to the type of wedding you are going to host.  Even the smallest of details play a role in setting the tone of your celebration; from the typography, to the colours, to the language chosen.

Letterpress Printing

A facet of vintage wedding invites that may not have even entered your mind is how they are printed. Most wedding stationers place emphasis on delivering value for money and digital printing has become the norm. There is an alternative for those who want a truly authentic vintage wedding theme: letterpress printing.

Letterpress Printing

In a digital world where everything can be commoditised and mass-produced, letterpress printing harks back to an age that was less rushed. In this post, we’ll explore a bit about the history of letterpress printing, and why it might be worth considering for your vintage wedding.


The letterpress process dates back as far as the fifteenth century and was still widely used as recently as the mid-twentieth century in the production of books. The technique, invented by a German printer named Johannes Gutenberg, involves positioning and locking in place type on the printing press bed. The type is then inked, before the printer presses card or paper against it to create an impression on the paper.

Letterpress Printing

The Effect

You’ll understand why letterpress is such a revered form of printing as soon as you run your fingers across the invitations. The way the wording is sunken into the paper or card is stunning; it gives them a tactile and luxurious effect.

As the printer presses the paper or card against the type face, it does so with a reasonable amount of force.  This ensures that a clear and complete impression of the type is achieved. The force of the operation creates the indentation on the paper, where the type face makes contact with it.

Letterpress Printing

In most instances, letterpress printers only have the capacity to apply one colour to the paper at a time.  This means that additional colour must be added as part of a secondary printing operation, which opens up the door for error.

This is where the real skill is in letterpress printing. Adding a second colour without overprinting the first one takes great precision and so the production of letterpress wedding invitations can only be carried out by printers who are skilled in the technique.

Letterpress Printing

What’s it going to cost?

With the printing technique requiring a huge amount of skill and time, it probably won’t come as a surprise when we tell you that letterpress printing costs more than those produced using modern techniques.

(It’s worth bearing in mind though, that the more invitations you order, the less expensive they are per invitation.  This is because the expense of setting up the press is split across the number of invites printed, thus reducing the price of the individual unit.) 

Using two colours will also increase the cost, as it means the job will be more difficult and they’ll be additional print operation.  The table below provides information on what you can reasonably expect to pay per invitation, depending on how many invites you have printed and whether you have one or two colours.

Number of Wedding Invitation Printed








One Colour Invites








Two Colour Invites








There is no hiding away from the fact that letterpress wedding invitations are fairly expensive – particularly if you are having an intimate day with only close friends and family.  Whilst the price per invite comes down the more guests you have, the cost of single colour letterpress invitations for 100 or more guests is still around three times that of digitally printed invitations.

Letterpress Printing

So, is the extra cost worth it?  Well, that is really down to what you consider priority when it comes to your big day.  Some brides and grooms would rather allocate budget to other areas of the wedding, whilst others believe that a beautiful invitation that guests can keep for years is essential.  You will have to make that decision yourself!  What you can be certain of is that if you do decide to go with letterpress printing, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Interested, and want to find out more?

You can view the whole Letterpress Range on the Paper Themes Website.

Visit them on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

L x



About dottyvintage

Love Vintage, Love Weddings


  1. These invitations are beautiful and they would set the tone for a sophisticated wedding. The one shown above is very on trend this year with the revival of 1920’s and The Great Gatsby themes.

    • They’re gorgeous aren’t they? Of course, more expensive than digitally produced invitations and stationery, but the quality is clear to see. Glad you liked them 🙂

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