Everything You Need to Know About Vellum Wedding Invitations

It's time to get familiar with this chic, semi-transparent invitation material.


Photo by Betty Clicker

Are you beginning to design your wedding invitation suite? If so, you likely already know that there are tons of options to choose from, and your design options are really only as limited as your imagination. Wedding invitations set the tone for the entire event to come—after all, it's the first piece of your big day that guests ever see—so it's important to select something that speaks to your style. One popular material invitation material you might want to consider? Vellum, which is a type of paper traditionally made from calfskin, but now most commonly made using cotton fibers. It’s a smooth, translucent paper that comes in different weights from thin and delicate to sturdy. 

What's more, you can use vellum in a variety of different ways: You can choose an invitation suite made entirely of the material for something sleek and modern or you can use it as an overlay for an otherwise traditional design. Ahead, wedding planner Roxanne Bellamy and stationer Katie Fischer share everything to know about vellum wedding invitations, no matter how you'd like to use the material.

Meet the Expert

  • Roxanne Bellamy is the owner and founder of Roxanne Bellamy & Co., a full-service event planning company, specializing mostly in intimate weddings. She works in tandem with stationers to help couples determine the look they want to convey with their invitations. 
  • Katie Fischer is the owner of Katie Fischer Design, a stationery design company specializing in invitations of all aesthetics from modern to traditional, and even some that feature original artwork.

Which Wedding Styles Work Best With Vellum?

While vellum is a very versatile material that can work with all styles, Bellamy likes it most for modern, clean designs. Fischer echoes this sentiment and says she’s seen vellum become a trend among couples planning simple, elegant, and modern weddings. Since the translucent paper can be ordered in different weights, so there are plenty of opportunities to play around and get creative. The thinner cut is great for overlays and jackets on top of cardstock, while a thicker vellum paper can actually be printed on. Bellamy has seen designs in which printed vellum is set on top of abstract artworks or even fabrics such as heat-stamped velvet. One suite she helped conceptualize “had embossed flowers on the backside, and we put the vellum so it was double-sided,” she explains. “It was a tactile and interesting piece.” 

“It’s a little trendy, but relatively classic. It’s one of my favorite materials to work with,” Bellamy says, adding that she likes to use it for menus as well. “It’s so simple and works really well on top of dinner plates.” Bellamy has also incorporated vellum into her own personal events, choosing it for DIY dinner party invitations and menus. 

wedding program

Courtesy of Etsy

What Design Options Do You Have When Working With Vellum?

Fischer recently completed a unique vellum invitation suite centered around a piece of custom art. “We created a mixed media [piece] using oil painting, line drawing, and holographic foil-stamping. We didn't want any invite wording to crowd the art piece, so an oversized vellum overlay was just the ticket,” she explains. “This way, upon first glance, the guest could see the art piece through the vellum. Additionally, this couple's aesthetic is minimalist and modern, making vellum a natural fit.”

In this case, vellum was used as a tool to showcase the centerpiece of the invitation suite, rather than being the star itself. Fischer also likes to use the material for a belly band or a gatefold. In other instances, vellum with printed text on it can be the focal point. It’s all about personal preference and design. Metallic foil letters can exude a glam vibe, while bold type can create a funky modern look. While vellum is traditionally white, there are soft color options like blush that can create a watercolor look, says Bellamy. 

Bellamy says after she gets an idea of a couple’s overall aesthetic and vibe—including rustic, romantic, boho, or modern— she brainstorms invitation-suite ideas. Then, she sits down with a stationer to create designs. Getting your perfect suite is all about communicating with your planners and designers. Of course, pre-made, budget-friendly design options are also out there on sites like Zazzle and Etsy

elegant wedding invitation suite

Courtesy of Feel Good Invites

How Much Do Vellum Wedding Invitations Cost?

As with most things related to a wedding, the cost of vellum invitations varies greatly depending on what you choose. “Every suite isn't built the same, so it depends on all the bells and whistles. Are you doing gold foil? All of these things impact the pricing,” says Bellamy. That being said, she says vellum is not the cheapest nor the most expensive option out there. Fischer adds that while vellum is pricier than cardstock, the printing can actually be cheaper. “It utilizes flat printing, which is less costly than letterpress, engraving, and foil-stamping,” she offers. 

To get an idea, a simple wedding invitation suite with a white cardstock invitation and white vellum jacket for 120 people starts at about $450 at Shine Wedding Invitations. Of course, customizing your invitation suite with a professional will bring up the cost. Bellamy says she has seen clients spend upwards of $4,000 on their stationery—and that’s for an intimate wedding of about 50 guests.

How Do You Mail Vellum Wedding Invitations?

No matter what the material, Bellamy always advises her clients—or their wedding coordinator— to go to the post office to mail the invitations rather than doing it from home. More involved suites can get quite heavy, and this avoids pesky return-to-sender problems. 

While vellum is very lightweight and on its own would not incur any additional shipping costs, the suite as a whole may. Bellamy recommends including two sturdy pieces of cardstock on either side of the vellum to ensure it doesn’t bend, crumple, fold, or shift around during the mailing process. This, coupled with multiple envelopes and any other details like fabrics, can bring the weight—and the price—up quickly.

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