Wedding planner Roxanne Bellamy says wedding invitations are no longer an “afterthought.” In the past couple years, she has seen couples choose suites that truly help define their wedding look. “It’s just as important as floral design, and it should definitely complement the wedding’s overall aesthetic,” she says.
Thinking of how to put together your invitation suite? Well, there are tons of options these days to choose from to design your invitation. One popular material to put in the mix? Vellum.
What is a Vellum Invitation?
Definition: Traditionally, vellum is a type of paper that is actually made from calfskin. But, today most vellum is made from cotton fibers. It’s a smooth, translucent paper that comes in different weights from thin and delicate to sturdy.
Vellum wedding invitations are a sleek, modern and versatile option. But, there are a few things to know before you commit.
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.
As mentioned, 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.
What Are the Design Options?
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.
How Much Do the Invitations Cost?
“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 the 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.