Get The Look – Using Tissue Or Vellum For Your Invitations

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Little See-Through Invitation Inserts, Tissue & Vellum

Have you ever received a wedding invitation in the mail with little paper inserts between the cards and thought, “what’s this piece of tissue paper for?” or “what’s the point of this little see-through sheet?” and maybe, “do I have to put these little things in my invitations?” All very common questions, you are not alone.

Those little paper inserts you saw were either invitation tissue or vellum, and they are actually quite common. In this post, learn the difference between tissue and vellum inserts, why they are used, and which is best for your invitations.

traditional white wedding tissue on invitation card

What is Invitation Tissue

An old wedding tradition, invitation tissue is a small, thin, slightly translucent piece of tissue paper that is placed just over the words of an invitation card, and between every individual card of the ensemble.






clear vellum insert on invitation card

What is Vellum

Vellum is also a thin, light weight, translucent, material that is cut to small sizes when used in invitations – just enough to cover words and be used as a subtle divider between cards. However, unlike tissue that has a soft and cloudy appearance, vellum has a clearer, more plastic-like appearance.

Why are these Little Inserts Used?

Whether tissue, vellum, or something else, there are two main reasons that small inserts are used in wedding invitation ensembles.

The first is wedding tradition. Dating back hundreds of years to when invitations were written by hand and folks ran the risk of ink smudge and illegible invitations, tissue was traditionally used to blot excess ink and prevent smudging – hence the placing over wording and between cards. Though tissue is not always necessary today, the tradition has stuck around, and has been morphed a bit into the common use of other dividing papers such as vellum.

Especially when decorative or colorful, placing tissue or vellum over invitation cards offers a nice presentation, whether necessary for smudge prevention or not.

Shown below is our Japanese Mum Beige tissue pre cut to fit invitations that are approximately 5 x 7. Mum Beige tissue is very, very light & sheer paper that is used for decorative purposes. Note how it’s sized to cover the wording only and not sized to cover the entire invitation.

invitations with decorative tissue

Do I Need to Use Inserts?

In today’s day and age, inserts are not always necessary, but in some cases, highly recommended, as some invitation print methods, designs, and styles are more likely to smudge, scratch, or get damaged in the mail than others.

When Inserts are Recommended – Things to Look Out For

  • Ink jet printing – Particularly if you have a lot of coverage, ink jet printed cards are more likely to smudge in the mail over cards printed with lasers and conventional methods.
  • Lots of “stuff” – The more cards and inserts that are in your envelope, the more likely they are to rub up against each other and smudge/scratch. An insert provides an extra layer of protection.
  • Bling – Brads, crystals, gems – any of that hard “bling” you use to jazz up your cards may also damage neighboring cards if no protective layer is placed between them.
  • Pocket invitations – All folded up on itself, each card on top of the next, pocket style invitations are at a higher risk for smudging, scratching, and the like. Dividing inserts are highly encouraged.

When in doubt, just throw some inserts in there – better to be safe than sorry!

Why Some Choose Tissue as an Insert. . .

Wedding tissue is the classic, the standard, the tradition that’s always in vogue. Whether for aesthetics or for necessity, those with traditional taste looking for dividing inserts typically go with tissue.

Where Others Choose Vellum

Though tissue is the tradition, many are using vellum as a replacement these days for a couple of reasons:

Convenience in Cutting
Many seeking out invitation tissue at their local craft stores quickly learn that it is not available in standard invitation sizes. If you have ever tried to cut tissue, you will understand why at that point, they quickly nix the tissue idea and switch to another nice, thin, translucent option – vellum! If you’re cutting on your own, it is much easier to achieve a clean, neat, wrinkle free look on vellum than it is on tissue.

Luckily, LCI offers both traditional and decorative invitation tissue cut to standard invitation sizes, so you will only have to use vellum if you choose to use vellum. Oh yeah, and we have vellum cut to small invitation sizes too.

Looks & Preference
All in all, some people simply prefer the sharper, clearer, more modern look of translucent vellum to tissue, and that is a-ok!

Important Note about Tissue & Smudging! If your main incentive for using inserts is ink smudging, tissue is your best bet. Where vellum works to prevent damage from embellishments, scratching, rubbing, etc., it does not do so well with ink absorption and smudge prevention. In fact, due to its hardened, almost plastic-like feel, it may make smudging worse.

Shown on the left is our Japanese Sukashi vellum, a decorative and printable vellum paper. Paper is standard size and would need to be cut to fit your invitations. Shown on the right is our pre-cut 5 x 7 vellum paper with a clear frost like appearance.

invitations with vellum inserts

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