The word laser evokes something almost science fiction – a thin beam of light that cuts through an object like an invisible sword. That is, in a sense, exactly what laser cutting – one of the more interesting trends in wedding stationery right now – does.

Laser cut technology “utilizes a high temperature laser beam to cut or engrave materials, from paper to wood, leather, fabric, cork or acrylic, among other materials,” says Éva Bartha, director of Laser Creative, a stationery design studio in Baltimore, Ontario.

This method allows for intricate, elaborate design and is easier to achieve than traditional hand- or die-cutting. The edges come out cleaner and sharper, and the overall look is striking and elegant.

Another perk? “You have complete control of the project you’re working on,” says Dianna Osickey, a designer at Fourth Year Studio in Knoxville, Tennessee. Because of this control, Osickey says that it’s much easier to experiment until the desired effect is achieved. “Each piece is cut one at a time, so you can make adjustments between a batch.”

To get technical, Bartha explains that each design involves “creating a digital vector file using a vector-based program, creating one piece out of any separate segments that would overlap and converting it to outlines for cutting, then going back to make sure no parts fall out in the cutting process.” She likens it to creating a stencil.

The level of work that goes into laser designs – the machines are not automated, so someone has to stand with the machine as it works – mean that it’s typically a pricier option for wedding invitations, compared to a method like letter pressing. However, as with all things stationery, the exact price depends on the materials used. “Typically, things worth cutting or etching are more expensive,” says Osickey.

The cost of the machine is another factor. Many designers outsource to studios that have laser technology instead of investing in their own machine, which can run upward of $15,000.

But one of the true benefits of laser cutting, and the reason it’s worth the extra dollars spent, is that clients have the option to create a token for their wedding, not just a throwaway piece of paper. Osickey has created everything from coasters with important wedding dates on the top, to a scroll that guests could hang on their wall. (The inspiration for that one came from thinking about how wedding invitations were traditionally delivered long ago.) Bartha has laser cut white leather that was incorporated into the dress of a Canadian fashion designer.

Even though laser cut invites are making a wave in the wedding world, Osickey still considers it a niche market. “I haven’t heard too many people request laser cutting because they received their own laser cut invitation – it’s usually something they’re seeking out,” she explains. The popularity of wedding ideas Pinterest and other wedding sites have helped grow inspiration and interest, too.

The increased popularity is more than welcome to design pros like Bartha, who calls the process “very gratifying from a design perspective.” “It brings more texture, interest and a multidimensional element to a usually flat medium like stationery,” Bartha says.

©CTW Features