The Fascinating History of Wedding Invitations
Wedding invitations have evolved drastically since the Middle Ages. When once a couple’s nuptials would be announced via a town crier, today it wouldn’t be out of the question to invite friends and family to your celebration – for the night do, anyway – via WhatsApp message.
You don’t need us to tell you we’re all about the traditional invite at Weddings by Lumi; there’s nothing nicer (and more exciting!) than receiving an invitation to a special day or evening through the post.
To mark how far the practice of sending invites
has come, we’re taking a trip down memory lane on the blog today. Read on…
The Middle Ages and Before
The moveable-type printing press
came to be in 1447, but prior to this, a town crier would confidently stroll through the streets announcing the day’s news – notable wedding or otherwise.
With illiteracy widespread among common people, states Wikipedia
, ‘the practice of sending written wedding invitations emerged among the nobility’, with families of means commissioning monks, skilled in calligraphy, to craft their notices by hand – which were, of course, sealed with wax.
So, if you’ve ever received a wedding invite bearing a rather fancy-looking wax stamp, you now know how far back the tradition dates.
1600 and Beyond
The printing press had emerged by now, but ordinary printing techniques – in which ink was simply stamped onto the paper using lead type – didn’t offer a result that complemented a formal wedding invite.
During this period, though, people began announcing weddings in newspapers – a tradition which, it could be argued, is gradually fading into obscurity today. Why spend money on a newspaper announcement when you can tell everyone you know, and in one fell swoop, via a Facebook status?!
In 1642, metal-plate engraving meant higher-quality wedding invitations were doing the rounds amongst the middle class.
Fun fact: if you thought it was time-consuming to pull together all the necessary details for your own wedding invitations, consider this: in the 1600s, the wording of invites typically featured the name of each and every guest as well as the date, time and venue.
The Industrial Revolution
Lithography, which emerged in 1798, made mass-marked wedding invitations possible. Invites were delivered by hand on horseback (what else?!) still, with a ‘double envelope’ protecting them as they made their way to their recipients.
World War II
Commercially printed ‘fine wedding stationery’, states Wikipedia, ‘can be traced to the period immediately following World War II.’
Why? The common man now had ‘the ability to mimic the lifestyles and materialism of society’s elite’, due to a ‘combination of democracy and rapid industrial growth’.
While the more bohemian couples (or those who are hosting an informal wedding event, or an evening do only) might prefer to keep things simple and send out an email or text-based invite, postal invitations are still very much the way to go for most couples.
A physical, paper-based invite allows you to inject more personality into your wedding invitations – which act as a fun precursor to your big day.
Don’t forget an RSVP card, too. It’s much easier to keep track of RSVPs through the post than text or email-based replies. By sending a digital wedding invitation, you also run the risk of your family and friends archiving it by accident, or simply forgetting to reply – such is the hectic nature of everyone’s day-to-day lives.
Add a pre-addressed, pre-stamped response card to a physical wedding invite, though, and you’ll be far more likely to receive a response in a timely manner.
Have you sent out your wedding invites yet – and will you be employing any of the traditions or techniques of yesteryear? Chat to our team
about our wedding stationery collections; we’ll ensure your invitations perfectly reflect you and your day.
Until next time…