The Social Invitations
As social creatures, we like to share, be it a wedding, birth of a child, a Christening, a birthday, a graduation, baby shower, bachelorette party or promotion. Perhaps it is to celebrate your first publication or grand opening. Whatever the occasion, sharing your special events and having others join in the celebration makes it that much more special.
Ever since man became socialized and started living and sharing their lives with others, extending invitations to these events has been practiced for ages. Ancient civilizations wrote upon scrolls and sent their messengers to deliver the invitation to a wedding, celebration or other joyful event.
Beginning in the 18th century, only the Elite in France and England used “invitations”, inviting their peers by way of handcrafted announcement, written by someone who was literate. The aristocracy never used “mass produced” as they were considered “in bad taste”. Calligraphy was very popular and a measure of education and place in society. Perfect penmanship was considered a work of art.
Much of today’s wording in invitations is similar to that of our ancestors. While people used wax seals with a family crest, today we use gold or silver foil seals with embellishments, such as scroll work, initials, etc.
Early invitations were delivered by servants on horseback, in all weather conditions. The outer envelope was developed to keep the invitation clean and hold the directions and instructions to the messenger.
During the mid-13th century, the printing press was introduced. Some elite saw this as an expression of their wealth and started using mass produced invitations. Wedding invitations were not printed until the 20th century. The tissue was placed between each invitation as a means of keeping the ink from smearing on the next invitation, allowing it time to dry.
- Several types of printing were soon available:
- Stamped ink
- Lithography – producing very sharp and distinctive inking
- Engraving – emulated hand writing
- Thermograph or ‘raised ink’ printing
To this day, the finest invitations are engraved. Today’s engraved invitations are acid-etched onto the copper by computers.
The style of the invitation, the wording and the printing method you choose are all a matter of personal preference and budget. There are thousands of styles to choose from whether on the internet or your local print shop.
The Wedding Invitation
Today’s wedding invitations are as unique as the couples themselves are – they come in a variety of styles, colours and themes. From the stationary to the colours to the embellishments, your wedding invitation should be an expression of you. Although many couples still choose more traditional wedding invites with black text printed on white card with only minor embellishments, others choose designs that are full of colour, vibrant, modern and funky – even cute or funny.
It was not that long ago that it was the town crier’s responsibility to announce an upcoming wedding by walking the streets, hailing: “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Joyous news for all the town! Be it known to all that Elisabeth Rose Wyndham and Johnathan Graeme Wendover are to be married at three-o’clock on Saturday the eighteenth of May. Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye! “
This practice continued into the 1600’s and beyond. However, the elite and those of nobility and aristocracy hired calligraphers to create their invitations, setting them apart from the commoners.
During the early 1600’s announcing your engagement and pending marriage in the newspaper became fashionable. From the mid-1600s and on, engraved wedding invitations became more popular they are the most traditional form of wedding invitations.
Nearly all invitations were hand-delivered up until the 1900’s. A messenger on horseback would hand the invitation to the butler, who would discard the outer envelope and present the pristine inner envelope to the recipient on a silver tray. By the 1950’s, commercially printed wedding stationery and technology such as thermography, with its raised lettering, brought appealing, affordable wedding invitations to everyone. Many digital printing options are the most affordable for the couple on a budget! For those who want a personal touch, handmade invitations are increasing in popularity – start early if you have many to send…
When ordering your invitations, carefully proofread all the text that will be included – most printers, online or in the print shop – make it clear that you are responsible for misspelling etc. Read the fine print of your agreement and ensure you order in plenty of time to send out and receive responses.