Bring a Sense of History to Your Wedding Invitations

It hasn’t always been hundreds of online options or the local chi-chi paperie. Wedding invitations have a long history stretching back to the Middle Ages! Honor that history and spice up your invitations by following some of the tips inside.

Once upon a time in the Middle Ages, weddings were announced by town criers in the village square. You might feel just like one with the way you’re announcing your wedding around – whether it’s calling all your friends and family or getting together with the girls to talk up the pre-pre-wedding planning (you can never start too soon!), you want the news out, and you want it out now! You likely don’t want stragglers creeping into your wedding, though, so don’t go too crazy, Mrs.-to-be. Remember, try and keep the wedding talk to invited company, or you’ll be facing hurt feelings once the wedding invitations are sent out.

Who’s addressing your invitations? If Mom frets at the thought of addressing every envelope, remind her that the first written wedding invitations were crafted by monks who were skilled in the art of calligraphy, and often, aside from royalty and the very rich, the only ones who could read and write. So it could be much worse! Luckily these days we have pre-printed invitations with tons of different options. You’ll probably have trouble hunting down anyone with the skill to expertly gold-leaf each individual wedding invitation, but don’t fret. With today’s variety of choices, you don’t need monks, just a little creativity and the right stationery company!

Metal plate engraving came into fashion a few centuries later, a tedious process involving creating an actual metal plate to press to each of the wedding invitations, an expensive and difficult process that led to the now-common use of thin sheets of tissue over wedding invitations originally used to prevent newly engraved pages from smudging. Real engraved invitations aren’t seen around much today. For that much expense, you could have an extra day or two in Hawaii on your honeymoon!

But just because invitations are easier to make, it doesn’t mean they’ll ever look cheap! The invention of lithography made printed wedding invitations much cheaper and easier to make, and the industry picked up in the years following the Industrial Revolution, all the way up to the 1950s, when the industry really went wild. To add a little extra element of luxury to your wedding invitations, try using shades of silver or gold, or adding in a pretty metallic ribbon. Glossy black backgrounds never go out of style, and fine cream-colored linen is the loveliest way to share your message of joy with your friends and family.

With the popularity of fine wedding stationery and the new reliability of the postal service in the twentieth century, printed wedding invitations became a requirement for any couple intending to wed.