History of Wedding Invitations

How did it all start? How did the wedding invitation evolve to be a beautifully crafted letter pressed piece of linen paper with rounded edges? As little back as the 14th century you could consider yourself a welcomed guest to any wedding if you heard the town's crier make the announcement reading from a beautiful scroll. At a time when most people were illiterate, he would simply stand in the middle of the town center and read the invitation to the townspeople. There were of course some exceptions, royalty and members of the elite tried to outdo each other with lavish wedding invitations written in calligraphy. Such invitations included the family crest to help the illiterate identify the host.

In the mid-1400s, with the invention of the Gutenberg's printing press, as well as literacy increase, printed invitations became more common. This was simply stamping ink onto paper which at the time was efficient but was prone to smudging. This printing technique made it more plausible for commoners to use printed wedding invitations. Some members of the elite still preferred handwritten invitations since anything mass produced was looked down upon by some.

The early 1600s is actually when the modern day wedding invitation began to take form. Besides making engagement or wedding announcements in the newspaper, the modernized society was able to take advantage of engraved wedding invitations. At this time, servants still hand-delivered these invitations on horseback within two weeks of the wedding.

By the mid-1900s, technological advancement and a variety of printing options has allowed for couples with any budget to give their guests a first glimpse of their special day through their wedding invitation. Some historic wedding invitation practices have become obsolete; but many traditions upheld by modern-day couples have simply evolved and adapted to our way of life. Click on Traditions to learn more.

Tissue paper

The tissue paper in folded invitations or on top of flat invitations are a tradition based on historical necessity. Printed invitation was very likely to smear after being placed in an envelope, therefore, tissue paper was placed on the ink to keep it from smearing. Even though, the printing process has changed dramatically, the tradition of the tissue paper remains. It is now a classic and beautiful addition to any wedding invitation.

Double envelope

Having an inner and outer envelope for wedding invitations is a custom carried on through the ages. It used to be so, because wedding invitations were delivered via horseback; therefore, by the time the invitations was delivered to the recipient it was no doubt in the best shape. The postman would hand the invitation to the butler who would then remove the clean envelope inside and deliver it to the homeowner.