Have you ever wondered how newly engaged couples invited people to their weddings before printing presses were invented or wedding invitations were sent out?
Did they just go from door to door inviting people or spread “the word” through the grapevine?
Ever wonder what wedding invitations originally looked like or how they’ve changed?
Well, whether you’ve wondered about the history of announcing weddings or have never even thought about it, I think you’ll find today’s post fascinating and interesting.
Wedding Invitations From Approximately 401AD- Early 1400s
Picture yourself going back in time to the middle ages. You’re standing in the middle of a town center when someone begins to yell. This someone is the town crier and he’s wearing ornate attire. He unfolds a long, beautiful scroll and begins reading a wedding invitation aloud. Whoever is in earshot to hear the invitation is invited to the wedding - with one exception….if your families don’t get along, you’re not invited.
Even in those days, people didn’t want family rivalry showing up to crash the party.
Most people didn’t know how to read and write so written invitations were only prevalent among nobility or kings and queens. Those in high society would hire monks to handwrite wedding invitations using their calligraphy skills, but for the majority it was the town crier who did the inviting.
Wedding Invitations From 1447-1600
In 1447, a moveable printing press by the name of Gutenberg’s printing press was invented and literacy rates improved, making printed wedding invitations more popular. This method, however, which was done by stamping ink onto paper, often left smudges, resulting in poor quality invitations.
When Ludwig Von Siegen invented metal plate engraving in 1642, it soon caught on and became a technique that caused people to once again love printed wedding invitations.
Also in the 1600s, people began announcing their weddings in the newspaper. Much like today, these announcements accompanied printed wedding invitations.
Invitations in the 1800s and the History of the Outer Envelope
In 1798, the lithography printing method was invented. This method of printing involved using chemicals to make images and created a cleaner and crisper result.
This provided a way for commoners, or those outside of nobility, to mass produce invitations at a cheaper and faster rate. Soon, most invitations were produced this way, although some among the nobility still preferred handcrafted invitations, so as not to look cheap.
Until the 1900s, almost all wedding invitations were hand delivered. Approximately two weeks before the wedding, a rider would take off on a horse with all of the invitations in hand. This is why wedding invitations began to have an outer envelope. The outer envelope protected the inner envelope and invitation from dirt and debris. It was also used to write the directions to each recipient’s house.
Once the servant reached the house, the outer envelope was removed and the invitation was delivered to the doorman.
Wedding Invitations From the 1960s to Today
In the 1960s, a method of printing known as thermography - which uses heat to create raised lettering - was invented. Still in use today, this method mimics the look of metal engraving, but is a fraction of the cost.
Paper types, styles, and colors have become more readily available and additional printing methods such as letterpress and other digital printing processes have been invented.
Today, you’ll find pocketfold wedding invitations in addition to numerous other styles and designs. We’ve truly come a long way since the days of the homogenous scroll and the town crier.
Now, with all this talk about history, the question remains - will your wedding invitation MAKE history?
Every bride-to-be wants wedding invitations that stand out.
I mean, who doesn’t want a unique wedding invitation that guests rave about and remember long after your wedding day has passed and your invitation has been relocated from its perch on the refrigerator?
When it comes to designing wedding invitations, the world really is your oyster. You can draw inspiration from decades or centuries prior or look to the future and create truly funky wedding invitations.
Whether the inspiration for your wedding invitations is a period in time, a specific style, or you’ve found a design that you love, I can help you create an invitation that “makes history” and stands out from the moment your guests receive their invite in the mail. Reach out to me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.