Some peculiar features of today’s wedding invitations are actually remnants of the way life was a century or more ago. Some of these features can seem peculiar if you think too much about them, standing strong while the reasons for them have faded. Knowing more about their origins can help you decide for yourself how important they are for creating your unique wedding invitation.
Here is a bit of insider history behind three wedding invitation features we learned from expert event planner Mindy Weiss in her wedding planning tome, The Wedding Book:
Calligraphy and Elaborate Fonts
Why are so many people drawn to fancy font styles for their wedding invitations? Why is hand calligraphy still the standard for addressing envelopes in the age of computer labels? Besides the fact that weddings continue to be one of our most traditional and formal occasions, the explanation of these formalities is that penmanship (and literacy in general) historically was the domain of the clergy. Monks were the go-to authors of wedding invitations, commissioned the upper class who could afford their skills. Today, their influence lives on in typeface styles such as Antique Roman and Fancy Gothic, to name a few.
The Inner Envelope
The sending of letters in the 1800s was not the postal service as we know it today. The dirt and grime of unpaved streets and contact with so many hands made preserving the clean invitation envelope possible only by using another outer envelope. The inner envelope was protected, and therefore required no mailing address or sealing. Today’s invitations do not require this elaborate assembly, though the inner envelope may have usefulness as a way to invite individual family members such as children.
Oil-based ink that was used exclusively in early engraved printing took much longer to dry than today’s water-based inks. Placing a slip of tissue paper on top of the printing prevented smearing. It was one of those things people liked the look of and continued. With our modern sensibilities toward wastefulness, however, using tissue paper isn’t necessary. In fact, points out Ms. Weiss, tissue paper may look more like an anachronism.
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