The custom of resorting to written invitations to ensure that carefully selected people participated in social events began shortly before the eighteenth century. The high society and the aristocracy of England and France, including kings, queens, dukes and duchesses, had the idea first. These postcards were written by their own servants, advisers, or secretaries. The paper used was precious, very expensive, and the ability to know how to write over correctly and with some aesthetics was seen as a sign of great prestige, so as to lead to the emergence of specific calligraphy studies for invitations and participation. In addition, the participations were handed over by assigned people, who had to wait patiently for the person who was sent to decide what to do.
And then it remained in history and tradition to continue to use invitations to events and ceremonies, but I am not going to list the evolution and then step to what interests us specifically: Wedding Invitations.
Know that the real business card of a wedding is wedding attendance, but many couples underestimate this aspect. It is a widespread opinion that those who receive the invitation do not read it with particular attention or even throw away it, transcribing the date of marriage on the agenda. This will be true for the most distracted, but a careful person, from the type of participation received, as well as from the fixed location and time, draws different considerations on the tone of marriage, on what to wear and why not on what it will be to the bride’s gift.
An Amalfi handwritten announcement, for example, possibly with the initials of the bridal wedges carved in gold, announces an elegant, traditional and formal wedding. While an invitation from the sought after materials, originally assembled, imagines a nonconformist wedding, probably trendy or extravagant, and will give you the idea of the style you chose for the entire wedding.
There are various formulas for announcing marriage. In the most traditional one spouses’ parents announce the wedding. Nowadays, though, this formula is in disuse. The spouses prefer, in fact, to announce their marriage by themselves. However, some young people, linked to traditions and who want an elegant wedding, continue to prefer the announcement of their parents, which is, however, not to be advised either when they are separated or widowed, or in the event that their children do not live longer with them.
The gentle request for confirmation must be compulsory: the discrete letter “R. S. V P.” (acronym borrowed from the French language which stands for “Réspondez S’il Vous Plait”).
The invitations must be shipped between two and three months before the date of marriage. They can also be delivered by hand by the spouses or parents of the latter (if you have chosen the formula with parental announcement).
It is important that the names on the envelopes are not printed. They are always handwritten in beautiful calligraphy. Absolutely avoid all titles (Dr., Ing., Prof., etc.) in front of the names of the guests, unless they belong to the Arma or the Clergy. All names of guests must be preceded by the Mr, Mrs or Mr&Mrs. In the case of a family, simply indicate “Family + Surname”. If the children do not live with their parents anymore, give them a special attendance. In the case of a married couple without children, write “Name Surname and Lady” or (better) “His Name and Her Name + Surname”.
It is mandatory, after the wedding, to send thank-you cards to relatives and friends who have given you a gift. This practice, however courteous, has unfortunately fallen into disuse. The card must be handwritten and personalized. Ever generic phrases like “Bride and Groom Thank You for Your Gift”. It is absolutely necessary to specify the gift that has been received and the satisfaction, accompanying everything with a cute phrase created ad hoc for your guest. If the gift is in cash, it is advisable to mention the use it has made. If gifts have been delivered before the wedding, you have two alternatives that can be overwhelmed by the commitment to write and ship all the cards the days following the ceremony. You can send them as the various gifts arrive, or, if you leave for your trip shortly after the reception, prepare them with time and entrust a nearby person with the task of sending them. I highly recommend this second option.
Today marriages between people of different countries are very common, maybe the couple live in his or her city, or even in a third country that welcomed them for work or personal reasons. So
the Save the Date is an announcement that is to be sent six months before the wedding date, a useful time to give the guests who reside in a different state from where the wedding is to be held, to organize their own trip and book travel and accommodation (if you are going to manage the logistics part, please inform the interested parties in advance).
Surely with all these notions you already have the headache but, beyond the style you choose, you understand that sending out paper invitations reflects above all good education. Any other digital form of communication is and must remain a plus. Wedding invitations are the beginning of everything, that special moment in which you share your joys with the most dear ones. They will talk about you, your love story, and what you want for your life together.
Take care of them.
Photo Credits: Les Amis Photo, Cinzia Bruschini, Monica Leggio
Suites by CUTandPAST Lab for BiancoAntico Wedding