Medieval Wedding Invitations
Might sound strange but the history of wedding invitations is quite a long one, I dare say the first wedding invitations were painted on the walls of cages, as some recent studies say.
Back in the Middle Ages, wedding invitations were mostly verbalized, being issued out loud so that people who didn’t know how to read, could participate at the wedding, or the written invitations were left only in the care of educated people, since only the chosen few had the opportunity to learn how to write. These chosen ones were from the nobility or monks, the written invitations were sealed with wax and included the symbol of the family of the bride and groom, known as the coat of arms or family crest, and only after that the invitations were delivered through a courier.
Even though the printing press was invented in 1447, by Johannes Gutenberg, it was not used for wedding invitations until the twentieth century when the practice of sending formal wedding invitations was adopted in the United States. In the fifteenth century, in Europe, hand written wedding invitations were considered so
The postal system was not invented at the time and the messengers used horses in between towns to deliver the wedding invitation. Some were not that reliable as to deliver the wedding invitation without dirtying or ripping it so the practice of the double envelope became popular. When the invitation reached its destination, it was passed directly into the hands of a housemaid or butler who made sure to remove the outer envelope and pass the invitation in the inner envelope to the house master or mistress.
As literacy increased, in the 1600’s, all social classes had the possibility of sending wedding invitations but they were mostly announced in the newspaper.
The invention of the metal-plate engraving in 1642, marked a turning point in wedding invitation history. Since the printing was not used because it was considered of bad taste, the metal-plate engraving required the hand written text on the back of a metal plate using a carving tool, and only after that it was used to print the paper of the wedding invitations. And because the engraving could easily smudge, a small piece of tissue was used to prevent this thing from happening but also to preserve the invitation.
Lithography was invented in the late 1700’s, and soon replaced the technique of engraving making wedding invitations more beautifully printed. The modern cards we all know today became popular only after World War II and with that the thermographic printing, which creates a raised effect, became a wide spread technique in writing the wedding invitations.
Classical invitations are still highly appreciated today but people first have to think about the size of their wallet if they plan to use traditional hand written wedding invitations, since they don’t come cheap.
Still though, you have plenty of wedding invitation offers from which to choose so don’t despair!11