Thursday, January 14, 2010


Photo courtesy Flickr
Notes on wedding invitations:

The best ones are handwritten by the bride in black or blue-black ink. All the graphic variants of engraving, print, calligraphy, and the howling pretense of quick-print shops are simply attempts to mass-produce a decent, handwritten note.

Chose white or cream-colored paper with a high rag content and use a fountain pen. Cut dummy paper (I like to use yellow) the same size as the finished unit and practice writing the copy until you’re comfortable with the format. Respect your hand. Only a brute would criticize a written message as thoughtful as a handwritten invitation.

Traditional wording is fixed for a reason. Each term is chosen to protect the sensibilities of the reader. Formal copy conveys all essential information in the fewest words, a boon to the writer.

Choose the stamp with care. Some years ago, a bride used the whooping crane stamp on her invitations and many guests assumed she was pregnant. The John Paul Jones “I have not yet begun to fight” issue was also amusing.

If you don’t often entertain formally, choose an etiquette book to use as a common reference. Social convention is psychology on the ground. It protects boundaries and saves struggles over power.

Often, a member of a family will save an invitation. Choose the form with an eye to the future: that’s one of the reasons convention is so conventional.

Miss Manners has witty and rational advice for the prospective bride, primarily that if she thinks the wedding day will be the happiest one of her life, she should get real.

A handwritten invitation to a wedding in a private home is closest to the heart of the occasion. A marriage is performed by the couple, not clergy, caterer, or hotel. The white wedding dress was introduced by Queen Victoria. Before that marriage, the bride wore a garment that could be used later for special events.


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