Wedding Cards may be sent to the ‘Happy Couple’ by friends and colleagues to arrive close to their wedding day to congratulate them and offer best wishes etc.

According to etiquette guidelines, guests attending a wedding (or a pre-wedding party) should plan to give the newlyweds a thoughtful gift to celebrate their marriage. If your gift is arriving after the party or wedding, it is nice to give a Wedding Card, so the couple knows a gift is coming.

What should you write in a Wedding Card? Some suggestions are:

“Sending you wishes for a lifetime of love and happiness.”

“We wish you all the best as you begin your lives together.”

“May the years ahead strengthen the love that you share.”

“Best wishes for a beautiful marriage filled with wonderful memories.”

“Warm wishes for a beautiful wedding day and a happy union.”

Wedding Cards are a part of Wedding Stationery which are all lovely souvenirs of the couples Wedding Day.

The origins of modern “fine wedding stationery” began after World War II. Increased industrial growth meant that ordinary people could afford high quality printed wedding stationery. Fine wedding invitations were no longer for the middle classes.

The fine wedding stationery was made commercially available and almost all engaged couples began sending formal wedding invitations. No longer were beautiful wedding invitations reserved only for society’s elite.

Invitations to Weddings were not always restricted to family and close friends. Before the invention of the printing press in 1447, weddings were announced by the Town Crier (a person employed to make public announcements). People were largely illiterate in the 1400s, so this was the most efficient way to announce a wedding; but anyone who heard the announcement was welcome to attend the ceremony!

Handwritten wedding invitations were only used by England’s nobility during this time. The noble class would hire monks who were skilled in the art of calligraphy to hand-craft their wedding invitations. The invitations would be closed with a wax seal and delivered to specific invitees.

Wording used on today’s invitations often follow the traditional format of invitations from this time. The invitation would be sent in an inner envelope, encased with an outer envelope. With no postal service, it was the duty of the servants to deliver invitations, on horseback, whatever the weather. This explains the need for the outer envelope – this protected the inner envelope from getting wet or dirty and displayed directions of how the courier must travel to reach his destination. Upon arrival, the outer envelope would be discarded, and the courier would present the pristine, inner envelope containing the wedding invitation.

It was around the 1600’s when newspapers were regularly printed that people started to announce their weddings in the paper.

The social etiquette of sending wedding invitations began around the beginning of the 18th century when reading and writing was a sign of education, so it was only the elite who could use this form of correspondence.

Etiquette regarding the text on a formal wedding invitation varies according to country, culture, and language. In Western countries, a formal invitation is typically written in the formal, third-person language, saying that the hosts wish for the recipient to attend the wedding and giving its date, time, and place.

As the bride’s parents are traditionally the hosts of the wedding, the text commonly begins with the names of the bride’s parents as they use them in formal social contexts, e.g., “Mr. and Mrs. John A Smith” or “Dr. Mary Jones and Mr. John Smith”. The exact wording varies, but a typical phrasing runs as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. John A Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the wedding of their daughter
Jessica Marie
Mr. Michael Francis Miller
on the first of November
at twelve noon
Christchurch Hall
Richmond, Surrey

Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Material(s) Paper
Item number MBPO238

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • What was your or your parents wedding stationery like?
  • Have you still got them in your souvenir box?

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