The formal sending out of wedding invitations has dramatically changed since the middle ages as nearly everybody was illiterate and the announcement of a wedding was to be heard through the town crier who had been paid to 'shout' the news about the happy couple's forthcoming plans.
European monks were, it is said, the first to craft hand written invitations by the high society personage who could afford it. They were all written in Latin and with the invention of the metal plate in the 1600s they were engraved while using a sheet of tissue paper which was placed on top of the engraving to keep it from smudging. This same tissue paper was sent out with the invitation.
The Victorians used to send out handwritten notes just 2 weeks before the wedding to friends and family which were hand delivered because of the dubious mail system. Family crests or coats of arms were placed onto the paper as a hallmark of class and individuality.
During the 20th century, the origin of the double envelope came into fruition because mail was delivered on horseback and could well become grubby! The courier would always hand the mail direct to the butler who would then discard the outer enveloped, ensuring that the readers' hands would not come into contact of any dirt that could have been picked up from the other letters within the mail bag.
Today wedding invitations are professionally hand crafted by many who offer a vast selection from ribbons and bows, hearts to butterflies, and pearls to diamantes. All are custom made to match every aspect of your wedding and the range that is offered to complement your personalised stationary is from name the date cards to place settings, table settings to order of service, wedding album to thank you cards, the list is endless. Indeed, wedding invitations do not have to be in the shape of a card, they could be in the form of a box of personalised chocolate or a fridge magnet, but for many the old fashioned way of sending and receiving a wedding invitation is and always will be the conventional way.