Regency Wedding Invites, Seals and Wax
Regency Wedding Invites
Though invites might not be the very last thing you do before you wed, it is the very last lens I've created for the Regency Wedding day.
Wedding invitations in Regency England were not what they are today. Most of the guests invited would have either been asked to come in person or by word of mouth, if the invitee were a long way off, they would send a hand written note or letter to the person informing them of the match. In this article I will teach you how to mimic the style of these letters in a modern easier way.
All the art and pictures in this are by me.
The use of wax seals can be traced all the way back to the Old Testament times. They were used to seal important documents. This was not just to seal letters in the past, it was also to identify the sender, especially for members of royal families.
These seals were used all over the world, including China. Years later they were used to send everyday letters and even party invitations.
How they Wrote
People would write the letters on what is called parchment paper. This would be the aged paper that we see in many Regency Era movies. The Paper was expensive for most people and some people would write across and then downward. I wonder how hard it would be to read such a letter.
They would use long feathers dipped in ink. These feather were normally white, but you can find different colors. I even found Peacock feathers pens on Amazon.com.
This is a doctor who quote I wrote down in my sister's book, I made for her, for her birthday.
Wax Colors Used
Three wax colors were available, red, a pinkish rose and black. Red was used mostly by men. Some women would use the pink color. Black was for a death in the family.
They did not use black as a form of warning the family about the death, rather it was so the postmen would know to hurry the letter to the families and friends connected with the death. It would be like overnighting a package today.
Envelopes and Wax Seals
Envelopes did not exist in this time period. They would simply fold the paper over in such a way that it would be envelope like.
They sealed the paper with wax. They melted long sticks of colored wax onto the paper using a lit candle and pressed a metal wax sealer onto it. These sealers could have been bought, but many people would have theirs made with their personal family crest.
Fashion in the art of writing letters
Fashion in the art of writing letters. Some finer gentlemen would carry the wax sealers with them as fashion accessories. Men would have their family crest or a coat of arms or any other symbol they desired set into a ring. That way not matter the situation time or place they could send letters from their personal stamper. A person not of notable birth would not have the right to bear arms and would most likely have their initials engraved in the ring. This was actually something started in ancient Egypt. This ring was something much desired by men who were always traveling for business or pleasure.
Though I am unsure when the ladies started to wear them as necklaces, but I did find a Victorian wax pendant online, so they had them as early as the 1850s.
Today in Letters
That was the past. Today you can use any color wax you wish. If a color exist it is most likely available as a wax somewhere, which means that after you have chosen your wedding colors you can find a wax to match.
There are also many ways of melting the wax as well. There is still the classic way of melting wax over the candle. There is also wax beads that you melt in a special warming spoon, which seems to me to be more of a bother than melting over a candlestick. There is also a wax seal gun, which is much like a glue gun, but it is specifically made for the shape and the size of the wax sticks. There are also wax seal stickers, these flexible plastic stickers are easier than the real wax, but you are limited in color and type of wax symbol used and they do not look nearly as good as their wax counterparts. There are a few red fleur de lis ones that I rather like. There is a fifth option for those who don't like the stickers and do not want the expense of buying a wax gun, you can buy a wax seal with a built in wick. You light the wick as you would a candle and then let it drip down onto the paper as you would if you were using the traditional type of wax. This product would cut down on time, expense and maybe the likelihood of you burning yourself.
If you'd like a similar look but cannot be troubled with any of these options you could try to use a stamp and ink. However this can be a messy job and you should wear rubber gloves and practice a lot before you start. You should also have extras in case you mess up. You could also buy normal stickers.
This is an example of the kind of Victorian style wax seal pendants, they are very pretty, but very pricey and I wouldn't like to pay over 150 for jewelry and then use it to post letters. Some of them are usable for seals, I am not sure if this one is. One thing is sure, this silver Hummingbird is so very pretty.
Some are made with handles so like the men the women can use them whenever they wish to send a letter.
If you like the idea of sitting under a large umbrella outside in the summer writing letters to all of your friends and family you'll need a few things, many museums have feather and ink sets. They come with a white feather to sharpen more if you need it and a product that you add with water to make ink. In the past ink was made in many different ways. If you like this idea, you'll need a bottle with a cork to hold your ink after you have mixed it. Or you cold buy a converted pen, a pen that is a feather on top and a pen on the bottom.
These bottles are mine, one is a real ink bottle and the others are my props from my last Halloween party.
How to do this Yourself
There are many ways of doing this yourself. You could buy your own paper and either write out your letters, find a font that looks classic and using printable parchment paper and create your own invites.
You can buy printable invites anywhere. You could also order them from a printing store, you can make one and make copies at staples or kinkos. You can also order them at a place like zazzle. www.zazzle.com/loudesigns has many Regency style designs on invites.
This Jane Austen style portrait drawing that I made about a year ago is titled Pride and Prejudice. I used good quality paper, a pencil, an ink pen and colored pencils.