Oy I have been neglecting this blog - my most sincere apologies! Planning and prepping for the Epic Titanic dinner has continued apace, I just haven't been blogging about it. Bad Jenny.
Invitations. I rarely send out paper invitations. It's partly due to utter laziness combined with a lack of planning ahead enough to get things mailed in time. I also enjoy the instant gratification of an email/web-based invite. In my defense people these days (myself included) seem to respond better if they can simply hit "reply". However the ETD seemed the perfect occasion to make an exception and send fancy invitations. Never mind that all my guests had already been invited and replied by email weeks before. I wanted that tangible piece of paper for the scrapbook. So the research began.
In Edwardian life being invited to a formal dinner party was not the rarity that it is today. At a time when restaurants were just becoming fashionable, dinners hosted in a private home were a very important part of social life. The dinner invitations of the time reflect this.
Invitations could be written by hand but frequently were more of a "fill in the blank" variety. Stationary would be pre-printed with the host's name, day of the week (hostesses typically entertained on a specific day of the week), the time and the address of the home. Details such as the date and guest's name would be filled in by hand for each dinner.
Invitations for specific/special occasions did the same, this time pre-printed with all the details and simply the guest's name hand-written in.
Replies were fairly standard as well, written on the guest's personal stationary. Replies were expected to be written the day the invitation arrived and it was extremely bad manners to decline an invitation to dinner unless one already had an engagement that night.
This being a different sort of dinner party one hundred years later, I decided not to be too literal with my ETD invitation. Since I wouldn't be able to fit all the details on a 5x7" card I used the String of Pearls Pocket Invitation Kit by Wilton (which I found at Jo-Ann's Fabrics on sale - yay). The kit was simple and classy and provided separate cards for the invitation, dinner details, after-party details and a reply card. I choose to keep the reply card blank so my guests could reply in their own words. (Getting those replies in the mail has been such fun!). I did include the modern self-addressed, stamped envelope.
I was traditional with the wording of the invitation, including hand writing each guest's name using a dip pen and ink bottle. I added red wax seals made of old fashioned sealing wax pressed with my seal (a rose) to the blank stickers that came with the kit. Once the ink was dry, the papers were stacked and folded in the wrapper I closed the flap with the faux seals. Each invitation was addressed by hand with the dip pen and ink and off they went...
P.S. I found this charming invitation from 1853 in my research and while it wasn’t really applicable to the ETD it made me happy. Seriously how awesome is this? More information about it can be found here & here.