The practice of inviting people for a wedding has been there from time immemorial. In early times, before the invention of printing, a wedding host would invite relatives and neighbours personally or by handwritten letters. The letters were dispatched through special messengers. I have heard my elders say that wealthy hosts would invite the public also by arranging village criers.
With the advent of printing, most people preferred to send invitations printed on pink and yellow glossy paper in natty envelopes.
Years ago, I attended a wedding reception hosted by one of my distant relatives. As I alighted from my car with a gift packet tucked under my arm, a friend of mine greeted me with a smile and whispered, “No gift please. Have you not seen a note at the bottom of the invitation that you could as well give a donation to any old age home of your choice?”
Though the conventional invitation is issued even today, invitees know that some of the phrases used are anachronisms. Sending out the invitation continues to be a formal affair. There are, however, many self-important persons who think that an invitation card serves the purpose of only of intimation and that it should be followed up by a request from the host personally or over the phone.
COVID changed our way of life so much that even wedding ceremoniess have been overhauled. People desired to ditch the traditional wedding invitations and preferred customised digital invites with quirky doodles and fun illustration.
Trimming the list of invitees has been one of the toughest tasks during the pandemic. Those who wanted to send wedding invitations were unsure whom to include and how to say that the guests should observe physical-distancing measures. Hosts were at their wits’ end to convince people that only a limited number could participate. However those who were not invited did not get offended. In fact, most of them felt relieved rather than left out.
Some enterprising hosts had sent out invitations to join the wedding in person to a limited number of guests and via video conference for more. Some have even arranged to send packed luxury lunch to the guests who could not attend in person. There was even an arrangement for the guests to send their gifts.
While Zoom weddings took the world by storm, live-streaming became a norm. The much-talked-about metaverse wedding seems to take it a notch higher. Before long, digital invites and digital weddings may become the order of the day.