Monday, March 19, 2012

Traditonal Formal SOUTHERN Invitations

As the story of the wedding continues, the MOTB wanted the event to be special and a memorable occasion for all. Every time she saw something in a magazine, on television, or at someone else's wedding, I would be given the task of researching whatever the dream item of the day was. Now this got interesting because sometimes I had a vague description from a TV show, sometimes a picture from a magazine, and the worst, the phone number of another MOTB. 

By the time it was all over, we had amassed quite the array of possible wedding treats. There were samples of 9 different types of chocolates (some specially designed for the bride and some in specially designed wrappers) to give as favors to all the guests. My favorite were the miniature bottles of liqueur decorated with a ribbon embellished with the bride and groom's initials, that I found amusing given this was going to be a Southern Baptist wedding. 

The most elaborate were the ornate personalized boxes that would be placed under every guest's seat in the church. As the bride and groom were being presented as "Mr. and Mrs.", each guest would be instructed to reach under their seat, pick up the box, and open it, releasing a butterfly creating a "romantic scene of beautiful butterflies for the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle." Now in order to create this phenomena of butterflies, a chrysalis had to be placed in each of these boxes that was at the exact age to mature and come out of it's cocoon at this precise time - like within a few minutes. 

When it came down to it, neither the chocolates nor the liqueurs nor the butterflies made the final cut. By that time, all the attention was on the invitations and the list. Those were the traditional engraved invitations. After all, this was a formal wedding.  I had already contacted the company we used for all the MOTB's engraved stationary and put them on notice. It was just a matter of selecting the font. (The card stock and style were not even in question - traditional  and formal.) 

Then someone saw an invitation from California that was "just to die for". A sample was procured. What arrived was more than this little southern girl could comprehend. (Although, I have since personally received one as an invitation to a good friend's wedding - in California no less. But, I digress.) 

It wasn't an invitation, it was more of a presentation. When I opened the cardboard box it was shipped in there, wrapped in tissue, was the "invitation" - a white satin covered box with a wide blue grosgrain ribbon tied around it in a large bow. When you removed the ribbon and opened the box, there was tissue, that was more like organza than paper, carefully folded and sealed with a foil sticker embossed with the bride's monogram. After you opened that (carefully, because you felt like you were violating the presentation if some part was "ripped") inside were several pieces of delicate rice paper, engraved in gold, tied together with a thin gold ribbon. These were the invitation itself, a map to the church and reception venue, and a reply card and addressed envelope. (I almost expected a butterfly to escape as the last pieces were carefully removed.) 

The bride was excited.  This definitely made a statement, but in the eyes of the MOTB, it failed to pass the "formal traditional invitation" test, although I sensed some conflict on her part. "Well, the invitation itself is engraved, but can you imagine opening a formal invitation with ribbons it in? " was her comment as if trying to justify something. Everyone who saw the "invitation" commented about the fancy box and the ribbons. They were all impressed and it showed. 

After much wrangling, gnashing of teeth, and debate, it was decided that at $7.95 each, this was a formal wedding and only a traditional invitation would do. After all, that was something from California and what did they know about a proper formal southern wedding.

The traditional invitations were ordered. A week later, we received a shipment of half inch wide grosgrain ribbon. When I asked the MOTB about it, she responded, "Oh, that's for the invitations. I thought if we tied a bow around each one before we put it in the envelope, it would be a nice touch."


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