1950s: A Brief History of Wedding Invitations

The United States was an interesting place to be in the 1950s. From the provocative and exciting emergence of Elvis Presley to the constant anxiety of the Cold War, the decade was full of highs and lows. Around this time, an exciting variety of wedding invitations also started to emerge.

wedding invitation from 1950
Cordes-Schnabel Wedding Announcement – August 20, 1950

We haven’t seen anything like this wedding invitation from 1950 before! It throws tradition completely out the window, and then opts for a landscape orientation featuring funny and playful language and fonts. Although the invitation is entirely different from any other, we can still identify the host line, bride and groom, and the date, time and location of the ceremony. This is the first invitation we’ve seen that isn’t classic and serious. It features photos of the bride and groom and even a wrestling joke! However, this invitation is a definite exception to the rule. Below we have another invitation example from 1950 that brings us back to the world of conventional wedding invitations.

wedding invitation from 1950
Pullins-Diplock Wedding Announcement – November 24, 1950

Above, we see a classic wedding announcement from 1950 featuring the old English calligraphy and embossed border we’ve seen so many times.

wedding invitation from 1952
Schmidt-Peters Wedding Announcement – May 31, 1952

Although this 1952 wedding invitation is for a ceremony in Canada, it was printed by one of the family member’s relatives in the United States. The stationery features an elegant script font, with the exception of the san-serif reception line. The embossing on the invitation is its most interesting feature. A thick border is embossed, along with the image of a bride and groom in the lower left corner. This is the first instance of an embossed image that we’ve seen.

wedding invitation from 1953
Auchincloss-Kennedy Wedding Announcement – September 12, 1953

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were married in 1953, while he was only a senator. Their invitation featured small caps and the standard sections of a traditional wedding invitation. The invitation was sent to a myriad of people–they had over 800 people attend their ceremony! The reception was even larger, with a grand total of 1,200 guests.

wedding invitation from 1954
Mitchell-Hanley Wedding Announcement – April 26, 1954

This invitation from 1954 is the second invitation we’ve seen in a booklet format. The invitation opens like a card to reveal the wedding invitation on the right hand side. A pretty script font is used, and it also features an embossed border. This invitation is the first one we’ve seen with two pieces! A reception card is included inside the folded invitation, letting guests know where and when to gather after the ceremony. The reception card also features an embossed border and the same script font used on the invitation.

wedding invitation from 1955
Gagne-Foley Wedding Announcement – May 8, 1955

This invitation from 1955 combines many of the styles we’ve seen so far in our investigation of wedding invitations. The names of the parties involved are all larger than the body text, but the entirety of the invitation uses the same charming serif font. The church where the ceremony is being held is also a little larger than the body text. Reception information is listed in the lower left corner of the invitation, on the inside of the embossed border.

The 1950s mark the beginning of diversified wedding invitation styles. Many different fonts and formats have been introduced and are being used on a variety of wedding invitations. It is worth noting that none of the wedding invitations from the 1940s or 1950s had a middle fold, and it’s safe to say that’s now out of style. The invitations of the 1960s are sure to evolve even further!

We hope you check out our take on timeless and beautiful wedding stationery, too!

Sources:
Cordes-Schnabel Wedding Announcement
Pullins-Diplock Wedding Announcement
Schmidt-Peters Wedding Announcement
Auchincloss-Kennedy Wedding Announcement
Mitchell-Hanley Wedding Announcement
Gagne-Foley Wedding Announcement


Timeless Elegance Wedding Invitations

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