1970s: A Brief History of Wedding Invitations

Political activism was a huge part of the United States throughout the 1970s–from the women’s movement to the first celebration of Earth Day, many parts of American life were rapidly changing. If there’s anything to learn from this investigation of wedding invitations and announcements, it’s that they truly stand the test of time. Even throughout enormous societal and economic change, wedding stationery has remained a staple of American life.

wedding invitation from 1970
Marsh-Smith Wedding Announcement – June 20, 1970

In this wedding announcement from 1970, we once again see the embossed border that was so popular in the early- to mid-twentieth century. Written in a casual script font, the invitation begins by announcing the hosts, followed by a request line, the bride and groom, date, time and location of the wedding ceremony. There is also a reception line in the lower left-hand corner of the invitation. It is notable that the address of the ceremony location is listed right on the front of the invitation. Up until now, we haven’t seen this on wedding invitations.

wedding invitation from 1973
Leyten-McCahill Wedding Announcement – November 3, 1973

The format of this wedding invitation is completely different from anything we’ve seen so far. The invitation opens with a request line, and the way it’s phrased clearly indicates that both the parents of the bride and parents of the groom are hosting the wedding. The day, time, and location of the wedding is then listed. There is a second request line, giving more details about the day of the ceremony and what they are asking of invitees. Lastly, the hosts names are listed on the invitation. This is not traditional wedding invitation wording, but it certainly still gets the point across.

wedding invitation from 1975
Bigger-Merlino Wedding Announcement – June 7, 1975

The Bigger-Merlino wedding announcement from 1975 features an easily readable, casual script font. The content of the invitation is a little different from others we’ve seen. According to traditional etiquette, the bride and groom are listed as the hosts of the wedding. Their invitation line includes a statement about exchanging their vows in nature, highlighting their outdoor ceremony. After this, they list the date, time, and location of the ceremony. A standard reception line is included in the lower left-hand corner of the invitation.

wedding invitation from 1976
Wolford-Sisson Wedding Announcement – June 5, 1976

Once again, we see a departure from traditional wedding invitation wording in this invitation from 1976. Both parents of the bride and groom are hosting the wedding, and they are listed first. Following the hosts are the request line and the bride and groom. Additional wording and detail is given about the union of the bride and groom, followed by the date, time, and location of the wedding. The address of the ceremony is listed on the invitation–a practice that seems to be gaining popularity in the 1970s. There is a left aligned reception line after the main portion of the invitation, but there is an additional center aligned statement at the bottom requesting thoughts and prayers from those who cannot attend the ceremony.

wedding invitation from 1977
Villarreal-Houser Wedding Announcement – April 13, 1977

Lastly, we see another booklet style wedding invitation from 1977. This wording is a little more traditional and brings us back to familiar territory. The invitation opens with the host line, followed by the request line, bride and groom, date, time, location and address of the ceremony. A centered reception line and location follow the standard body text.

The most notable thing about 1970s wedding invitations is their deviation from traditional wording. In the invitations above, you can see how differently they talked about their wedding ceremonies from previous decades. They include more details (such as ceremony addresses) and personal wording–a clear change from the formal, sometimes stiff language of decades past. We also see both sets of parents hosting the weddings. A definite sign of changing times!

Sources:
Marsh-Smith Wedding Announcement
Leyten-McCahill Wedding Announcement
Bigger-Merlino Wedding Announcement
Wolford-Sisson Wedding Announcement
Villarreal-Houser Wedding Announcement


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