Pretty Papers


Marriage ain’t what it used to be: Couples marry later, live farther from their families of origin and control much of the nuptial planning through technology, with the help of apps and websites.

How charming and wonderfully retro, then, that in the midst of this modernization the paper save-the-date invitation has gained popularity to set the stage for the wedding to come and to let far-flung relatives know when to book that flight.

“It’s not just a hometown wedding anymore,” says Hannah Rodewald, who, along with her husband, owns Green Spring Station’s The Pleasure of Your Company stationery store. Weddings can be multi-day events, in fact, with pre-nuptial parties and post-event breakfasts. The solution to keeping guests on track for these festivities? A simple paper invite with the date of the big day and the website address where family and friends can read all the details, from attire to gift registry. It’s a real-life hard copy, beautifully decorated.

According to the Arizona-based Wedding Report, which tracks data on the marriage industry, couples spend an average of $445 for invitations, including save-the-dates. Save-the-dates usually cost less than $2 per invitation, Rodewald agrees, but couples can spend up to $1,000 total for more elaborate ones created especially for them. That’s a small price point in a ritual that is now costing a couple about $33,000.

One advantage to a printed invitation? The response rate is higher, Rodewald says. At her shop, clients can choose from cards with features ranging from a timeline of their relationship to a retro map of Baltimore to a crab motif. “We’re lucky. (This area’s) got strong themes,” she says.

Two new groups Rodewald’s seen in recent years: Same-sex couples, who have been allowed to legally marry in Maryland since 2013, and customers walking down the aisle for the second or third time.

For all, it’s about more than marking the occasion; it’s also about creating a memento. After all, she says, “Nobody saves an email.”

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