Planning the Marie Antoinette Party: Invitations

After two weeks of posting gorgeous links of cakes and more cakes, I had a realization: Cakes are hardly enough in planning a proper Marie Antoinette soiree. Marie had the help of Papillon de la Ferté, her Intendant of the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi, whose job it was to plan the royal balls and other affairs. But you have only yourself and our grand interwebs, and of course, this site. So, for the next few weeks, I will post the essential elements, from invitations, to food to decorations here for your reference and indulgence.

Decision #1: Paper or paperless?
Digital. If you prefer the greener alternative, some digital invites have the beauty of letterpress without the price, letter or press. Paperless Post offers an upgrade from the usual Evite with digital invites that resemble the real thing. You can even keep one satin mule in the old world (picking the font and virtual envelope liner) with your Manolo firmly planted in the modern day (monitoring the openings, sync-ing with friends’ calendars and tracking your RSVPs automatically) all for the affordable price of around $10 for 150 “stamps.”

If Darcy and Elizabeth married today, I think they would have had a simple, proper digital invite. (From Paperless Post)

Honest-to-goodness paper invite: A mailed invite signals the party is incredibly special.
From Olive Hue:

Simple elements such as damask, feathers and an elegant black and white scheme completes these Marie-inspired invites from Olive Hue.

The fun of a paper invite is to make them as complicated as possible. Elements of this one from Olive Hue include: 1. Formal invitation envelope & liner 2. Big fat letterpressed belly band 3. RSVP 4. RSVP envelope, letterpressed 5. Illustrated map + directions, letterpressed 6. Formal invitation, letterpresse

From Wiley Valentine (Courtesy of Style Me Pretty)

Gorgeous script and an illustration that mimics an engraving provide an old time feel.

“Kindly Deliver to” is a charming touch for modern Maries left without their own couriers.

Of course, these bespoke invites serve as mere inspiration for a Modern Marie who can buy beautiful options at her local craft store (Like this damask beauty from Michael’s), Target (Fuchsia belly bands!) and Office Max (check this one or this one out) for a fraction of the price (Like $20 for 50 invites and reply cards).

Whatever you choose, elements could include: Fleur de lis, damask patterns and chandeliers. Choose either modern imaginings (black and hot pink) or subtle shades the queen might have chosen like eggshell blue. Don’t be afraid of scripty fonts and enlist a friend who knows calligraphy.

Heavy and specially-sized envelopes might require additional postage. Have a sample weighed at the post office to ensure you have the proper amount. Then go home and affix your own custom Marie-inspired Zazzle stamps.
From Wedding by Color.

The classic chandelier is a better match than whatever boats or flags or little train stamps the post office might try to pawn off on you.

Decision #2: When to send?
If there’s a caterer to inform (wedding, shower), send your invites out at least 4 weeks in advance since your vendor will ask for 2 weeks notice for the number of guests. If your party is less complicated (a milestone birthday, for example) don’t send out the invites any less than 2 weeks before the date. You want your attendees to feel special and not like they were afterthoughts.

Of course buying and sending aren’t nearly as complicated as shaping the guest list itself. We’ll get into that tomorrow…Marie style.


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