Mennonite Wedding Invitations & Young Nerds in Love

Someone recently posted on a local community Facebook page, asking everyone’s opinion about wedding invitations. She was wondering if it was still necessary to print and mail invitations, or if email would do the trick.

Pretty much everyone on the thread encouraged her to print and mail invites because it’s classy. But I have to admit… her idea didn’t see that bad to me!

Then again, I’m rather prone to doing things a little differently: when Andrew and I were planning our wedding, I carefully wrote out one invitation by hand… and then photocopied it:

I guess I unintentionally did it a little bit the same way as the Manitoba Mennonites did in the late 1800’s (and possibly for centuries before): writing out just one invitation, by hand. Except, obviously, they didn’t photocopy theirs. Instead, they just passed that one invite around from house to house, accompanied by a guest list. As each household got the message, they’d stroke their name off the list and pass it along to the next family named on the invite list.

I don’t know where to cite this information. I’ve just come across it time and again as I read random smatterings of historical writings and translations of letters. That’s how Mennonites around here used to do things.

I think about the people who weren’t on these lists. Did they feel left out, or relieved?

As for Andrew and I, we actually did things the typical Steinbach Mennonite way as much as we naturally knew how: no alcohol, church basement, etc. You know, the kind of wedding attendees complain about. In photos, you can see a small table of our few friends, sitting there looking hopelessly bored. It’s true, we are not party animals, nor do we “bring the party”, as they say. Alcohol is expensive and this was a budget wedding; I can’t say that making sure everyone had fun was a priority for me. I was marrying Andrew, so naturally I was having the time of my life! But likely everyone else was just tolerating the day, like I knew they would, if they showed up at all. I think the total expenditure for us for the entire day was about $5000, which was a mind-blowingly huge amount to me back then, and that included food, photography, my dress, Andrew’s suit, our rings, venue, decor, WEDDING INVITES (hahaha), everything. Were people blown away by our wedding and our invites? Nope! Would you see examples of this day pop up on Pinterest? Nope! Did it matter to us? Also nope!

A random pic of us from our dating days served as the front of our photocopied wedding invitation. Andrew cringes at his choice of shirt. 
Those who attended our wedding were handed a bulletin containing more photocopied goodness: looks like a weird 90’s ‘zine. 

If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably eschew the photocopying this time and instead pass around my handwritten invite along with a list, just like the Mennonites did back in the 1870’s. Either that, or elope. But for sure I’d marry Andrew all over again. Because obviously.