Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management/Chapter I – The Mistress

One of the fun tasks I have this week is to look at designing our wedding invitations and after watching the Royal Wedding at Windsor I thought I’d see if Mrs Beeton herself had any advice on the subject and she certainly does.

“Visiting Cards and Invitations.—The fashion of visiting cards used to vary much, some being made extremely thin, but those of medium thickness are now usually preferred. When calling at a house, it used to be customary to turn up the lower right-hand corner of the card, to denote that a personal call had been made, but this is not general any longer. Tennis and croquet invitations are issued with the word at the bottom right-hand corner. For Soirées, “At Homes,” Conversaziones, Dinners and Balls, invitation cards are used; but for Weddings the invitations are issued upon notepaper. Gilt edges and gilt decorations are not often used nowadays, nor is the monogram, or crest, or both frequently embossed at the head of the paper.

It is customary at many houses during summer to give tennis or croquet teas. The meal is very informal, and often served out of doors. Iced tea, coffee, claret-cup, etc., are served, with sandwiches, pastry, cakes and other light viands. The tables are set under shady trees, and a couple of servants or members of the family are in attendance at them, the visitors themselves going to the table for what they may want. The following is a form for wedding invitations:—

⁠Mr. and Mrs. A—— request the pleasure of Mr.
⁠and Mrs. B——’s company on the occasion of
⁠the marriage of their daughter Alice with
⁠Frederick S.——
Ceremony on Wednesday, 14 June, at ——
Church, at —— o’clock, and afterwards at ——.

⁠R.S.V.P.

The morning calls having been paid or received, and their etiquette properly attended to, the next great event of the day in most establishments is “The Dinner”; and we will only make a few general remarks on this important subject here, as in future pages the whole “Art of Dining” will be thoroughly considered, with reference to its economy, comfort and enjoyment.

Invitations for Dinner.—In giving these it is usual to give from a fortnight’s to three weeks’ notice, and formal ones are sent on printed cards, such as the following—

⁠……………………⁠request the pleasure of⁠…………………….

company at dinner
on …. the …. at ….o’clock.
⁠Howard House
⁠Kensington, W.⁠R.S.V.P.

In accepting an invitation the form of words used is—

……………………have much pleasure in accepting……………………

kind invitation for……………………

while in declining one it is usual to say—”

 

……………………

regret they are unavoidably prevented [or that a
⁠previous engagement prevents them] from

accepting⁠……………………kind invitation for……………………

 

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