I have a problem, and my problem has a name: wax seals.
There’s nothing I love more than seeing a big, round disk of wax on the back of an envelope (or on any paper, tbh!) with an imprint of a crest or monogram or other cool image. I’m so jazzed about wax seals that I wear a pendant of one every single day. (I get a lot of weird looks until I explain it, but that’s okay because it’s a meaningful piece for me.)
Wax seals aren’t a new obsession by any means. But it was a little more difficult to get my hands on wax or wax seals 15 or 20 years ago – you know, before the Internet was the crazy shopping center it is today.
Even my mom brought up my wax seal fixation the other day.
I was unpacking a bunch of new wax sticks, beads, handles, and custom seals. My mom and I were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everything because, guys…opening up new wax seals always feels like Christmas morning. I was mentally tallying up the hours until I could go home to play with them. I didn’t know if I could make it until the end of the day.
(spoiler alert: i did. and it was worth every. minute.)
Meanwhile, my mom was changing out handles and pretending to stamp the seals.
“Aren’t you so glad you’re able to make these yourself today?” she said. “And you don’t have to live in those old, dirty 17th century cities with such poor hygiene.”
Yes, yes, and absolutely YES. So glad for all of those things. (thanks for making me grateful for the wax seals and indoor plumbing at the same time, mom.)
Aren’t wax seals kind of…old-fashioned?
Sure, but in a good way. I’m going to give you a little bit of the history behind wax seals and I promise not to go into too much detail.
Wax seals have been used for centuries. Everyone from peasants to royalty had a seal that was unique to them, usually with a family crest or motto, and acted as a signature of sorts. The seal was also used to protect documents from prying eyes on the way to its intended recipient. If the wax on the document arrived broken, the message had been compromised.
On a more romantic note: in the time of arranged betrothal and marriage, wax seals were applied to letters passed back and forth between secret lovers.
History lesson over! That wasn’t so bad, right?
So what do wax seals have to do with contemporary weddings?
In today’s world of digital everything — a new survey from WeddingWire showed that couples now spend 50% of their time planning their wedding via smartphone, what?! — many brides are opting for more traditional, paper-heavy invitations. They also want something to set themselves apart from other brides, so they turn to foiling, vellum overlays, letterpress, and hand-dyed silk ribbon tied up in a pretty bow.
But those can be expensive options…and that’s where wax seals come into play. They can be used in so many ways, it’s almost a crime:
- Traditional use: add one to the outside of your mailing envelope or inner envelope. Guests will love the feeling of opening an envelope sealed with wax and I guarantee it will be one of the things they remember most about your invitation (they might even keep the envelope!)
- Add a seal to your guests’ place cards or escort cards at your wedding — they’ll double as wedding favors that way!
- Go with a large 1 1/2″ or 1 3/4″ size to add serious drama to your invitations! This size is large enough that some pretty intricate drawings, crests, or monograms can be displayed to great effect.
- Hold a ribbon belly band in place with a wax seal.
- Having a themed party or wedding? Make it legit by getting a custom wax seal made (check out the seal below!)
- The seals themselves also make great props if your photographer is taking photos of your invitation suite!
Okay, so wax seals are kinda cool.
True story: when they were just wee little baby wax seals, their moms told them they could be anything they wanted when they grew up…so they became super awesome (and kinda romantic) Wax Seals.
(I can just imagine my husband rolling his eyes right now at that one…ha!)
In all seriousness, wax seals have started taking the stationery world by storm. And it’s not just the seal itself that you can customize! You can get custom colors to match your wedding colors, mix colors together for a marbleized look, or add elements to the wax itself such as flower petals…or rose gold flakes (um, yes.)
If you’re interested in wax seals, take a look at my custom wax seals and stock wax seal options. You never know what may strike your fancy! And if you think of something you’d like to try, shoot me an email — I’m always up to talk wax seals.