It is customary for those planning to tie the knot to send out wedding invitations to their guests, whether by traditional mail or over the web.

These serve a practical purpose because they contain information that the attendees will need to know. Of course, the time and date of the event are crucial, but there are also other handy details covered in them.

For example, they can contain personal messages, maps to help people get to the venue and information about how the day will proceed.

These days, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it is possible to save paper and reduce the risk of the items getting lost in the post by sending email wedding invitations.

It can be easier to coordinate the sending out of such correspondence, particularly if guests will be attending the ceremony from far and wide.

However, this is a far cry from the origins of the tradition.

According to The Stationery Boutique, the history of wedding invitations can be traced back to caves, where inscriptions were made on rocks.

Meanwhile, considerably later than this in the 18th century, such offerings were verbalised and were issued “in a very loud manner”, the firm said.

It noted that it was the job of the town crier to draw people’s attention to the events and only those who heard his calls attended the occasion, apart from close friends and family who would know anyway.

The firm added: “Why weren’t the invitations handwritten? Literacy levels were very low and thus the announcement had to be verbalised. This was however not applicable to wealthy and royal families.

“Monks who were known to have very beautiful handwriting were commissioned to write wedding invitations for the elite who could afford to do so. Many of these families also had the family crest added to the invitation.”