WEDDINGS can be a costly affair, in fact its a multibillion-ringgit industry in Malaysia.
Reports by wedding planners stated that an estimated 300,000 couples get married each year.
For most weddings, the reception takes up the bulk of the budget, about 50% of the overall cost with costs for flowers and invitations making up 3% of the entire budget.
Wedding invitation cards may seem like the simplest to do among all the pre-nuptial errands, as the most important details only comprise the time, venue and date.
Chan says that her card business still has a steady clientele despite the e-Card trend.
But there is more to it. The card can cost as low as RM1.50 to as high as RM20 a piece.
It sets the tone for the wedding and what guests can expect from it, whether it will be a simple and understated reception, or a swanky, lavish soiree.
Nowadays, the new trend is sending out e-Cards or digital cards to save cost on printing physical cards.
Sending out wedding e-Cards would imply that the inviter wants to save cost, at the risk of causing displeasure to some receivers, but many do it anyway to not burst their budget.
Paperose Sdn Bhd offers a vast range of choices of themed card designs – from modern, whimsical, floral, and botanical to classic – and type of paper ranging from plain, matte, shimmer, textured and smooth.
For her son’s wedding reception, education advisor Balkis Ahmad, who lives in Penang, sent out mostly digital cards to friends and relatives in Kuala Lumpur, and only printed physical cards to invite elder members of the family.
With the advent of WhatsApp, most of the digital cards were sent through the platform for relatives living in Klang Valley.
“Even some older relatives are more open to receiving digital cards now. I even asked them if they preferred the printed cards, and they said they did not mind either way,” she said.
Back in the day, mostly during our parents’ generation before digitisation existed, the parents of the bride and groom would go from house to house to invite people with wedding cards, and then post some who lived far away.
“To invite my mother’s family in Penang, I gave her 40 printed cards to be handed out during any family gathering,” added Balkis.
Joseph Wong, the proprietor of Paperose Wedding Sdn Bhd, had his own wedding card made in embossed acrylic and various embellishments.
Startup operations manager Vishalene Sivaraman, 30, who tied the knot last September, said she used both versions – she printed 500 wedding cards, and sent out 500 e-Cards using the Paperless online platform.
Families received printed and digital cards, while their friends received only the digital ones via WhatsApp.
“For the temple ceremony, the elder relatives received printed cards, but for the dinner reception, everyone received e-Cards that I designed on my own and sent via Whatsapp,” she said.
But there are some who are adamant that the wedding invitations are hand-delivered.
“A close friend preferred to be invited personally otherwise the family would not have attended the event. They preferred a personal connection.”
QR codes are also provided in digital cards to enable invitees to scan the details into their mobile phones.
“A cousin of mine included a QR code in the wedding invitation so guests could download the location map and RSVP easily,” added Vishalene.
From the looks of it, as Asian culture dictates a certain decorum when it comes to wedding invitations, it is a matter of easing people into digital cards.
“It is a long shot for a couple to go completely digital in their wedding invitations, in my opinion, especially in our culture,” said marketing executive J.C Lee, who married two years ago and was considering doing away with printed cards altogether.
“The issue was not with our peers, but elder relatives and our parents’ close friends. We had to compromise and print about 200 cards,” he said.
A screenshot of the online website to customise e-Cards for all events including weddings
Surviving the wave of technology
For certain dignitaries, especially the parents of the bride and groom, the invitation card must be very presentable, because networking is very important to them, said Paperose Wedding Sdn Bhd co-owner Wong Lin Lin.
She and her brother, Joseph, have been in the wedding card business for the past eight years. They have a showroom and card shop in SS2, Petaling Jaya.
If the reception is being held at an upscale hotel, the invitation card cannot be cincai (without thought), says Lin Lin.
“The parents are, in fact, more kan cheong (high-strung or anxious) than the children who are getting married.
“For VIPs, the quality and style of the card must be high standards,” she said.
Many people, the Wongs said, did not consider digital cards a formal invitation. “It is better to send both the printed and e-Card. Digital cards are often used for the ‘save the date’ announcement of the big day before sending the physical cards,” said Joseph.
With their combined knowledge of fashion, graphic design as well as business and marketing, the siblings from Sarawak opined a well thought-out printed invitation card says a lot about the wedding.
They offer a vast range of choices of themed card designs – from modern, whimsical, floral, and botanical to classic - and type of paper ranging from plain, matte, shimmer, textured and smooth.
For sisters Irene and Jennifer Chan, who have managed their family printing business Syarikat Chan Brothers since the 1980s, the business of printed invitation cards will continue to flourish despite the trend of e-Cards.
“We would like to continue doing this until we retire, and we are happy with the response for our wedding card orders.
“Most of our clientele still want to maintain the traditional Asian values by giving physical cards to guests to make them feel respected.
“We do printed cards for weddings and other occasions and design the digital versions as well,” said Irene at their current office in Jalan Kelang Lama.
The company was established in 1954 by their late father Chang Khong Nam as a book binding and rubber stamp business, which later evolved into printing.