What are wax seals?
Wax seals or sealing wax is achieved by pouring wax onto a desired surface traditionally a letter or document and pressing a sealing stamp to impress a design on the melted wax. This way when the wax hardens, it seals the letter and leaves a distinct impressed design by the sealing stamp.
A very brief history...
Seals have been around from as early as 3300 BCE when the first seals were made from clay. However, the use of wax in seals wasn't until the Middle Ages. During Ancient Rome, it was used to officiate, legitimise and authenticate official documents. Fast forward in time, in 15th century England, the aristocratic families would use wax seals to identify and signify their family emblem or crest. It wasn't until the 18th to 19th century that most parts of Europe and the United Kingdom, commonly used wax as a way to seal formal correspondences or letters for both upper and middle class families or individuals.
Wax seals are still being used for many purposes such as an embellishment for wedding stationery, branding, packaging and or letter writing. Some families still have an emblem or crest that are still in use which is both rare and unique. It comes in so many different varieties today and some can be quite creative.
What sort of wax seals are there?
- Antique: Collectors such as Sigillum Seals, SD Arts & Antiques and a personal favourite, Kathryn Hastings have a beautiful selection of antique sealing stamps which can be used to make the most elegant wax seals. The physical antique wax seal are commonly found on its originating letter such as Jane Austen's letters to her siblings.
Modern: Found almost everywhere you look, there are modern wax seals you can choose from different vendors and all kinds of styles that fit your wedding theme or aesthetics. Most modern seals today are ones with a monogram or initials. And others may feature dried flowers (see below photograph), paper cut out designs and vellum waxes. You can find dried flower and vellum wax seals in my shop.
An example below is the pink cherry blossom wax seal in white wax.
- Pre-designed & Pre-made: There are thousands of pre-designed and ready made wax seals with double-sided backing adhesives from online shops to stationers who provide them. You can find a selection of wax seals from my shop.
Custom: Wax seals come in all shapes and sizes. You may already have a monogram, family emblem or want something unique for your wedding. This can be easily customised and or made for you, all you have to do is find the right vendor to supply it for you.
For example, in the photograph below you can see a custom monogram wax seal in gold wax made for a past client for their custom save the dates.
Do I need wax seals for my wedding stationery?
Some things to think about before adding a wax seal onto your stationery:
- Style: This entirely comes down to personal preference and if the wax seals completes your wedding theme, style and aesthetics. I tend to think of it this way, "if the shoe fits, wear it!" but in this case, "if you need wax seals, add it!".
Postage & Budget: In the United Kingdom, adding a 25mm wax seal to the outer envelope will be considered a Large Letter via Royal Mail. Even with standard shipping (unrecorded), the added costs may be substantial especially if you are sending international mail. Unless you are hand-delivering your invitations, then budgeting wouldn't be an issue.
The best way to test this out is to order a sample of the invitation, any other embellishments and a wax seal to calculate the potential postage cost per invitation suite.
- Find out the Parcel or Letter Size, Weight & Postage Cost
- Then you can multiply it by the number of invitation suites you are mailing out. This should give you an estimate and budget for mailing.
Can I make my own wax seals?
The answer is always, OH ABSOLUTELY!
Making your own wax seals can be a fun DIY project especially if you are looking to add a new hobby. Just like any other craft, all you need is a little practice and you can create beautiful and unique wax seals to add to your wedding stationery. You can get started by taking a look at the Wax Seal Essentials offered in my shop or head over to my Instagram that's linked below to get a little inspiration! You may also tap into tutorials and other resources to see what fits your needs.
I hope this blog post was helpful. Whether you are curious about making your own wax seals or need a custom wax seal made for your wedding stationery, bookmark this blog so you can always come back to it.
Much love, Keth ♡