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THE NEW YORK TIMES!

March 1, 2017

 

 

 

Before Chanet Tisdel attended an October bridal show in Manhattan, the path to her May 2018 wedding was troubled by an imbalance of enthusiasm.

 

“I had been dragging my fiancé around to all these wedding shops and exhibits looking at all the girlie things, and he was just so unimpressed,” said Ms. Tisdel, 34, an executive assistant at Ralph Lauren in Manhattan. “He was just like: ‘I gave you the ring. I love you. I don’t understand why we have to do all this stuff.’”

Then Ms. Tisdel’s fiancé, Chauncey Kearney, had a change of heart. “While I was looking at flowers at the bridal show, he was like, ‘Hey, can you come here for a second?’” she recalled. “I walked over, and he showed me this invitation.”

 

The wedding invitation that captivated Mr. Kearney, a headwaiter at Craftbar in Manhattan, was a mailable video made by a New York company called Engaging Invites. Once the boxy, cardlike invitation is opened, a customized video, 30 seconds to three minutes long, starts up on a small screen and includes a request to attend a marriage ceremony.

 

Video invitations sent via email are nothing new, but sending a video invitation by mail adds another elegant, and expensive, step to the process.

 

 

“When people see these invitations, you should see their faces,” said Dearrick Knupp, who founded the company with Ashley Heather. “We’re not selling invitations. What we’re really selling is surprise and joy.”

 

 

“No matter how many times I say it’s a paper physical invitation that plays video, people don’t get it,” he said. “They think it’s an online experience.”

 

Engaging Invites starts at $38 each, with a minimum order of 500. The price is on a sliding scale, to $38 apiece for an order of 500. (That would be $19,000.) Other costs for design or video production may also apply. And each invitation costs $3.80 to mail. (Ms. Tisdel and Mr. Kearney ordered some to send to some, but not all, of their guests.)

 

That compares with a total cost of less than $500 that many newlyweds spend on invitations, though Mr. Knupp noted that some printed invitations can cost $80 and up each. “No amount of cotton rag or rhinestones will ever bring a tear to anyone’s eye the way a beautifully done video invitation will,” he said.

 

That tear-jerking potential is not lost on Ms. Tisdel, though her primary reason for ordering 25 invitations from Engaging Invites was Mr. Kearney’s enthusiasm.

 

Edgar Avalos, 31, and Alex Erickson, 33, sent out 100 video invitations from Engaging Invites for their May 26 wedding.

 

“I feel like these invitations are the future,” said Mr. Avalos, of Brooklyn, a stylist at John Varvatos in Manhattan. “Especially for people like us, who are really visual and into technology.”

 

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