In the month of May, on a wet afternoon after the rain had stopped, the clouds had scattered, and the midday sun restored to its shining glory, we visited Chawri Bazar, a busy commercial hub in the heart of Old Delhi, popularly known as Delhi-6.
Chawri Bazar, located just behind the historic Jama Masjid, houses specialized wholesale markets for brass, copper, bathroom fittings, and paper products – lined up on both sides of the narrow lanes that are always noisy and teeming with hand carts, rickshaws, and two-wheelers.
The same neighborhood, which can be accessed from the yellow and violet Metro lines, also houses an elaborate market for wedding invitation cards, wallpapers, and wedding giveaways.
A mere glance at a wedding card – that can range from as low as Rs 10 a piece for a plain card with text to a few thousand rupees for the highly decorative ones that are embossed with motifs and embellishments – can tell how fun and exciting the wedding could be or the financial status of the sender.
In fact, a wedding invite is one of the most important factors in planning a wedding as it is like a representation or a gist of the grandness of the event. Couples invest a good amount of time thinking and executing their dream cards, which need to perfectly gel with the theme of the wedding.
Chawri Bazar, despite all its craziness, is one of the most preferred markets for wedding giveaways. Although Indian weddings may take place throughout the year, the bulk of them traditionally happens between November to February. Customized depending on the requirements of the customer, almost every card vendor in this market has in-house designing and manufacturing units with only the raw material being outsourced.
Screen printing is a technique used exclusively for the printing of wedding invitations. The process requires a mesh to transfer ink onto a substrate. The basic process of screen printing involves creating a stencil on a mesh screen and applying the ink to create and imprint the design on the required surface.
The most common surface used in screen printing is paper and fabric, but metal, wood, and plastic can also be used. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi-colored image or design. Screen printing can be done by hand or using a machine but the basic process is always the same. The differences can be the type of ink used, its rendered effect, and the printed surface.
Glassine and clear vellum paper are the most classic non-opaque forms of paper and are commonly used in wedding cards and invitations to provide depth and interest. Both are flexible, translucent, and cloudy white materials that are very smooth and very thin. Many customers also purchase custom-made wooden boxes, sometimes with velvet covers and embroidery, comprising the invitation and glass jars for the accompanying offerings such as sweets, chocolates or dry fruits.
Smriti Cards, a prominent vendor in the market, offers a variety of wedding invitation cards that can be used for all kinds of events and occasions. The carmaker lets you choose the kind of color, print, and display that you want for your big day.
Dinesh Singh, the proprietor of Smriti Cards, claims they make it a point to give you exactly what you are looking for at a reasonable price. In fact, Chawri Bazar being a wholesale hub can offer you a good deal compared to other retail sellers of wedding cards, provided you are willing to negotiate the alleys and the crowds.
“We deal in wedding cards, both boxed and unboxed. We ship the cards to different parts of the world, the cost of which is borne by the client. Our unique and creative work is liked and highly appreciated by all the customers as we provide them with a large variety to choose from or customize their cards as per their requirements.”
Right from the procurement of material to the finished item, the invitation cards employ a wide range of processes that involve designing, printing, embossing, foil stamping, coating, varnishing, and lamination.
Depending on the requirements of the customer, the invitations are either in a regular card form or innovative customized gift boxes that are stocked with chocolates or dry fruits. The boxes can be wooden or cardboard with a unique design and offer an entertaining unboxing experience.
The proprietor of Tushar Cards, another cardmaker in Chawri Bazar, said, “The invitation cards represent a lot of things, mostly the excitement of the wedding. From an onlooker’s perspective, a card may represent the budget and preparation for the wedding. But for the majority of the families, a marriage in their house is a day of joy for close friends and relatives to gather and one can’t just invite them over a phone call. Wedding cards also provide information about the ceremony such as the date, place, and names of the bride and groom. They serve the purpose of creating anticipation, something to look forward to.”
So if you have a wedding or a function at hand and need a fancy invitation card at a good price, you know where to head to.