Print advertising businesses have become as ubiquitous as jewellery stores in Piazza. Incidentally, a lot of these same businesses are found in this same busy area of the city and these businesses see a rise in their customer base, when weddings become frequent and when it seems that every car that passes you by is honking, seemingly promoting the nuptials of newly married couple.
Weddings are one of the events that require a formal invitation. These usually consist of a format in which the parents of the bride and groom formally express their request for the presence of friends, family members or neighbours.
It would be quite fair to say that every adult, at one time or another has received a wedding invitation. For those not familiar, wedding invitation cards usually contain similar design features. At the top of the card, there is the word ‘for’, followed by a long line leaving space to write in the name of the recipient. In the following line there is usually a statement from the parents of either the bride or the groom expressing their cordial invitation to the wedding of either their son or daughter along with the date, time and venue of the wedding. There is also a blank space left for the name of the person that would accompany the invitee.
Curiously, in this day and age, when it is far simpler to invite people to weddings through social media sites such as Facebook, where you can create a page and have the invitees RSVP, people still go through the trouble of having cards made up.
This is not a small matter. There is a certain personal touch attached to seeing your name handwritten by pen, that is absent from a notification asking if you are free to attend on such and such date.
Metsehet Redaw is the sister of a bride-to-be that Fortune met with on Tuesday April 21, 2015. She was checking out designs for invitation cards.
Yaros Printing Press, where she was browsing, serves customers with cards designed in-house or it can design cards based on customer specifications. Located in an unassuming spot next to the old building that used to house the British Council, Yaros boasts a wide range of services including receipts, magazines and brochures.
Of the places that Fortune visited, this place stands out for the interesting designs made available to customers, including a wedding invitation card in the shape of an old scroll which comes with a string that may be used to hang it somewhere in the house. It is also designed to look like an antique.
Another such business, Becks Wedding Printing, owned and operated by Bekila Belay, who has been in the business for well over six years, caters exclusively to people who are in need of wedding cards.
“It is the season right now and we are seeing an increase in orders,” Bekila told Fortune.
Located in the heart of Piazza in front of Tana Jewellery, Becks Wedding Printing offers a wide range of options with prices of the cards ranging from a minimum of four Birr to 20 Br at the most. Customers have the option of choosing from over 50 designs that are available or they also have the option of bringing in their own designs, which can be printed for them on the wedding card that they choose. There are suppliers of the blank cards that import them from Indonesia.
Increasingly more customers are, however, now asking for invitation cards that have a traditional image and tone, Bekila says. Nonetheless, the popularity of the non-traditional cards is still visible in the stores that Fortune visited.
High Profile Plc is a well-known place in Addis Abeba where people go to have their invitation cards made. It is located on Africa Avenue, second floor of the Mega building. The cards they sell, which come in various shapes, sizes and designs, have a wide price range. People who may be on a low income budget may opt for the inexpensive ones at 5.20 Br while people that are not constrained may spring for the expensive ones at 29.60 Br.
But unlike Becks Wedding Printing, High Profile Plc is not seeing a big boom in business in the post-Lent ‘wedding season’.
“Yes, it is the wedding season and it will continue until the fasting season begins again – if you are a Christian. But this does not mean that we are always busy,” Eden Tesfaye, an employee at High Profile conveyed in an interview with Fortune.
The business is such that all the printing companies selling invitation cards make their own designs and serve their customers with custom-made options.
Shala Printing Works is another one of the many places in the capital where people can get their wedding invitations made. Opened just over a year ago by Tewodros Gebru and Bezuwork Bekele and located in Piazza next to ETHIOF on the Tirum building’s 1st floor, it provides printing services including but not limited to magazine design and printing, logos and business cards.Among the services offered, is the design and printing of wedding cards.
“They can bring their own cards, or we give them choices from the designs that we have,” saysRahel Tesfaye, an employee at Shala Printing Works.
“All people have to do is tell us what to print and we have it ready for them as soon as possible,” said Bruiktawit Zelelew, an employee at Yaros Printing Press.
For Metsehet, whom we met at Yaros, using physical invitation cards shows “respect and consideration”.
“It is our culture,” she said. “It may disappear later on because of the Internet but not for a while.”
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