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Bridal Club Magazine

Wedding Invitations – Is Calligraphy A Worthwhile Option?

When is calligraphy appropriate for invitations?
If you're planning a grand, high style wedding and want formal, intimate, au courant invites to match, calligraphy may be the perfect printing technique for you.

What is calligraphy?
Calligraphy is the ancient art of elegantly curved and curly handwriting. It has its root in Greek: kalli, meaning beautiful, and graphia, meaning writing.

How much should it cost?
Whether you choose sumptuous curves or sophisticated lines, calligraphy adds a personal touch that reflects the tone of your event. Of course, this handcrafted, luxe look could set you back a dollar or two but the result is worth it. Depending on whether you are using a talented amateur or a seasoned professional, a camera-ready invitation starts from $60. Once printed, names can be individually added from $1.00 each. Artists that painstakingly handcraft each invitation can charge anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 each, depending on the amount of work in each. Addresses can start from $1.50 to $7 per envelope. Special prices can be arranged for an entire invitation (inner and outer envelopes, plus return address on response cards), and is usually negotiated upon consultation.

What are recurring motifs?
To carry the look throughout your wedding event, consider adding a little swirly script to reception cards (separate cards that invite people to the reception), menus, place cards, table cards, table numbers, programs, scrolls (small pieces of paper, with a message from the couple, that are rolled up, tied with a ribbon, and handed out at the ceremony or as wedding favours), and information for out-of-towners.

How do I find a calligrapher?
Your stationer or printer can usually refer you to calligraphers, and online portfolios of calligraphers' work can be found on the Internet. You can also ask friends for recommendations if you liked the lettering on their invites.

What is the turn around time between ordering and receiving stationery done in calligraphy?
Most calligraphers require roughly 10 to 14 days to address 100 invitations. Keep in mind, though, that if you are getting married during a peak times, more time may be needed. Even more so, if you are looking for something elaborate (designs, scrolls, and so on). Be sure to double-check with the calligrapher about his or her turnaround time.

What should I look for in the right calligrapher?
Before you hire, you'll want to look at fees, ask about minimum orders, get together a list of references, and inquire about each of your prospects' backgrounds. A calligrapher should have a degree or certificate in the arts, not just a dog-eared how-to book. Ask how long they've been in the biz. Quality comes with experience, and a new-to-the-field hobbyist's work may not have the confidence of stroke you're seeking. You'll also want to show each calligrapher your invitation and ask for a font sample before you make a decision. The key to good calligraphy has always been consistency: Shape, stroke, weight, spacing, and rhythm are all factors in letter perfection. So be sure to survey as many samples of lettering designs from each calligrapher as possible.

What kind of script is appropriate for our wedding?

Your calligrapher should be able to advise you on this, plus provide examples. Below, we have included the names of the most popular and the occasions they are suitable for. Your final choice should look great with the printed script on your invites and, at the same time, reflect the tone of your wedding. Keep in mind also that most have variations and/or can be customised to complement your invitation typeface.

Italic - Good for: semi-formal ceremonies such as a Sunday afternoon wedding.
Copperplate - Good for: setting a romantic mood.
Gothic - Good for: theme or period weddings.
Uncial - Good for: Irish-themed affairs and for matching simple print typefaces.
Roman - Good for: showers and other casual parties.
Spencerian - Good for: matching unusual printed scripts, as Spencerian has no set alphabet for calligraphers to follow.
London - Good for: sophisticated city affairs.

Help limit any mistakes.
To err is human, but there are ways to help reduce errors. Once you've made your final decision, you'll be asked to give your calligrapher a neatly typed or hand-written address list. Be sure to check your list twice and make sure that someone else familiar with the names takes a careful look as well. To make it easy to follow, leaving little room for error, lay out your list in an orderly, three-line format:

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bloggs
1 Main Street
Littletown, New Zealand

Mistakes - who pays for them?
They spelt your mothers name wrong, do you get a refund or a re-do free of charge? It probably depends on whose mistake it is. That is why it is essential to have your list correct in the first place. Make sure you get the answer in writing before you hand over the envelopes and addresses. When ordering your invitations, make sure to order extra envelopes just in case there is a slip-up.

Check the work before it gets sent out to your guests
When, at long last, you receive the finished product from your calligrapher, check and double-check each invite and envelope for spelling errors and title omissions. Sure, it may seem like a superfluous, time-consuming task, but remember that your invitations are the first tangible example your guests will have of your wedding, and they can go a long way toward setting the tone. Which means you'll want your envelopes and invites to be a perfectly matched pair-just like you and your beloved!

Save the licking for better things to come…
In addition to addressing the envelopes, some calligraphers, for a nominal fee, will stuff, seal, and stamp the invitations, which is a simple way to save some time. Find out if this is an option.

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