All Things Wedding Stationary & Calligraphy

If you’re new to the blog, then you might have missed it, last week I kicked off a brand new series.  Its purpose is to help brides hear information from the experts — their vendors! In the throes of wedding planning, it can be tough to know #allthethings, right? So in this series I’m compiling a list of must-knows from each vendor on a wedding day.  They’re also helping to dispel some myths around their specific service.

So today I’m kicking off with a few of the things that some amazing calligraphers and stationers want you to know.  They’re answering when to book, what to look for, and a few other surprising details.

The first thing I should state however is that there is a difference between a calligrapher and a wedding stationer.  As you meet our experts you’ll get a feel, but some provide design services for the whole invitation suite (ie, wedding stationer) vs. calligrapher that provides beautiful hand lettering and addressing.  The best part? Some are both!

But enough from me, take it from the experts:

How to find an Expert & What Questions to Ask

From Nikki, Extraordinaire at Shotgunning for Love

Everyone starts somewhere, including calligraphers and stationers. When I took on my first envelope addressing client, I knew a lot less than I know today. An experienced calligrapher will have a strong understanding of the materials they’re working with and not all paper is created equal. Some paper will allow ink to bleed, others will “catch” the calligraphy nib, making it nearly impossible to write on and some paper (cough, cough–metallics) promote smudges. Some inks are easier to smudge as well. I prefer to use a bleed-proof ink that will stand up better to weather and the trauma of the United States Postal Service. Your calligrapher should be able to comfortably answer these questions and guide you towards picking the best envelopes, paper, and inks for your stationery.

An experienced calligrapher always proofreads their work to make sure there are few to no errors on your envelopes and they also have a plan in place if an error does occur (whether it’s the calligrapher’s error, an address provided incorrectly, or envelopes lost by USPS). Mistakes happen, but there will be fewer of them with a calligrapher that has had more practice and experience. It may be appealing to hire a calligrapher offering envelopes for $1/each on Etsy, but consider their style, skill level and experience before moving forward.

That pesty USPS, huh? — L


From Susan, Extraordinaire at Susan Wilson Designs

Ask to see (and feel!) paper samples. Some paper can look amazing online, but feel flimsy and cheap in your hand. You wouldn’t want that for your beautiful invitations! Work with a designer who knows paper, offers samples, and lets you hold different options in your hands. A good designer will already have many samples on hand, and can easily order anything you want to get your hands on.

Such good advice! I wouldn’t have thought to look and feel the paper beforehand! — L

A Beautiful, Quintessential Maryland Autumn Estate Wedding by Fine Art Photographer Lauren R Swann

Wedding Stationer & Calligrapher Timeline Recommendations

From Susan, Extraordinaire at Susan Wilson Designs

Invitations have an overall 8-10 month timeline. Your save-the-dates should go in the mail six months prior to your big day (eight months if you’re planning a destination wedding). And your pretty invitations should go in the mail at least eight weeks prior to your wedding date, but a lot has to happen to get to that point. In addition to creating beautiful paper goods, an invitation designer works with printers, paper suppliers, calligraphers, etc., and must allow time for phone calls, emails, deliveries, and more. Anything that must be rushed incurs an extra charge. Your invitation designer can (and should) keep you on schedule to avoid those rush charges!

From Lisa, Extraordinaire at Custom Crafted Calligraphy

Book early! Make sure you get in touch around the same time your other vendors are chosen. Design, especially custom work, requires a large amount of time and communication between both parties to be successful. Ask questions when you need to, we’re here to make the process as straight forward and easy as possible (and have years of experience to share with you!).

Be conscious of your agreed deadlines. It’s helpful to know that changes to the scope of your project, late additions to your guest list, or late approvals and revisions could result in delayed production or additional costs. While it may seem like a small change should be quick to implement, keep in mind that revising calligraphy not only requires a physical set-up to prepare for writing, it also involves writing and re-writing your text multiple times to make sure it’s perfect, scanning, clean-up, and potentially setting up files for proofing and print. Also being aware of studio hours and availability can go a long way in meeting expectations over the time you’re working together.


Getting Started

From Lisa, Extraordinaire at Custom Crafted Calligraphy

Not all paper is created equally. Before you hire a calligrapher take note of the type and brand of envelopes you’ve chosen for your suite, or better yet consult your calligrapher before you purchase them! You’ll want to have this information ready when you first inquire to make sure your paper goods are suitable for calligraphy. As a general rule, the cheaper the paper, the less likely it will be able to take calligraphy without the ink bleeding or being absorbed into the paper. Your calligrapher will have solutions to mitigate most of the problems that can arise, but this might include steps such as sourcing alternative inks or sprays, and can definitely make the job more time-intensive to complete.

Think beyond your invitation suite before you get started. A full service stationer will be able to carry your design through your entire event, from place cards, programs and menus, to thank you notes and custom signage. Do a little bit of research ahead of time to find out what your chosen vendor can offer, and make some decisions about the services you’d like to include. It can save time (and money!) to figure out these logistics ahead of time rather than adding them on to the end of your project.


There you have it folks! Three things that wedding stationer and calligraphers want brides to know about working together!



June 28, 2018

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Wife, mama, wielder of light & joy, and capturer of moments.  I thrive off of conversation and genuine connection.  In between wrangling our kiddos, and hanging my husband, you'll find me dreaming up my next idea or creative endeavour.  It's these things that culminate to give my imagery a warmth and joy to them - the greatest compliment I could receive.







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