Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Expert Advice: Working with a Calligrapher

You may be familiar with calligrapher Laura Hooper’s blog, A Lucky Orchid. I was lucky to have Laura design the invitation for the "I'm Getting Hitched" event in Washington, DC I spoke at earlier this year.

I personally recommend handwritten calligraphy over printed calligraphy when it comes to your wedding invitation and other paper details. I always find that printed calligraphy – no matter what the printer may say – is never as elegant looking.

A calligrapher will have several fonts that they can write, allowing you to select one that fits well with your wedding theme or palette. And of course she can match the ink to any color swatch.

I asked Laura for her tips and advice on working with a calligrapher for your wedding. Here’s what she had to say:

Budget – the first step to including hand-calligraphed writing in your wedding is to be sure that you budget for it! Calligraphy is a much loved art-form, and the intricate details and time associated with calligraphy do come at a cost, so be sure to bump up the invitation line item in your overall budget. Standard pointed pen envelope addressing can run from $2.50 - $5.00 (and sometimes more!) per envelope depending on the calligrapher and font style.

Choosing your Calligraphy Style – there are many different styles of calligraphy, from cute to classic to extremely elegant. You should choose your style after determining the overall theme and feeling for your wedding, and choose your font to further enhance that overall mood. I personally divide the styles I offer into “tiers”. Different tiers require different amounts of effort and will be reflected in your final bill. Visit Laura Hooper Calligraphy to see the styles the 20+ standard styles she works with.

Ways to Use Calligraphy – envelope addressing is the most well-known use for calligraphy, but you should also consider calligraphy for your programs, escort cards, menus, maps and hand-penned invitations. This most often involves mixing calligraphy with type-font, perhaps just featuring key words or names in calligraphy.

Working with your Calligrapher – the number one piece of advice that I could give for working with a calligrapher is to try to submit one complete/accurate list. We have hundreds of brides per year and write thousands of names and addresses any given week. Receiving multiple additions and changes starts to make things pretty confusing. We do understand that changes are often unavoidable, but you should definitely do your best to limit the additions, perhaps saving them to send all together. With that being said, it is also important to remember your calligrapher is human – mistakes will happen. The best way to deal with this is to plan ahead, order extra envelopess (generally 15% overage to be safe), and give plenty of time for your order to be completed slowly and carefully. (Note from Anne: Even if you are having envelopes addressed by a printer you will need to order extra envelopes.)

Laura Hooper Calligraphy offers a wide range of services including: addressing envelopes, custom invitations, seating and place cards, save-the-date cards, announcements, creating maps and monograms. Visit lhcalligraphy.com to view more of Laura’s beautiful work.


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