While choosing a printed font is likely an easier way to get the invitations and printed materials for your wedding quickly, there is something to be said for adding hand calligraphy wherever you can for your special day. Calligraphy is a timeless art that always adds a wow factor wherever it’s used, and it brings an artistic element into your wedding that’s hard to find otherwise.
What Is Calligraphy?
Calligraphy is a form of decorative handwriting usually written with a pointed pen, broad-edge pen, chisel tip pen, or ink brush.
Personal touches are what make your wedding uniquely yours, and hand-calligraphed invitations, envelopes, or escort cards are a simple and elegant detail that adds a bit of formality to your wedding. They set the tone for your wedding and give your guest a hint of what they can expect when the big day arrives. When done right, calligraphy can be a showstopper.
Ahead, Leah Sachs, full-time calligrapher and wedding invitation designer, takes us through some of the most important things couples need to know about calligraphy wedding invitations, such as how much it costs, how you can find a calligrapher for your own wedding and more.
Meet the Expert
Leah Sachs is a full-time calligrapher, wedding invitation designer, and owner of Leah E. Moss Designs.
Are There Different Types of Calligraphy?
Wondering if calligraphy has a different set of styles? According to Sachs, "Each style of writing is called a 'hand' rather than a 'font' because it’s created individually." There are tons of different calligraphy hands and some hands are crafted with a pointed pen, while others use a broad-edge or chisel-tip pen. She continues, "Lately, pointed pen varieties are most popular for wedding work. There are many varieties within the pointed pen category, ranging from ultra-flourished and traditional to organic or more feminine and whimsical. With all the hands you can potentially choose from, it’s important to be clear about which style you want."
How Can You Use Calligraphy for Weddings?
Along with calligraphy wedding invitations, envelope addressing may be the most obvious place to use calligraphy. But, your options are not limited to only those two. Any element that incorporates a personal touch at your wedding can benefit from calligraphy. So, think about using it on non-traditional surfaces, such as tiles, stones, shells, and bottles. Moreover, calligraphy offers an air of personalization and elegance, so any "high touch" points that your guests will interact with are also great options, Sachs adds. In this case, place cards, programs, personalized menus, or a seating chart all fit the bill.
How Much Does Calligraphy Cost?
Typically, calligraphic art is priced per piece. For example, envelopes are priced per envelope. "The price tends to range widely and often depends on the calligrapher's level of experience and the local market," explains Sachs. "For envelope addressing, most calligraphers seem to fall within the $3.50 to $5.50 apiece range. While there are many out there charging far less than this, be warned that you get what you pay for."
How Do You Find a Calligrapher?
"To find a calligrapher, start with your local calligraphy guild. Most states or major metropolis areas have a calligraphy association or group. Many of these have a listing of local calligraphers, or they can put you in touch with their members," she says. "For example, I'm based in Detroit and the Michigan Association of Calligraphers is very active, with more than 125 members of hobbyists and professionals alike. We have a 'calligraphers for hire' page on our website that visitors will find quite helpful." When in doubt, a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone who has had calligraphy wedding invitations that you liked is always a great option.
When Should You Hire a Calligrapher?
Book your calligrapher when you book your invitations, offers Sachs. While the process itself doesn't take too long (add in about two weeks for your production time), client lists tend to fill up quickly. Also, remember that calligraphic work is a physical job, so there is a limit to the amount of work calligraphers can take on. Once you decide on a calligrapher, do your best to get on their production calendar as early as possible.