Today we're talking all about what to keep in mind when you hire a calligrapher to address your envelopes, how to choose envelopes, and why it costs what it does!
Ahh, that feeling when you receive a beautifully addressed envelope in the mail - you know it's something exciting, worth opening, and just for you. Email may have its place in our world, but there is nothing like getting a one-of-a-kind envelope in the mail. If you're considering having your wedding or event envelopes addressed in calligraphy, you won't want to miss out on my list of tips!
WHAT TO CONSIDER
When gathering addresses, think a little about the style of your wedding. For example, if your wedding is more formal, you may want to format your addresses more formally (Avenue instead of "Ave.", Mr. and Mrs. instead of "John and Susie", etc). I also recommend trying to keep things consistent. If you use "Street" on one guest's address, try not to use "St." on another - keep it all as "Street". Your calligrapher will most likely have instructions or a template for you to use when formatting your addresses, so I recommend sticking to that to avoid costly re-dos and a frustrated calligrapher.
If your calligrapher does not have instructions or a template, be sure to specify as clearly as possible the layout you would like. For example, doing the zip code on a separate line is very popular, but not everyone wants it. If you want a dropped zip code, be sure to specify and put it on a separate line when providing the addresses. Again, I recommend this only if your calligrapher has not specified any instructions for formatting. Some calligraphers will do all your formatting for you, and charge a fee. If you choose this option, (and even if you don't!) I highly recommend triple-checking the addresses before handing them over!
CHOOSING A STYLE
There are so many envelope calligraphy styles out there! Between figuring out if you want the names in script/address in block lettering, or all in script, brush lettering, pointed pen, gold, white, black... the options are truly endless.
My advice is to consider the style of your wedding, again. If your wedding isn't super formal, you may want to choose a fun brush lettering script for the names and block lettering for the addresses. If it's more formal, perhaps you'll want it all in script lettering. Definitely also consider the strengths of the calligrapher you choose! You probably chose them because their style fit what you were looking for, so play to their strengths.
PAPER TYPE MATTERS
If you are providing envelopes to your calligrapher, PLEASE either consult with your calligrapher first before purchasing, or make sure you purchase a quality envelope. Paper matters a lot, even for envelopes, and you will be able to tell immediately when you feel the envelope. It is also much more difficult for your calligrapher to write on a cheaply made envelope as oftentimes the ink will be fuzzy-looking and bleed, or the paper might even tear if the envelope is very poor quality. This of course results in a whole batch of wasted envelopes and a very frustrated calligrapher. I'm not saying you have to buy the most expensive envelopes out there, just make sure you get some recommendations and choose an envelope that is made from a decent sheet of paper.
Some calligraphers including myself source the envelopes for their client for this very reason. I'm able to choose trusted vendors to supply the envelopes that I know will be quality and will take a nib and ink very well.
Just as you probably wouldn't wrap a beautiful gift in newspaper (unless it was part of your whole vision or a white elephant exchange, haha), please don't put your invitations in cheap envelopes!
HOW I APPROACH YOUR ENVELOPES
Why is envelope calligraphy so expensive? Well, every single address is written by hand, one at a time, using a calligrapher's skills and education. Basically every single envelope is a work of art.
Every address is carefully looked at to see how much space is needed, and then there's the matter of centering and lining things up straight - which takes time and skill, trust me! There are different methods here: some people like to draw guidelines in pencil, some use a laser level, some use a light box. Whatever the method, it takes time to make it look just right. The address is then written in very carefully and set on the side to dry. After they're all dry, pencil lines may need to be erased, and every envelope gets proofed to make sure nothing was missed. Let's just say you'll never look at an envelope the same again and wonder why someone charges $4 to write an address!
What other envelope questions do you have for me? Fellow calligraphers, did I miss anything?
Let me know in the comments below!