Monday, August 15, 2011

Wedding Calligraphy Process: What to Expect

You've decided that you want the personal touch of hand-done calligraphy on your wedding invitation envelopes. Great! Now what?

I've had countless brides who have hired me to do their calligraphy, and many times I hear the same questions over and over again. And because I love breakdowns with step-by-step instructions, here's a breakdown of what to expect when you hire a calligrapher, as well as how to prepare yourself for the invitation addressing process.

Outer Envelope Calligraphy, $2 each
1) Research & Contact: Do some research of calligraphers in your area (or out! Don't settle for what's around you). You can also check craigslist, Yelp, or other local listings for art students who are offering callgraphy as a side business to get some practice and to make a little extra money while in school...which is exactly what I did when studying at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Just make sure that you see samples of their previous work, and encourage a freelance contract situation if you can!

Once you've found someone promising, reach out to them as early as possible by each of the methods they indicate will be most easy for them to respond. I know for me, it's absolutely better to send me an email, which I monitor during the day and can compose a faster response.

2) Set a timeline. Most invitations go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Remember, more time will be needed if you have a destination wedding that people will need to travel to and need time to book flights and hotels, or if you don't send out Save-the-Dates. So think backwards from your wedding date: When will you have the envelopes? when do you need the envelopes completed and returned by to stuff and mail?

Calligraphy for Outer Envelopes Only, $2 each

After these questions, do you have time to have your envelopes addressed? Most jobs require 2-3 weeks for completion: if you are running behind schedule, a 15% rush fee will be assessed. Don't forget to order extra envelopes to allow for mistakes or extra addresses!
3) Determine a budget. The following are my prices for calligraphy: most calligraphers will have their prices listed on their website, or will be happy to provide them via email.

Outer envelopes only: $3 per envelope
Outer and inner envelope: $3.50 each
RSVP cards: $2 each
Return address: Add $1
Place cards: $2 each

Wedding Calligraphy Envelopes, $2 each

Do the math before contacting the calligrapher: does your budget allow for calligraphy? It's my recommendation that you do not try and negotiate your price when it comes to calligraphy for your envelopes. Calligraphy is a personal, time-consuming art of pure labor: I know from experience that I can have many clients lined up at once, and when I get the price-negotiators trying to de-value my time and skill, I tend not to prioritize their job. Remember - it's an artisan you are hiring: not a reception space you are trying to get a good deal on.

3) Make a consultation appointment. Now that you have a timeline (and confirmed your budget!), book a consultation appointment: preferably as soon after you receive your envelopes as possible. Also prepare your final guest list to completion, so I can get to work right away. Triple check spellings and addresses, and if possible please clump and center full addresses together using the Labels function in Microsoft word, so I can have a visualization of what the full address will look like on the envelope before I write it.

If you have received your envelopes and are lining them yourself, please DO NOT line them until after the envelopes have been addressed - it is easier for me to address if they have not been lined yet. 

Return Address Calligraphy, $1 each

4) Meet with the Calligrapher in a Consultation. Most clients come to consultations ready to drop off envelopes after discussion and viewing my portfolio, as they have already seen my work samples online - so please come prepared with the envelopes. Also as part of my freelance contract that you'll be asked to look over and sign, I require 1/2 job deposit when I receive the invitations, so please come prepared with cash or check for the amount sent over to you in the contract. Because you will have 3 weeks to pick up, this is also a good way to break up the cost.

5) Relax! And allow 2-3 weeks for your envelopes to be completed, unless otherwise discussed. Look over your list to make sure you have no errors: while I have the envelopes, now is the time to get them fixed if there is a mistake! I am accessible immediately by email, so shoot over any corrections or additions as necessary. Don't worry about the total: I do a manual count as I work, and will adjust before you pick up.

6) Pick up your envelopes. I have never been late to complete a job: if anything, I tend to finish early. I guarantee that you will receive your envelopes by your desired completion date if not sooner, so I will reach out to you before that time to schedule a pick up time. Don't forget to bring the amount outstanding due, which I will also send your way via email along with the updated contract/invoice. I do not bill later: I require the full amount before I can release the envelopes.

7) Enjoy! You can breathe now - just stuff and mail your envelopes, and await the responses!

Calligraphy for Place Cards, $1 each

     7a) Don't forget your reception place cards. As you get closer to your wedding and have a better idea of  who is going, you may want to do calligraphy for place cards for your tables. Place cards and table card calligraphy are $1 each, and take only about a week to turn around. Keep that timeline and previous process in mind, and don't forget to keep me posted!

Hope this gives you planning brides a better idea of what to expect!

If you are interested in calligraphy and not local to Massachusetts, I have worked cross-country with brides from New York to Utah. Don't let distance hold you back - contact me to get started!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share and Enjoy!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin