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|
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!