What Questions Do I Need To Ask About Custom Wedding Invitations?

When it comes to wedding invitations and calligraphy, I've heard it all. And I think that all questions deserve an answer in one, easy to find place! Whether you're working with me, an online source, or another stationer, you need to have the right questions in your arsenal so you know exactly what you're getting. 

So, let's get down to business.

Question 1: How is calligraphy different than handwriting? 

For starters, calligraphy is done with a pointed pen! I use an oblique holder, which holds a nib at an angle, off to the side of the pen, to help keep the letters I'm writing at nicely turned at 55 degrees. 

The best way to tell calligraphy from handwriting is by the distinct thick and thin lines... thin lines are called "hairlines" and are made as you move the nib upward. Thick lines are called "down strokes" and are made by applying pressure to the nib as you move it down, releasing more ink.

But, the largest distinguisher in my opinion is how long it takes to write something in calligraphy! It requires a lot of practice, as you can imagine. And, to carefully form every single stroke, center things perfectly, and not splatter ink... you have to take your time. It's always worth it in my opinion!

Question 2: Do you do calligraphy on every single invitation? 

No way! I'll do calligraphy on every envelope, but that's usually 10-15 words and takes at least five minutes if I don't make any mistakes. For an invitation, and the pieces that accompany it (response, detail, accommodation cards, etc.) I do the calligraphy and scan it into my computer. From there, I use photoshop and illustrator to make sure everything is perfect, arrange the calligraphy with any other text or artwork, and print on my fancy photo printer in my home studio. 

Question 3: Do you do your own artwork?

Absolutely! I don't attempt to do any work that I'm not comfortable with: realistic watercolor paintings, illustrations of people, etc. Work that I'm confident I can do includes venue illustrations, watercolor florals, 

Some designers use wonderful resources like Creative Market and use licensed artwork to bring a client's vision to life. It's important to ask a stationer where their artwork comes from. Using licensed artwork drastically reduces design fees, but doesn't give you a design that was created absolutely for you.

Question 4: What kind of paper should I use? 

This is a loaded question, and probably one that I'll address in its own section! 

I only use paper from suppliers that I know and trust. Although there are a plethora of large sources for paper, a lot of them are known for not having the paper you need in stock or having terrible customer service. Not using them means that I offer a wide, but not the widest, selection of paper. But, it guarantees that you will get the paper you choose quickly and without question.

When we meet in person, I bring samples from all of my paper suppliers for you to play around with!

LCI Paper is my preferred supplier for non-handmade paper. They have a wide selection of colors, weights, and textures. Their samples ship quickly, and they are always adding new kinds of paper based on what their clients suggest. 

Fabulous Fancy Pants Handmade Cotton Rag Paper has been a favorite of mine for years. Her paper prints very easily, considering that it has a wonderful handmade texture to it. 

Farmette Press Handmade Botanically-Dyed Paper is my go to for letterpress. She employs refugees on her farm in Kansas City, and uses an antique letterpress

Last but not least is Share Studios, created by a true artisan, with an eye for blues, greens, and unbelievable texture. She takes custom orders, but needs lots of time to plan around creating your perfect shade!

Question 5: Do you include postage in your quotes? 

No, but would be more than happy to add it to the "supplies" portion of your invoice. Postage can be tricky depending on how many pieces you're including in your invitation suite. I like to send myself your samples through the mail to be sure that I can tell you exactly how much to purchase! 

Question 6: When should i start planning around invitations?

That depends on your wedding. If you're getting married locally, you'll want to send your invitations out between 6 & 8 weeks before the big day, and because I do my best work when we have at least 8 weeks to create your suite, you should book me anywhere from 4 months to a year out! My schedule can fill up quickly, so earlier is safer. 

Question 7: if i don't want calligraphy envelopes, can you print my guests' addresses?

You bet. The only difference is that if you choose a dark envelope I might not be able to print a legible address! My printer can't print in white, but if you're keen on a dark envelope but not calligraphy, I know where we can send your envelopes.

question 8: if i don't live in dc, can i still get invitations from you?

Absolutely! I can ship anything anywhere, including paper samples from my wholesaler straight to your front door! If you don't live in DC, we'll connect on the phone, through Facetime, and by email! Usually, I meet couples in person for a consultation (to play with my samples paper and printing options) at the start of our time together, but we can do that virtually!