7 Tips for Hiring a Wedding Calligrapher
If you are planning a wedding yourself, then you probably already know how much work is involved. There's the guest list, the venue, the invitations, the decorations, oh and of course the dress to name a few of the to-dos. You may even have a short list of wedding professionals to contact, because doing it yourself doesn't have to mean doing alone. Although you could do it all yourself, most couples find it helpful to hire at least a few specialists. And if a calligrapher is on your list of must have wedding professionals, then this article is for you. Here are 7 tips for hiring a wedding calligrapher, written by a professional calligrapher. Enjoy!
It's never too early to contact wedding professionals for your big day. You don't have to start booking as soon as you get engaged, but the earlier you can make contact to just say 'hi, I'm interested,' the better. In the busy wedding season my booking calendar can get quite full. But planning a wedding on your own can sometimes feel like an overwhelming whirlwind. I get that. That's why if you're a bride I talked with months ago, I will move mountains to fit you in by your deadline. Trust me, I've been there.
Ask about styles. Most calligraphers offer a range of lettering styles. And there may be styles she can do but just doesn't have listed on her website. Ask, and you may be surprised. Keep in mind most calligraphers name their own fonts, so it's a good idea to collect pictures of styles you like as you see them. This will help your calligrapher to know just what your looking for.
Location, location, location. You can usually save money by opting for a local calligrapher. Not only can you ask to see samples in person without having to 'purchase' them, you save on shipping your invitations to and from your calligrapher. I work with couples all over the US and never mind shipping products. In fact, with a toddler in tow, sometimes shipping is easier. But for the local couples I work with, meeting one-on-one is ideal. Typically the bride, or customer, pays to ship the invitations both ways. Locals get the added perk of hand delivered goods.
When you are hiring any kind of wedding professional be sure to consider their reputation. Do they have good reviews? Bad reviews? Will your wedding be their first wedding? There may be nothing wrong with going with a newbie wedding professional- in fact you may get a cheeper service. But be cautious, you only get one shot at tying together all the details of your big day. When in doubt do a bit of research or ask for references if you can't find anything about them online. I keep my clientele list confidential, and for that reason I don't give out contact information of past customers as references. Which is also why I don't post pictures of real addresses online, no matter how gorgeous an envelope turns out. I do however, have public reviews on third party sites like WeddingWire.com and Etsy.com. Not to mention more wedding and product shots than you may care to see on my social media sites.
If she can write on paper she can write on walls... literally. You do not have to restrict your special, hand lettered touches to your invitations. If a calligrapher offers hand lettering services on envelope addressing, odds are she will hand letter your place cards, menus, save the dates, table numbers, and photo props, too. I have a small list of items listed as 'for sale' in my online storefronts such as Etsy and Amazon. But I have happily worked on far more projects like the 3 foot by 12 foot scroll I made for a wedding ceremony or the save the dates I hand lettered on real sand dollars. Truth be told, there are too many variations of requests to list them all but that doesn't mean your awesome never-been-done-before-except-on-pinterest idea can't be done for a reasonable price, it just means you may have to ask for a quote. Personally, I LOVE getting those extra special, 'challenge requests' as I like to call them. Well, challenge accepted.
Bulk pricing discounts. Some calligraphers will offer discounts if you opt for a larger range of products and services. For instance, consider getting all your wedding paper products from the same place. You may find that having your invitations custom designed, and individually lettering your envelopes, place cards, and wedding signs may cost almost the same as having part printed, part letterpress and part hand lettered. Plus everything will match to a T.
Ask about extras. When it comes to hiring wedding professionals, chances are you have a lot of options on who to choose. So be sure to ask, 'why should we choose you, what sets you apart?' Honestly, we won't take it personally. When my hubby and I tied the knot 3 years ago we booked our cruise with the travel agency that promised us a bottle of champagne in our ship cabin. I get it. The little extras make the difference. As a wedding calligrapher, this question is always easy. In each package I send, I tuck in a hand written thank you note on one of my RC&D pressed rose petal note cards. I often include a sample product, too. When mailing your items, I slip everything inside cello bags before placing them in the shipping box to protect against rain. And if I'm hand delivering your parcel, you can expect it wrapped in ribbon and tucked neatly in a matching gift bag. (Not to mention complementary collating for the couples with both inner and outer envelopes, which will save you time and possibly frustration.)
I hope this article was helpful! What wedding professionals are you (or did you) hiring for your big day? Please feel free to share your thoughts about this article and compare notes with other brides in the comments below. Thanks for sharing!