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The Write Way to Invite for Your Wedding

Updated on March 27, 2014

The Write Way to Invite for Your Wedding

Why is Calligraphy Script Often Used for Wedding Invitations

Calligraphy is said to be an expression of one's heart, head, and hand. The word came from the Greeks from their word "kalli" and their word "graphia" together having a meaning of "beautiful writing". It long has been associated with writing performed by scribes during the Renaissance, a time when only a few scholarly people knew how to write, calligraphy lives on today, it embodies traditional writing for very special events.

Calligraphy is widely used for weddings, as calligraphy establishes a formal tone and denoted elegance, which makes it the perfect option for engagement announcements, wedding invitations, seating arrangements, directional maps, place cards, and wedding programs and for the RSVP responses back from wedding invitations. Very often, the wedding invitation will be the first impression of the new couple and serves as a precursor of things yet to come. The wedding invitations should reflect some of the wedding couple's personality and establishes the tone of the wedding. Couples should design the wedding invitations to portray the importance of the wedding event and express the love they have for one another.

Many people have had a little exposure to calligraphy, some of us have used it at school, may have used it for a project or as a hobby. The question is, do we have the skill sets to apply calligraphy to 300 wedding invitations, RSVP cards, and address envelopes. Little things like using the proper calligraphic strokes or leaving a little ink splat makes a big difference on whether wedding invitations look professional or end up looking tacky. Writing good calligraphy means our drawing skills have to be mastered for it and that only comes with smooth steady hands, proper spacing, learning the calligraphic strokes, knowing how to center, and experience.

When it comes to wedding invitations you have three choices. You can hire an expert calligrapher, find a software package that can create calligraphic wedding invitations, or learn calligraphy yourself and practice, practice, practice calligraphy until you have masted it. Calligraphy is a perfectionist business, any slight imperfections or any "oops" mistakes means you might have to start over to create a wedding invitation, resulting in lost time and money.

Finding a Calligrapher for Your Wedding

Your first option is to find an experienced professional calligrapher to create your wedding invitations. Calligraphers have the tools, the training, and the patience to create wedding invitations. They can also address your invitation address envelopes and handle many other printing needs you have for your wedding such as RSVP responses, directional maps, wedding programs, place seating boards, and place cards.

You can find calligraphers in a number of different ways. You can download wedding planning apps onto your iPhone, iPad, or Android device and look for them under the invitation wedding category. You can upload the app from the Apple Store or from ITunes. You can find calligraphers from wedding directories such as Decidio, GatheringGuide, theKnot, MyWedding, WeddingWire, and Eventective (add www. at the beginning and .com using a search engine). You can find calligraphers using a search engine inputting a city or town followed by "wedding invitations" or "calligraphers". You can ask family, friends, or wedding vendors if they know of calligraphers they would recommend or look for them in the yellowpages.

When you are searching for a calligrapher you should target interviewing at least 3 of them before deciding on whom to choose. Check out their website before making an appointment, you want to see an example of their work to see how good their work is and get a sense of their style. You also want to find a calligrapher that will fit your budget. Many calligraphers won't divulge costs until you meet in person with them.

Also to note when dealing with calligraphers, there are hundreds of fonts out there in the wedding invitation world. Some calligraphers will only do wedding invitations using only certain script fonts and some calligrapher will create invitations in almost any font you choose. Some of the more popular fonts used today for wedding invitations include "royal script", "shaded antique roman", "chancery" and "carolingia". There are basically 5 things a calligrapher concerns himself/herself when it comes to calligraphy, they are calligraphy pens, ink, font type, type of paper, and the wording.

As for calligraphy pens there are basically five types of calligraphy pens used today. They are calligraphy marker pens, calligraphy fountain pens, calligraphy dip pens, quills, and calligraphy brushes. Calligraphy markers are the newest addition of calligraphy pens, they are great tool for beginners to use. The other pens are more geared for intermediate and advanced calligraphers. Many calligraphy pens are designed so they have an interchangeable nib(tip) and some have interchangeable ink cartridges which gets switched periodically, often for using different colored ink. Quills are basically feathers dipped in ink which was common years ago. Calligraphy brushes are similar to paint brushes used for writing in Chinese and for large calligraphy designs.

For wedding invitation, special type of paper is used for calligraphy writing. Common loose leaf or typewriter paper is a wood based fiber tends to not bind well with ink and will start to degrade and break down over time. Wedding calligraphers like to use cotton fiber paper which has a soft luxurious feel and tends to bind well with ink. Wedding invitations should last a lifetime as a family heirloom. Popular colors recommended by calligraphers for wedding invitations include buff, ecru, eggshell, and ivory. In recent years, brides often opt for a color wedding invitation that goes along with their color scheme.

If you are planning to use a professional calligrapher, find one and book them as early as you can. Ideally you should find and contract with a calligrapher a couple of months before your wedding invitations are due to be sent out to wedding guests. You want to find a calligrapher that you are comfortable dealing with, someone who will touch base with you regularly, someone who will communicate with you should any issues come up with such things as address, format, paper type, ink, timetable, or delivery. Once you are under contract you should discuss how it's best for the two of you should communicate, do you interface by phone, email, text messaging or something other.

A few things to know about calligraphers. They often are serving multiple clients at a time, but they prefer not to divulge that fact to each of their clients. They are afraid to tell you, if you knew they suspect you won't contract with them. They want your business and if they feel they can't handle the work load you will give them they would turn you down. The work they do in creating wedding invitations and other wedding printing needs is often time consuming and tedious.

You must not be too strict in dealing with calligraphers. It's best to be a little flexible with them when it comes to meeting deadlines. They work in a perfectionist profession, they tend to be good at prioritizing their work. Try not to put them under the gun and add stress to their lives. Calligraphers will have their "oops" moments and often may have a few do-overs. Every piece of material they work on has to be perfect from spacing, centering, interpreting what a client wants. If you give your calligrapher a little leeway you are apt to get back a superior product.

Characteristics of many calligraphers include, they generally will work out of their home office. Their office area will tend to have voluminous volumes of books, newsletters, and magazines related to their profession. They tend to collect all sorts of calligraphy products, pens, writing instruments, inks, paints, beautiful multicolored paper, and use almost any tool or medium they can get their hands on. They often join local guilds and join national organizations including IAMPETH "International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting" and "The Association for the Calligraphic Arts". They often will attend conferences to meet with renowned calligraphic scholars and often will network with other calligraphers keeping in touch using text or email.

When you have your interview meeting with a calligrapher, evaluate examples of their finished works they have created with other clients. You want to get a sense of style using calligraphic pens, inks, font styles, wording, and the type of paper used, ask yourself are you happy with their work that you see? Wedding invitations on average are about 4-6% of a total wedding budget.

As for how much will you be charged by a calligrapher. There is no standard chart of charges. The industry standard is to charge by the envelope, but you will find many calligraphers all charge for their work differently. Each calligrapher has their own way of charging for their work, some charge by the type of paper they use, some charge depending on the font style, charges are different depending on the part of the country you are in, some charge by line, some charge a little extra for the RSVP card, some will charge for lined envelopes, some charge for international addresses and they may charge extra for a handwritten or for an incomplete list.

The important thing when contracting with a calligrapher, really go through the charges in detail, so you understand fully with what you are going to be charged for. Also come to an agreement on how to check the wedding invitations and who and where to send the wedding invitations and wedding material out. It's a good idea to bring along a family member or friend to help check if the invitations have been done perfectly, look at every single invitation. Things happen sometimes when printing, color can fade, print can smudge, paper can become sticky, and address mistakes do happen and people's names can be misspelled. Both humans and machines aren't always perfect.

Make sure you always order about 20 extra wedding invitations for every 100 invitations to account for editing and "oops" mistakes. Also come to an agreement on where and when to check the invitations, is it going to be at the calligrapher's studio, at your home, or meet some place in between. Also who sends out the wedding invitations, will it be the calligrapher or the wedding couple, and does the couple pick up the wedding invitations to be sent out or does the calligrapher drop them off? When dropping the wedding invitations off with the calligrapher, make sure the invitations are clearly marked, you would not want the cleaning crew to accidentally place them in the trash.

How do you plan to prepare your wedding invitations?

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Calligrapher's Workbench

Software Packages that Create Wedding Invitations

For couples that are on a budget, who are looking to save hundreds of dollars, can create their own wedding invitations with the help of a computer. These days there are dozens of wedding invitation software packages available to create wedding invitations. Some wedding invitation packages are free and some charge a little, a lot depends on how sophisticated you want them designed. Creating your own invitations is a bit of work, but for many brides or grooms, the project often ends up being a little fun. You can really show your personality and really get created or you can use pre-made wedding invitations and maybe add a little clip art to the design.

Some of the more recommended wedding invitation software packages include microsoftword, thefreewedding, invys, printingpress, mymemoriesweddingstudio, lcipaper, and printmasterplatinum (add www. to the beginning and . com to the end of a search engine). A few of the software packages you can see a demonstation from Youtube videos. Many wedding invitation package softwares can be directly uploaded to your computer, many packages allow you to choose a template and you can redesign the template by replacing the wording, font style, size, alignment, and color and then the invitation is ready to be sent to a printer.

Coming soon, are wedding invitation software packages that you can create using your mobile device in which you select a template then you change the wording, fonts, etc. and then check a mark by the names of the wedding guests you want to send the invitations to and will able be able to send to print the invitations to a local printer.

If you are having trouble deciding on what template to use, think of the style of wedding you are planning to have. Are you going with a wedding theme or color scheme. You should try to keep your wedding invitations related to your wedding event, is it a formal affair, a modern affair, an eclectic affair, or more of a casual affair or a beach wedding or country style wedding. Your wedding invitations goes a long ways to set the tome for your wedding.

After you decide on a software package to create your wedding invitations, the next thing you need to concern yourself with is the kind of paper to print your invitations on. For a wedding, you can't go with conventional loose leaf paper, you need high quality paper, paper that will last a lifetime. Many calligraphers recommend you go with 100 percent cotton paper or a style of paper that can give you a letterpress look or a style that shows a little texture. Some recommended companies that produces high quality paper are papersource, paperandmore, and paperpresentation (add a www. at the beginning and .com at the end in a search engine).

The last thing you need to concern yourself with your wedding invitations is having a high quality printer, a printer that has the ability to print on heavy stock paper and that can feed envelopes too. A high quality printer may cost a bit over $100, it will cost a bit more for ink and for the high quality paper and envelopes. It still is a significant cost savings over a professional calligrapher.

Some of the recommended printers to produce high quality wedding invitations connected to your computer include Canon Pixma, Epson Espresso, Hewlett Packard Photosmart, HP Laserjet Pro 400, and Canon Selphy.

MyMemories Wedding Studio

Create Your Own Wedding Invitations Using Calligraphy

Some wedding couples are up to the challenge of creating their own wedding invitations and some will try to create them using calligraphy lettering. Before considering, you must ask yourself a number of questions. Do you think you will have the time to create wedding invitations, calligraphy will take some time? Can you gain access to calligraphic pens? Can you get your hands on the proper paper to be used for calligraphy? Do you have the patience to write using calligraphic strokes? Do you have a good workspace and is it a nice and quiet space? Do you have smooth and steady hands with excellent penmanship? Do you have access calligraphic fonts right through the alphabet? And, can you nail the drawing strokes, with consistent spacing, by aligning and centering the wording.

If you are able to create your own wedding invitations by using calligraphy, you will really impress your wedding guests, and your wedding invitations will be a knockout. Before you get deeply into creating calligraphic wedding invitations, you want to start out practicing with not so expensive pens and practice on paper that is especially aligned for calligraphy. Practice calligraphy paper has embedded slanting directly embedded in the paper so you get into the habit of slanting your pen strokes. To practice you should use special felt tip pens or calligraphy marker pens and when you are ready convert to calligraphy fountain pens or calligraphy dip pens.

You might give calligraphic drawing a tryout and see how it goes. If you see it going good, maybe take on the project, but if you find yourself struggling, be a realist, use a professional calligrapher or try creating wedding invitations using a computer wedding invitation software package. Make sure you have a high quality printer and good cotton fabric paper.

Remember for your wedding invitation needs to always order 20% more papers than your count. You only need to send one invitation to a couple and include their children as one as well unless they are of legal age.

You can find calligraphy pens at local arts & supply stores such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby. You can order calligraphy pens online too. Some of the recommended companies to order calligraphy pens from include 1001freefont, dafont, fontspace, urbanfonts, fontpalace, perfecttableplan, fontfabric, fontsquirrel, fontspring, and myfonts (add www. at the beginning and .com at the end of a search engine).

There is also a number of wedding invitation companies you can order styled wedding invitations from. Some of the reputable companies include WeddingPaperDivas, InvitationsByDawn, OhSoBeautifulPaper, BotanicalPaperWork, Ebvelopments, PaperStyle, Minted, and CardsandPockets (add www. at the beginning and .com at the end of a search engine).

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Invitation Wording Examples

Save The Date

Please Save The Date


Saturday, June 30, 2012

For The Wedding of

Karen Amber Smith


Joseph William Doe


Formal Invitations to Follow

Save The Date cards should include the couple's name and wedding date. You can have a little fun with the wording and share an engagement photo, relationship story, and include high level details. Save the Dates can be conventional post cards, photo cards, Save The Date Magnets, similar to an informal wedding invitation, a note with a signature photo, or a business card that can fit into one's wallet.

Wedding Invitations

(for a church wedding)

Mr. and Mrs. Byron Smith

Request the Honor of Your Presence

At the Marriage of Their Daughter

Karen Amber Smith


Joseph William Doe

Saturday, The Thirtieth of June

Two Thousand and Twelve

At Half-Past Three O'Clock

St. Patrick's Church

Chicago, Illinois

If the ceremony and reception are to be held at the same venue state "reception to follow" at the bottom of the card. If the reception is going to be help at a different location, treat it as a separate event and include a Reception Event Card along with directions.

Wedding Invitations and Wedding Reception, numbers should always spelled out. For example 2012 should be written as "two thousand twelve", 3:30 p.m. should be written as "half-past three o'clock".

If the wedding is being held outside of a church, change the wedding invitation wording.

From: Request the Honor of Your Presence

To: Request the Pleasure of Your Company

If the wording is hosted by both parents or being hosted by divorced families, mention both families in the invitation.

Such As:

Mr. and Mrs. Byron Smith

and Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Green

Request the Honor of Your Presence

RSVP Cards

The Favor of a Reply is Requested by the Thirtieth of April


________ Are Excited About Attending

________ Are Unable To Attend, But Are There in Spirit


______ Beef

______ Seafood

______ Vegetarian

Place Cards, Escort Cards, or Favor Tags

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Sampson

Table 3


Ms. Janet Fox

Table 11

These cards should always have the names spelled out. Having names spelled out is often a lifesaver for many wedding guests, when you don't see high school friends and old friends for awhile, often one will forget their names and people's looks change over time. It also helps to recognize married ladies as you remember them by their old maiden name. Having names spelled out helps some of your wedding guests, keeping them from becoming embarrassed in front of old friends and easily making new friends.

Thank You Cards

Thank you cards for weddings, should always be handwritten. In the note thank the person by their name and also in the note include the name of the gift that was received and a good example on how the gift will be used. For monetary gifts, do not mention the gift amount, instead thank the guest for the "generous gift" and thank them for attending your wedding if they came in person.

Finding Invitation Paper


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