Calligraphy, invitations and Weddings… How does it all work?

So he popped the question and the date is set! Once you have made up a mood board (see our bog post and free downloadable mood board here)  worked out your venue and your guest lists the next most important thing is your stationery. 

This includes your wedding invitations. 

This is why we have put together this comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about calligraphy in regards to your wedding. 

Step 1. Set your ideal invitation send out date.

As Calligraphy en Vogue is a bespoke stationery studio, we limit the amount of creative projects we book per month to ensure our clients have our full attention. We encourage all couples to book their dates for stationery as soon as their wedding dates are set to avoid disappointment.  

If your wedding is more than 12 months away, a destination wedding or around a popular time of year for events (ie Christmas or public holidays) we suggest also considering a time frame for a save the date card to ensure your guests are well prepared for your wedding.

Step 2. Deciding on your wedding invitations & budget.

This seems to be the hardest part for couples and having a realistic expectation of what your dream wedding suite with cost to create but is an important element in your design consideration. We have some pricing listed on our website to help couples gauge their expected spend on different types of print and stock. (link here for wedding stationery price list.)

The most important part of this step is being upfront about your realistic budget for your wedding stationery.

Make a list of your must haves for your invitation design which can be anything from foil printing, hand written calligraphy elements, raw silk ribbon, foil press finish and wax seals. The options are endless but having an idea of the costing will help you to edit what you can sacrifice for the sake of your budget.

By knowing your intended budget from the beginning of the design process we will strive to make the best choices in design to keep in line with the style and design you wish to achieve. There is lots of tricks of the trade to keeping invitations looking luxurious without the huge price tag.

Things like keeping your main invitation your hero piece and building accessories around this to compliment the suite all help to avoid a one size fits all type of design simply with a little creativity we can keep many designs while keeping costs reigned in.

I encourage all their couples to do their research before committing to pre made invitation websites. While their entry level pricing might seem attractive (and your bespoke design creation quote might seem a little bit more expensive). Once you upgrade to a decent card stock, any type of printing that isn’t ink and include all your extra cards and envelopes, these prices can quickly climb to that higher than their “cheap” entry level pricing.

Keep in mind a greeting card that is mass produced in the millions is between $6-$10 so a wedding invitation for $2 is probably an unrealistic expectation. 

So be upfront and this will avoid disappointed and lengthy back and forth between yourselves and your designer.  

Step 3. Save the Dates

These are growing in popularity over recent years and for good reason.. Life is BUSY! 

People book holidays in advance and have an ever increasing amount of work commitments. No one wants to be disappointed and miss out on your wedding day because they accidentally booked a holiday before your invitation arrives. 

These should be sent out as soon as possible once your venue is locked in. You don’t have to give any details of the day but just let people know you will be getting married on that date, so they will keep it free. 

This is even more important if you are planning a destination wedding as people will need time to ensure they get time off work and book their accomodate and flights. 

If you are having a destination wedding I always recommend you include some nearby hotels and even flight numbers that many of the guests might be on. This will create more excitement around your wedding help people make this decision to attend! 

People often overlook the design of their save the dates but from your guests perspective this is their first look into your wedding so give them something to look forward to! The anticipation of your wedding day can be just as exciting for your guests, as for you, so show them your style from the first communication.. Also make sure you get your save the dates priced together with your wedding invitations to keep everything in the same theme and save on costs. 

In some cases a save the date might not be necessary. If you are getting married within 6 months of your booking your venue, you can save money by adding your save the date budget to your wedding invitation and sending them out early. 

Step 4. Booking in your wedding invitations and calligrapher. 

But why do I even need a calligrapher to create my stationery?  

Besides the fact the we create unbelievable work (if I do say so myself!) There’s also practical reasons why this happens. 

  1. Individual address printing in metallic colours is not viable as an option because an individual plate needs to be created for each individual address. Digital printing is cheaper but might not match the look of your wedding invitation. It’s often cheaper to have a calligrapher hand write them especially in metallic colours. Pricing of all your elements with the one creator is bound to say on time and money. 

  2. Envelopes from many invitation supply companies are low quality. Low quality paper often means you won’t be able to have them hand written in pointed pen as the ink bleeds onto the paper. Not to mention the additional costs of having to pay for shipping to and from your calligrapher. 

  3. 99% of print runs can’t be personalised. So if you want each individual guest name on your invitations the only solution is to have a calligrapher hand write each name on your invitations. 

  4. This ones a bigge…. Because no font will ever look like calligraphy, Once you see or receive a hand calligraphy invitation for yourself you’ll know how amazing it feels to see one in real life. 

Timeline for your stationery orders

Save the Dates - ASAP once you venue has been booked you need to engage a calligrapher/stationer and get these sent out! 

6 months or as soon as possible before the wedding - Finalise your designs and pay your calligrapher to secure your invitations to ready for your send out date. Calligraphers can only take on a certain amount of work in one time period so booking in early is crucial especially during peak wedding season. 

5 months prior to the wedding. Work should commence on your wedding invitations to ensure they are ready for your send out dates. Ensure your details are finalised by this point and sent to your calligrapher. 

3 months prior to wedding - we suggest sending your invitations for your wedding out anywhere between 8-12 weeks before your wedding. (even earlier if you didn’t send save the date cards or guests are travelling from interstate/ overseas) 

2 Months prior to wedding. You should have your Day of Stationery finalised including menus and table numbers and signage and have your calligraphy deposit paid and artwork requirement dates locked in. These will be completed before your personalised name items as they will not be able to be completed at the 3 week point. 

3 weeks before. RSVP’S should be finalised by this point and sent to your calligrapher so your gift tags, placards and wedding favours can be completed. Make sure you allow plenty of time for postage. 

I hope this guide has given you some clarity on the timelines associated with wedding stationery. Leaving these items to the last minute can cause huge amounts of stress leading up to your wedding and lead to disappointment. Calligraphers who do last minute rush orders can charge up to 100% on top of their calligraphy pricing just to get them done in time, so save yourself the financial pain and book early. 

For any other calligraphy advise or to start your order nows, contact Jo at Calligraphy en Vogue HERE (Link to contact page) 

Joanne Eleanor