1. It helps to book your wedding calligrapher at the same time that you book with your stationer (if they aren’t the same person – we offer both stationery design/printing as well as hand calligraphy). Most calligraphers will take a non-refundable retainer and secure the time for you in their calendar. This ensures that once your envelopes are ready, they can head straight to the calligrapher for addressing and avoid any delays in your target mail-date.
2. Ask about extra charges when inquiring for an estimate. Here at Laura Hooper Calligraphy, we operate on a flat-rate basis, but some calligraphers will charge extra for centering, metallic inks, extra lines beyond a standard 3-line address block, etc. A “cheaper” per-piece starting point does not necessarily mean it will end up costing you less when all is said and done. We only charge extra for custom-mixed if needed.
3. Overall, when a calligrapher is “cheap” you want to find out why. Check out samples of their work and compare them to someone who is more in line with industry standard rates ($3.50+ per outer envelope address). Reach out and see how quickly/clearly they communicate. You will most definitely see a difference in the quality of work, but not only that, you will likely also find a difference in their experience (or inexperience) in communicating quickly/efficiently regarding your order/their process, in addressing your envelopes properly and letting you know if there are errors in your list, etc. It’s completely up to you if you want to invest in quality & experience for this element of your wedding, but be sure you know what you are in for either way!
4. Find out a calligrapher’s turnaround time & plan accordingly with delivery of your envelopes/final list. Industry standard is about 2-3 weeks. Many calligraphers can accommodate a shorter turnaround, but rush fees may apply. When a calligrapher imposes a rush fee, it doesn’t mean the writing is “rushed” – we can’t simply write faster! It usually means that they will be working nights/over a weekend to accommodate the shorter turnaround time. Basically the calligrapher has to work unplanned overtime to make up for delays in the design/printing stage.
5. Your calligrapher does not necessarily need to be local – we work with clients all across the United States & regularly ship orders. It is most important that you find someone whose style and quality of work is in line with what you are looking for for your wedding invitations & reception work. But when you are communicating with a potential calligrapher, keep an eye out for any signs that they aren’t experienced in shipping envelopes/stationery suites. If they are discouraging you from having them ship the work, and it would be necessarily to use this person, definitely believe them and go an alternate route!
Hopefully these tips will help you in your search for a calligrapher and/or stationer for your wedding paper goods! You can find full details on our design & handwritten services on our website here.
Laura & Alyssa