I know that our readers are working with a huge array of budgets, particularly when it comes to the "add-ons" like calligraphy. Lucky for us, Laura Hooper has been kind enough to offer some cost saving tips on working with a calligrapher...
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Allocating Your Budget: First and foremost I think it is really important to try to factor calligraphy into your invitation budget. Many girls forget to do this and that is where you encounter the budget problems. They spend $10-$15 dollars a set on invitations and don’t factor in $2-$3 for calligraphy (per invitation). Go in knowing that the rate for an envelope in pointed pen is going to cost around $3 per invitation. If you are doing inner envelopes, factor in another $1.50 per piece.
Quick Tip...When you are at your invitation session, perhaps choose a slightly less expensive set, so that you have room for calligraphy in your budget. Everyone says this, and that is because it is true: that the envelope is the first thing that your guests will see of your wedding, and they should always be hand lettered.
Working with New Talent: If you do not have room in your budget for an experienced calligrapher, you can likely find someone just starting out in the business. They typically will have lower prices, but just know that even if you request a sample, it does not mean that your order will consistently look as good as that sample throughout. The more experience a calligrapher has, the more consistent they will be. Brides should ask for references from calligraphers who offer budget calligraphy, so that they can confirm with previous clients the quality of the lettering throughout the order.
Quick Tip...Contact area art schools to find students who have experience in calligraphy. Typically, art students will charge you much less than someone who has been in business a long time.
Help from Friends & Family: If you have no room in the budget at all, enlist your mom, aunt, or a friend with nice hand writing to do the addressing for you. You can purchase an inexpensive light box at any Michael’s store, and use guidelines to be sure the lines are straight. Practice makes perfect, so make sure they do a few practice runs on some spare paper…not your expensive invitation envelopes.
Overall it is really important to figure out what is most important to you when it comes to your invitations, and how much you are willing to spend on all the aspects of the invitations, including calligraphy, in advance. That way there are no surprises later!
Thank you so much to Laura for sharing these brilliant tips with us!