How to work with a calligrapher

In the past few years, the wedding industry has seen a rise in demand for bespoke stationery and calligraphy. Brides are no longer looking to create a wedding, but a memorable experience. And, it all begins from the time their guests open the invitation.

From the moment the invitation is unhinged, it’s a sensory adventure. Guests are immediately given a taste of what the wedding experience will be like, by color, texture, printing, style and feel of the paper. Calligraphy gives a couples’ paper that je ne sais quoi, that certain something…the form to the feel. It’s an art that can conjure an ambience in words.

But, let’s back up a minute.

Before a couple can dream of putting all the details together to create the entrance to their beginning of life ever after, a calligrapher must be chosen. Calligrapher and handmade paper artist Katie Hyatt of Signora e Mare has been kind enough to share her expertise with us on this popular topic.

How do you find and work with a calligrapher?

Start with your wedding planner. Most likely she or he will have a list of calligraphers they work with and can match you with an artist who’s in-tune with your style to ensure your suite has a cohesive look. If you don’t have a planner, check with wedding blogs. Often times, they will have a directory of different wedding artists and may even have them broken down by city. Or, ask friends who have recently been married! There may have been a wedding you attended where you just absolutely loved the calligraphy style and it had your name written all over it.

How do you choose your calligrapher? 

Once you’ve have found a few calligraphers that you feel fit your wedding style, email them to find out their process and work. Anytime you are spending a good amount of money on bespoke pieces, request samples. It provides a hard visual and you can decide if it really is a good fit for you as a couple. Samples are also helpful if you’re working with an artist who may be in another state or country.  Request a phone call or face time meeting. You’ll be working with this person for the duration of your wedding once you book, so it’s important you’re on the same page not only style wise, but personality wise.

When should you book your calligrapher? 

When you have found your calligrapher of choice, it’s time to book them! Depending on what services you’re interested in, you may need to begin booking anywhere from 5 to 8 months from your wedding date. In my experience, brides tend to underestimate the time it takes to create a wedding suite. We get just as busy as photographers do so if paper is a priority in your wedding, be sure to book as soon as you can! To request a quote from a calligrapher, email your wedding date, approximate guest count and a general description of your wedding style. Sometimes calligraphers will already have a form online with details regarding quotes and pricing. The more details you can provide the better! Once you have decided on the calligrapher and when you want to book, find out how to reserve your date. Do they require a contract? A retainer fee? Get the scoop!

Now what? 

You have chosen your calligrapher! Yay! Now, it’s time to get a schedule in place of when you will need to provide information to your calligrapher (such as addresses, text, inspirational imagery, etc) and when you should expect to see your paper in the mail. After a schedule is in place, you will work with your calligrapher to determine a design and layout to create a cohesive look with the rest of your wedding. Once you have received your invitations, you will need to review. We do our best to catch mistakes, but sometimes we miss a few. Give yourself time to go over everything carefully before posting to all of your guests. After you have sent, you’re ready to starting recording those RSVPs!

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Photography: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer | Venue: River Oaks Charleston | Set & Prop Styling: Ginny Branch | Hair & Makeup: Claudia Mejerle | Hand Lettering, Handmade Paper, Leather Pouch: Signora e Mare | Dress: Elizabeth Suzann “Artist” Dress | Shoes: Bryr Studio


Once Wed was launched in March 2008 to meet a need in the marketplace for an online listing service for second-hand wedding dresses. Within a short time, the company had developed into an online wedding publication and resource to provide newly-engaged brides with inspiration and tools to plan their dream wedding. 

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