{Chaucer Script in brown ink}

As a professional calligrapher, I have been very fortunate to work with thousands of clients all across the country and even in the UK, Caribbean, Canada, Italy and Australia. I have so many wonderfully successful memories but as in any business there have been a few obstacles to overcome. I know most of my readers are brides and other wedding professionals. This information is for you, especially if you have never looked into Calligraphy before. In order to ensure that your order is as beautiful as you picture it, it is extremely important to keep in mind the following points:1. Find someone you like and book them as soon as possible. Many calligraphers book up months in advance, making rush jobs expensive or nearly impossible.2. Remember to factor hand calligraphy into your stationery budget so you don’t have to scrimp on quality. It’s true when they say you get what you pay for!3. If they have a form to fill out make sure do so as accurately and detailed as possible. Be sure to clearly address your expectations in writing, including any special instructions. Most complications are due to a breakdown or error in communication. Make sure you provide a written list exactly as you want it to show on the envelopes, in the format the calligrapher asks for. Never provide a handwritten list, as most calligraphers probably will not accept it.4. Read your calligrapher’s ordering instructions carefully and ask questions. They should have their policies clearly listed on their website, or should provide you with some sort of literature explaining how orders should be presented. If your calligrapher asks for your guest list to be in Word format, do not send it in Excel or in any other format. If you are doing inner envelopes, be sure to provide a list for those, too. You calligrapher should not have to determine how to write each inner envelope based on the outer.4. Most calligraphers need address lists provided with the lines stacked, a.k.a., typed out as you would write them on an envelope. This is how the calligrapher knows where to start each line. It is also more natural to read down the page rather than reading across a page, as in Excel spreadsheets. This in itself minimizes the mistakes that are made drastically. I like my lists to arrive numbered and in a Word document. I am pretty good at a mail merge though, so if your list is in Excel, never fear, I can still accept it. Just be sure to number your addresses though!!5. If possible, obtain samples of the artist’s work. Keep in mind that with hand-lettering, mistakes will happen but your calligrapher should be willing to correct them immediately. I check all my envelopes myself but I am human and sometimes I miss small things. However, I try to get corrections out within 2 business days of getting notice about them.6. Stay in contact with your calligrapher. It can be difficult to send your envelopes across the country to someone you have never met, and they should be understanding of this fact. I offer samples for sale on my etsy page. I provide a very wide variety of styles, and I include maps and menus as well as place cards. Keep in mind you should not limit yourself to local calligraphers, the Internet makes doing business across the country or between continents very easy. I work with girls all over the world on a daily basis, not just LA brides. Be sure to reference your name on or in the box. It can be a process to decipher whose order is whose when there are no names on the envelopes or the box.7. Keep in mind that calligraphy is an art form and all the work is done by hand. Though you have expectations of when you need to send out your invitations, calligraphers can encounter numerous problems with the textures of different papers and inks, which can extend their turnaround time. I try to be sure to keep in contact with my brides to let them know what is going on, but don’t hesitate to send an email to stay on top of things on your end.8. Try to check the work within 48 hours of receiving it. Often times I get corrections 2 weeks to a month after an order is completed. By that time the envelopes are put away and it takes time to locate them and setup the order again. let alone write them and send them out. If you want them in a timely manner, notify the calligrapher asap.9. Send yourself an invitation. I hear that this simple gesture makes you feel like the wedding is “really happening” and it also gives you an idea of when your guests will start getting their invites in the mail as well. It makes a great keepsake, too! I offer the bride and groom’s envelope (or envelope sets) free of charge.10. Let your calligrapher know they did a fantastic job, it makes me really happy to know you and your guests love the work I do and I know others feel that way too!