Working With A Calligrapher: Part I

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I absolutely love getting to work with couples to make their vision come to life for their wedding (or special events). Part of the job that really brings joy to me is getting to be creative and working with wonderful people. I’ve found that my most enjoyable clients are those who understand a little bit about the behind the scenes of calligraphy. I remember I was so afraid to tell a client once that the copper ink she wanted wouldn’t show up well on the acrylic place cards , but after I told her she was THANKFUL and said “I totally trust your expertise.” Wow… it was then that I realized that communication is key when it comes to any industry.

I wanted to write this blog to help others understand the “behind the scenes” of calligraphy. When I was planning my own wedding I was a newbie to the wedding industry. For my own wedding we had a specific budget and I remember being so frustrated at how much things cost for the wedding. However, I slowly began to understand why they cost what they did. For example, I had no idea how much time a wedding photographer puts into wedding photos, when I discovered how much work goes into being a photographer, it really justified why they charge what they charge! When I started my business and began chatting with other industry vendors I learned other things I wasn’t aware of. So in today’s blog I’m hoping to shed a little light on the “calligraphy” side of the industry!

I have split this into 2 parts (I have a lot to say on this matter :)) and I don’t want to drone on for too long. I truly love the people I get to work with and I hope this blog sheds some light on this industry and how you can work better with your calligrapher!

Luxury vs. Necessity 


There are many luxuries in life … champagne, spa treatments, getting your hair highlighted every 6 weeks… all these things are luxuries not necessities (although my hair stylist might beg to differ ;)). Another one of life’s little “luxuries” is calligraphy for your wedding or special event.

The “Calligraphy as a luxury” lesson was a tough one for me to learn. In the very beginning, when I first started my business I was DIRT CHEAP. I remember spending hours on a sign I charged a mere $20 for. I was so happy to have customers but didn’t realize I was running myself into the ground and making less than minimum wage (If I made any money at all). I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to increase my prices and I remember telling myself “calligraphy is a luxury, not everyone is going to pay for it”. Calligraphy is essentially art, what my clients are paying for is my art. It’s just like anything else “extra” for your wedding, perhaps you wanted a photo booth, or a beautiful seating area with vintage rentals… these aren’t necessities, they are luxuries that will make your wedding extra special and unique. Therefore most calligraphers understand that calligraphed items for weddings aren’t for everyone, and we also understand that everyone’s budget is different.

Getting Ghosted


This is an extension of the paragraph above. Since calligraphy is a luxury, us Calligraphers understand that it’s not going to be in everyone’s budget. I have lots of potential leads that inquire on pricing and then I never hear from them again. In fact, I have spoken with many calligraphers (and wedding vendors) and this happens often… which is totally normal!!! Something I really appreciate though is when a potential client gets back to me and says "Thanks for the quote but we are going to have to pass, as this is out of our budget”. Or even if they let me know they’ve gone with someone else.

We (meaning us calligraphers) spend a lot of time putting together quotes for people (time we don’t get paid for) and while we understand that not everyone is going to book us, for the ones who don’t book us it’s nice to know the door is closed. Whenever a lead comes through my system it moves into my “lead” section, and if I know someone isn’t going to book me, they move out of that section. In conclusion, it’s very nice to give a potential vendor a little “hey I’m not interested” so there is closure and they know they can close the door on that lead.

We All Have Different Styles


I can say with confidence that my style of calligraphy is unique to myself. While there may be some calligraphers who look similar to my style, no one can write exactly like me. In fact, NO ONE’s style is exactly the same. That is the beauty of calligraphy, the styles are really endless. To the untrained eye there may not be that big of a difference, but as each Calligrapher will tell you “I have my own unique style”.

I had a friend who completed a client job and was told after by the client that “I was hoping for a different style of calligraphy”. My friend was shocked, as she couldn’t understand why the client would feel this way, the client had seen her website and instagram and it was clear through these platforms what my friend’s style was.

Make sure you like the style of the calligrapher you choose. Look at their instagram, go through their website, ask for samples. If you don’t like all of what you see, then you definitely shouldn’t book him/her or expect them to write differently than they normally do. There are some calligraphers who offer various styles of calligraphy, before you book them ask if you can see what other styles they offer.

The Fine Line Between Inspiration and Copying


We love to see where you are gleaning inspiration from for your wedding day, but please don’t ask us to copy someone else’s work. It’s a huge moral NO-NO in this industry. Here is an example of how this might play out: The Bride sends her calligrapher an invitation that she really loves and asks the calligrapher to make something similar. Essentially this is asking us to copy another artist’s work. If you find work that you love, please reach out to the person who created it. We don’t want to step on other creative’s toes… and we really don’t want to take money out of their pockets by copying their work!

If you do want to show us invitation suites that you like, tell us why you like them. For example: “I love the watercolor look” or “I love how the artwork covers almost the entire page” or “I really want gold foil on our invitations” - these clues are helpful for us when creating your invitation suite and it also helps us to better understand what you are looking for :)

Again, we love to see your Pinterest boards and hear about your wedding vision. All these details help us to create something unique and special just for you! Besides, if you are hiring us to do work for you, I’m pretty sure you want something that hasn’t been created before, special just for you and your Fiancé!

***Side note, this goes for coordinators and photographers creating styled shoots as well. We love to see your inspiration for the invitation suite and photoshoot but please don’t ask us to make an exact replica of an invitation suite you found on Pinterest.

Tune in Next week for another installment of “Working with a Calligrapher” ;)