A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to chat with Kelly Lembke, owner of Before Noon Paperie, about what the process of working with a calligrapher looks like and what couples should know about the process.
Like selecting most vendors, you should always spend some time on the vendor’s website and Instagram page to get familiar with their style. Most well-established calligraphers will have a distinct style of lettering. Because calligraphy is a hand-done art, duplication of another artist’s lettering style can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Make sure their style matches what you are envisioning.
Kelly likes to (whenever possible) meet with couples in person for the initial consultation, so she can better get to know what the couple is looking for and more accurately create a quote for pricing. Ideally, this meeting should take place at least 3 to 4 months before you want the items. For invitations (that you typically send out 2 months before the wedding) you’ll want to begin the design process at least 6 months before your wedding, while you can cut it a little closer with day-of items. However, you are better off booking your calligrapher sooner rather than later, as schedules can fill up quickly during the busy part of wedding season.
As far as how much inspiration couples should have when meeting with a calligrapher or lettering artist, Kelly’s warns against coming in with too rigid of an idea of exactly what you want. She does not duplicate fonts or other artists lettering. She does everything by hand to create a distinct style. If you are looking for some inspiration, turn to the artist’s work so you can get inspired by a style you know he or she can create.
While lettering styles tend fairly consistent for most artists, you can certainly get creative with the material they are lettering on. Kelly works with a lot of wood and acrylics to create signs for weddings, but don’t be afraid to think about the box. She’s also created lettering on salt blocks, geodes, glass cloches, and vegetables. Adding calligraphy to a surprising element in your wedding makes for a show-stopping detail.
Creating your Items
After clients have booked Kelly, she works with them through a few rounds of proofs. Typically this proofing process happens 1 to 1.5 months before the wedding, depending on the item. While Kelly may work on other elements of your order like welcome signs earlier, items like escort and seating charts can’t be complete until two weeks before your wedding when RSVPs are finalized. And then pick-up for your wedding items will be scheduled for sometime during your wedding week.
Having a calligrapher create items for your wedding day can be an amazing detail that can make your event feel special. The biggest thing Kelly wanted to remind brides is that everything she does is done by hand. Reach out early and understand that creating these beautiful items for your wedding day is a time-consuming process!