Eight Great Calligraphy Tips

Are you finished with the guest list and ready to move on to the invitations? Two local stationers recommend getting organized first to save time later.

Most brides know—or will soon find out—that it’s the small details that can really make or break planning your wedding. Addressing envelopes and place cards might seem simple enough, but making sure you have guests’ names well organized and spelled correctly will make the process much smoother—and leave you more time to relax and enjoy your engagement! We asked two local stationers, Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller of Georgetown’s Haute Papier, for their top tips for brides ready to put pen to paper.

1. Calligraphers are busy people. If you want them to address your envelopes or place cards, remember to get them booked as soon as possible. We recommend contacting them a month before you want your paperie calligraphed. And if you haven’t seen their work before, ask if they’d be willing to send you a sample.

2. Looking at a dizzying Excel spreadsheet is quite taxing on the eyes. Prepare your list in Excel, then use Mail Merge to make it a Word document.

3. Remember to prepare your list exactly as you would like the calligrapher to write it. This means if you’d like “Apt.” written out as “Apartment,” write it out on your list. The same rule applies to “St.” and “District of Columbia.”

4. Would you like the Zip code on the same line as the city and state or underneath it? Whichever you prefer, remember to indicate it by preparing your list in that manner.

5. Think about how formal or informal you’d like your envelopes to be. If you’ll need inner and outer envelopes, be sure to include what you’d like written on the inner envelope when preparing the list. We recommend leaving one line break after the Zip-code line, then typing what you’d like on the inner envelope, then two line breaks before the next guest. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Johnson
1300 35th Street, Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia

Claire and Andrew

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Leo Walsh
611 Route 20A
Strykersville, New York

Mr. and Mrs. Walsh

6. Remember to check your list twice for spelling errors and formalities before sending it off. The calligrapher won’t know you meant “Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson” if you wrote “Mr. and Mrs. Bill Johnson.”

7. Try to get everyone you’ll need on the first list. Often calligraphers charge extra fees for additions to the list or corrections after they’ve already addressed all of your paperie. This is because they often custom-mix ink to match perfectly with your invitation.

8. With that being said, always include a piece of the invitation paper so that the calligrapher can match the ink to it. We’re always amazed by their perfect color matching!