May 4, 2021
If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to imagine that you value the hand written sentimental touch that only calligraphy wedding decor can provide. And if so, then you’re definitely in the right place! I absolutely love connecting with my clients over the love of calligraphy. It feels so personal to me. How do you budget for something like calligraphy, though? When planning your wedding, you may not know how much calligraphy services cost…and why should you if you’ve never gotten married before?! Not to mention, it can be really confusing when calligraphers have a wide range of pricing and offerings. But don’t worry! In this post, I’m going to break down the average calligraphy investment for both signage and stationery, where to splurge and where to save, and what to look for when hiring a calligrapher for your wedding! (If you’re wondering what working together would look like, make sure to check out our last blog post here. I breakdown everything you can expect, from complimentary consultation to your wedding day. When you’re ready to get started, you can contact me here. I would be thrilled to write pretty for you!)
You won’t find calligraphy on one of those online wedding budget calculators! But I find that my couples spend an average of 3-5% of their total wedding budget on calligraphy items. What that means is, if your wedding budget is $80,000, you can expect to budget between $2,400-$4,000 on calligraphy. That being said, there is a reason most wedding professionals don’t recommend basing your budget on those online calculators…
Although this gives you a good starting point, you should always base your wedding budget on what’s most important to you! If guest experience is of the highest importance, consider calligraphy invitations, escort cards and custom wedding signage. If you are focused on the party, consider a custom cocktail menu and a fun seating chart display.
For day-of signage, your investment will typically start at $750+. (Wondering what kinds of signs to have at your wedding? Check out this signage guide!) If you’re dreaming of custom calligraphy throughout your wedding (from a ceremony welcome sign, seating chart, table numbers, and bar signs, for example), the average investment sits at about $3000. Everything is custom to quote because each wedding is truly unique (and hand written!). That being said, there are always places to save and places to splurge if you are on a budget!
If you’re wondering what pieces will make the most impact (and therefore give you the best bang for your buck!), I recommend Seating Charts, Custom Drink Signs / Bar Signs, and Welcome Signs. All of these are showstoppers and are placed in areas where all your guests will get a chance to see them! They’re also super functional – a seating chart lets your guests know where they’re sitting, a bar sign tells them what drinks are available and a welcome sign lets them know that they’re in the right place! On top of that, these pieces can also be repurposed after your wedding (check out this post where I talk more about repurposing!).
Not everything needs to be custom! When you are looking to save money (without feeling like you are sacrificing the beautiful touches you love), I always recommend renting what you can! I offer some signage and table numbers for all of my custom calligraphy clients. I also recommend renting frames and mirrors, instead of buying everything new or using one-time use materials like acrylic. You can also see what you can find at thrift shops or in buy and sell Facebook groups. When it comes to “what” we are writing on, there is lots of opportunity to save!
For your fully custom wedding invitations, you can expect to budget a minimum of $3000 for a 4 piece suite (100 invitations). For couples I work with, the average investment is about $4500 once everything is said and done. I’ve always loved the idea of splurging on beautiful stationery as it truly is your guests first impression of your wedding day. More than that, who doesn’t feel pure joy getting a beautiful envelope addressed to them in the mail?
If you can’t afford a fully custom suite, I recommend finding room in your budget for envelope calligraphy. The envelope is the FIRST thing your guests are going to receive and see from your invitations. Wow them with beautifully hand-addressed envelopes that stand out from the bills and whatever other boring mail is hitting their mailbox!
If you love the look of custom stationery, but don’t have the budget to go fully custom, I recommend purchasing a semi-custom suite from a stationer and then hiring a calligrapher for spot calligraphy. Spot calligraphy is when certain words are written in calligraphy on your invitation (like names, location or date). This will give your invitations a more unique, one of a kind look that feels extremely personal and special for your guests at a fraction of the cost.
Wedding calligraphy is an investment, so it goes without saying that you don’t want just anyone to write pretty for you. Calligraphy isn’t something you can really compare because each person will have their own unique process and style. It’s not as easy (or shouldn’t be!) as inquiring with multiple vendors and booking the cheapest one. That thought gives me shivers!
Here are a few things I recommend keeping in mind when booking a consultation with a wedding calligrapher:
First, make sure you like the calligrapher’s style. Their writing is going to be on display throughout your wedding, in your stationery, and ultimately in your photos, so you want to make sure that you like the end result!
Understand your calligrapher’s skill level & expertise. For example, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who knows what markers to use on your seating chart mirror so that it lasts for your entire wedding, but can still be removed if you want to repurpose your mirror as home decor later!
Get a feel for your calligrapher’s knowledge of the wedding industry. Is the calligrapher familiar with what items are needed at weddings to provide a seamless experience for your guests? Are they knowledgeable on stationery wording, how to format seating charts, etc.?
Is your calligrapher available to answer your questions and give support and guidance when it comes to your stationery and signage? Don’t forget – you’ve probably never gotten married before and planned a wedding, so having a helping hand to navigate your stationery and decor is usually appreciated!
Is your calligrapher offering pieces that are handmade or printed? Handmade items come with a higher price point, but you’re getting something that’s truly one of a kind!
Does your calligrapher have a minimum budget they work with? At Write Pretty for Me, I have a $1950 minimum investment for wedding calligraphy. The reason I do this is so that I am able to give more focus to each couple and provide the best possible customer service and end product. After all, customization and personalization are CLEARLY important to me. I want to make sure that comes through in my delivery just as it does in the final product!
The last thought I want to leave you with when preparing your calligraphy budget, is what you are actually paying for. There is so much more that goes into your wedding day calligraphy than just the cost of materials. Your investment needs to pay for your calligrapher’s experience (and expertise), the quality of their work and materials and the time that goes into your customer experience. Trust me, customer experience is part of the joy of custom calligraphy! For more information on what it’s like to work with me, head to this post here. Or, if you already know I am the right wedding calligrapher for you, let’s book your complimentary consultation by clicking the button below!