Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride

How to choose a calligrapher

CalligraphyMadeline KellyComment

Hi there, and thanks for visiting my blog! I have a bit of a sore throat I am fighting off and I am so excited to write this post while sipping tea and resting up! Anyone else out there fighting off a Fall bug? Anywho, let's skip the details of being sick & get on to the good, pretty, and practical stuff that you came here for.

When considering hiring a calligrapher you need to start by asking yourself a few things:

  • How personalized do you want your invitations/wedding to be?

I have seen invitations that are each hand calligraphed ($$$!) - which is doable but very pricey. You can have similar results with a calligrapher that can write out you invitation once & with master computer skills turn it into a file that can easily be printed, or even letterpressed and have a very similar look.

Custom illustration can also be included in your wedding invitations. I have illustrated maps of the event area, buildings in which the wedding was taking place, and even branches of foliage to adorn the invitation. Below is an example of wedding stationery that included watercolor florals pulled from the location of the wedding as well as a watercolor illustration of the famously colored buildings of Positano! This couple had a destination wedding in the gorgeous Positano, Italy and we created customized invitations to get their guests excited for what to expect at the wedding.

There are also endless colors of inks that can be mixed to your invitation desires, vintage postage stamps to adorn the outside of your envelopes, wax seals, gold foil... I could go on and on! All these details can come together to give your invitations a sneak peak into what your big day will be like and your guests will be thrilled to receive such a beautiful letter in the mail (isn't it such a joy when you receive gorgeous mail?!).

On the other hand, some people are fine with going into sites such as www.weddingpaperdivas.com or www.paperlesspost.com and plugging in their event details, choosing fonts, and clicking order! That is a great option for people who know what they want, like to control the look and details themselves, and like the simplicity of the online ordering these websites offer.

  • I really want custom invitations but my timeline is short…what do I do?

The calligraphers you follow on Instagram (and drool over each and every one of their photos) are likely booked for the next 6 months! 

If you are desiring a calligrapher to design custom save the dates, invitations, escort cards, signage and everything else you can dream of I recommend reaching out to them a couple weeks after you get engaged (enjoy it and don't get stressed at the beginning of your engagement!). They will be excited to walk alongside you during your preparations and work together with you and your vendors to come up with gorgeous paper goods to match your vision and give your guests the first look at what to expect when they receive a beautiful calligraphed save the date!

Calligraphed envelopes typically take 2 weeks for a calligrapher to finish (for 100 envelopes). This turnaround is only if they are available to start your job the day you put your order in so make sure and reach out to them in advance and secure a spot on their calendar.


  • How much do customized wedding invitations cost and what are you willing to splurge on?

Do you value saving on your invitations so that you can spend a little more on your honeymoon or save for your first home? Good for you! That is a great thing to value and if you can't find a calligrapher within your budget, trust me there are ways to work around it! I would encourage you to still reach out to the calligrapher you are interested in hiring and see if the can be flexible on pricing or see if there is a way for them to cut costs. Maybe they can send you a digital file that you can then print at home or they could design something more simple, yet elegant, for your event.

Do you value small business and want to see creatives thrive? So many of us follow people on Instagram or pin their photos to our overpacked Pinterest boards (guilty!) yet never spend a penny on their work. One thing I did growing up was every time I received cash in a card (my grandma never failed to put $20 in my Christmas card each year accompanied by a ceramic animal...) I would turn it around and buy myself a piece of art on Etsy. A great way to not have that Christmas money disappear into your bank account but rather be converted into something you can see and be inspired by every day. Also, a great way to make someone's dream a reality: the creative entrepreneur! 

When it comes to calligraphy and you are shopping at the big name brands - ask yourself, "Would I rather spend $_____ to these big names who I won't get to know personally or would I rather take a little more time and shop around for a small shop where I would spend the same amount? The convenience of a big name invitation company lacks a personal touch, interaction with a designer, and the feeling that you supported a new business!

  • How much do you want to spend on your wedding stationery?

This is a tough subject! For one, it is so hard to know what something will cost you because there are so many variables when it comes to stationery! Most of the time a calligrapher doing hand-made, custom work will be more expensive than simply having someone throw together fonts that look nice together. But this doesn't always have to be the case! 

At times I will cross an invitation design that I know was made purely with fonts and it saddens me that so many people fall into the trap of paying big money for this. There are so many great artists out there and if there is an invitation you love but want to support a small business, send a photo of the work to them and see if they can do anything similar. 

Also, while custom may be more costly remind yourself of the impact of thoughtfulness your event paper will make on your guests. There is no feeling like receiving a beautiful envelope in your mailbox, nothing like the feel of letterpressed, cotton paper, and something they will look at often as they look forward to your special day. 

  • Ask yourself if a semi-custom suite could fit your stationery needs!

Semi-custom wedding invitations can help you save some money but still be personalized in special ways! You can see my semi-custom line here. Since these are pre-designed, there isn’t the custom design fee added to the cost and you are still able to choose the color they are printed in and envelope color!

From there you can add personalized details like envelope addressing, vintage postage, ribbon, etc.

 Our  Olive Suite  printed in a warm gray ink

Our Olive Suite printed in a warm gray ink

Here at Golden Hour Paper I desire to serve my clients in all of their wedding/event needs! With custom calligraphy and illustration to match the feel of an event while using the highest quality papers, inks, and tools we promise to make your dreams a reality and make you happy that you chose a calligrapher.

If you have any questions about hiring a calligrapher send me a comment below! I would love to hear from you.

Maddy