Wedding Calligraphy

fountainn pen

There are many forms of calligraphy, offering an array of characters, colours and drawings and in its basic form calligraphy is artistic writing where letters are made in few or many strokes.  The calligraphy form which you choose for your wedding stationary can be exciting and varied, the result of which will be beautiful and elegant wording that truly personalises your wedding stationary.

Calligraphy and wedding stationary;

  • Save the Date Cards
  • Wedding Invitations
  • Readings
  • Seating Plans
  • Place Cards
  • Photo Albums
  • Scrolls
  • Favours
  • Thank you Notes

Using Calligraphy

If you are planning on using the art of calligraphy to make your own wedding stationary, some minor tips below may help you make the right choice. Remember your wedding invitation will be one of your heirloom keepsakes'.

  • 100 percent cotton or linen is the best.
  • Don't cut corners by choosing cheap papers
  • Handmade or recycled papers may cause calligraphy ink to bleed.

Calligraphy sets are widely available and you should give yourself time to practice until you are happy with what you can produce before you begin to write out your invitations and other wedding stationary.

Choosing  a Calligrapher

calligrapherIf money is no object and you are not on a tight budget and you want your stationary to have that natural look you can hire a calligrapher to write the contents. Each one will be slightly different, and because all cards will be handmade, there will be that element of the human touch.

Some hints on looking around for a calligrapher are:

  • Search around for one that suits you. Somebody who can guarantee to make them however you wish.  Yet at the same time, a person who will give you ideas and help plan either your own or one of their designs around your wedding.
  • Shop around for quotes and special offers.
  • Find out if by ordering extra early or at certainly times of the year, you can save money.
  • If purchasing from a website, read the feedback and ask to be put in touch with any previous customers if possible.
  • Ask for samples, many calligraphers are only too happy to send them.
  • Ask how long it will take from ordering to delivery.
  • Check the quality of the paper they will be using.
  • What form of delivery do they use?

Tip:  Have a calligrapher make you one wedding invitation and use this as a master copy to make further invitations.

What is Calligraphy

calligraphy greeting cardThe word Calligraphy literally means 'beautiful writing' and certainly helps in adding that elegant and sophisticated touch to your wedding stationary.   Defined by two Greek words of 'kalli' meaning beautiful and 'graphia' which refers to writing, calligraphy has been used for thousands of years with a vast array of characters that have evolved through the many centuries to the western calligraphy we recognise today.

The practice of giving an artistic form to letters and signs, calligraphy is considered a skill of turning a piece of paper or card into a truly wonderful scripted art with various strokes of the pen.

Different areas depend on which style of calligraphy is used; the many types are East Asian, Indian, Persian, Western and Islamic all derived from thousands of years ago from the Neolithic cave paintings to medieval manuscripts up to today's modern inscriptions.

Monks who were skilled in the art of calligraphy were highly regarded in the art of handwriting and were employed to use their skill from the 13th century when more literate noble people began the practise of sending out personal hand written wedding invitations.

The invention of the printing press in the mid 15th Century allowed for much faster copying, but the printing press was bulky and everyday letters were too coarse, making them practically useless for letters, formal correspondence and invitations.  The art of calligraphy flourished and the Italians invented the italic script which quickly spread throughout Europe and became very popular.

During the 17th century the advent of engraved copperplates threatened the art of calligraphers and to make matters complicated the steel pen and fountain pen replaced the flat edged pen during the 19th century.  That is until William Morris spearheaded a calligraphic revival in the mid 19th century by reintroducing the flat edge pen and re-popularising calligraphy as an art form.

Different Styles of Calligraphy

There are many different styles of calligraphy used - more so with the introduction of the computerised world. Below shows a small selection of popular calligraphy forms and fonts used:

  • fountain pen nibsCopperplate - Elaborate, romantic and graceful letters with timeless sophistication. Used in the Declaration of Independence and one of the most difficult alphabets.
  • Roman - A classic and clear round alphabet of Roman letters. One of the most recognised with two variations. Antique Roman is a stately script with each capital letter being much taller than the lowercase ones and Roman Capitals is a typeface similar but it is all in capitals.
  • Uncial or Celtic - Great for a mediaeval or Celtic wedding theme. Elegant and subtle décor and can be used to advantage in strong colours such as emerald and burgundy.
  • Italic - By far this is one of the most popular used for semi-formal ceremonies, with its simple italic letters that slant upwards and based on an oval shape.
  • Batarde or Antique - An older style developed from gothic wordings. In demand for weddings held in castles and mediaeval themes.

Despite printing presses, copperplate engravings and the modern day computer, calligraphy has survived throughout history and with the popularity of using this beautiful writing on wedding stationary, calligraphy is expected to remain one of life's finer arts for many centuries to come.

With thanks to Claire from The Wedding Calligrapher for her help with this article.