Calligraphy for Weddings

Today we introduce Claire Gould, calligrapher and wedding blogger, who gives us an insight into using calligraphy for weddings…….


History of Calligraphy

Calligraphers throughout history have been variously criticised for overly flowery and ridiculously flourished scripts, and enjoyed a reputation as drunkards. This is no longer true: a new breed of calligrapher is thriving in the UK and across the pond, with eclectic, quirky and elegant scripts taking centre stage on wedding and lifestyle blogs like Oh So Beautiful Paper and Martha Stewart Weddings.

Calligraphy began as a necessity: before printing was invented we all wrote by hand. Scribes were admired (when sober, I suppose!) and highly paid. As printing took over, calligraphers turned their attention to lettering as an art form, and now calligraphy has become something special, to be used for special occasions and events – and is loved as much today at wedding receptions and on Pinterest as it was centuries ago in the most expensive bibles!

How planners can work with a calligrapher

There are a handful of great wedding calligraphers in the UK, and most have good websites showcasing their work which they will ship anywhere in the country. Finding a calligrapher in your local area might be difficult, but looking further afield and having calligraphy to show your brides and grooms will set you apart from the crowd.

Wedding calligraphy can often be a last minute service, and calligraphers will therefore have late availability throughout the year. Ordering is easy – choosing a style and emailing a guest list takes minutes. Prices are more affordable than you might think too: from less than a pound for a calligraphied wedding place name.

Styling tips & budgets

Providing a calligraphy service for your couples doesn’t have to be straight-laced place name calligraphy. If you work with a calligrapher you can offer your brides and grooms the whole shebang: escort cards and seating plans, place names, tags, personalised signs, table name cards… oh, and let’s not forget wedding invitation calligraphy and envelope addressing!

For couples on a budget, incorporating calligraphy can be done cheaply. A personalised wedding sign in a prominent place (by the wedding cake; at the entrance to the wedding breakfast room) can cost under £20. 100 place names will cost about £100; escort cards as an affordable alternative to a seating plan are only a little more – about £150 for 100 – and they are great fun for wedding planners to incorporate into a visually exciting display!

DIY calligraphy

Writing names beautifully on wedding place settings is often part of a wedding planner’s role, and you may have been tempted to pick up a calligraphy pen and have a go yourself. Which is fab!

Here’s the secret though – those chisel tip pens you get in calligraphy kits at craft stores are a nightmare. You’ll end up with calligraphy to suit a mediaeval style wedding rather than a contemporary celebration. Often it’s better to just buy a fountain pen and complete place names in your own handwriting. If your writing is nice – girly swoops and clear letters are best! – then go for it, relax and remember calligraphy is simply “beautiful writing”.

If you’d like to learn a little calligraphy then you should try a dip pen with a pointed nib. These don’t cost very much – you can get all you need from Blots Pens for around £10 and there are lessons online at Iampeth to help you get started. A few hours writing the letters l, m and o will help your handwriting no end! Remember handwriting lessons at school? Calligraphers start the same way. Don’t be afraid to have a go, but remember the secret is a dip pen and a pointed nib (try a Gillot 404 – and buy a few to practice with).

To see calligraphy examples online please visit Calligraphy For Weddings – I specialise in pointed pen scripts and hope some of my lettering will inspire you! If you’d like some calligraphy samples to show your brides and grooms, then please email me: and I’ll be happy to send free samples for your wedding planner portfolio too!

Claire Gould (calligrapher and wedding blogger)

1 Comment

  1. Julie Boyd on 26th November 2012 at 10:51 am

    Have seen Claire’s work it’s beautiful. I have had a go at calligraphy. It’s not so easy. Hire a proffesional it’s work every penny.

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