Wedding to-do lists always include a line item about selecting and ordering invitations, but the timing doesn't always take calligraphy into consideration. Since there aren't an abundance of calligraphers in the world, and because those who create beautiful hand lettering often book up very far in advance, it's important to factor envelope addressing into your overall timeline if this is important to you. Here are a few things you should know to ensure you'll have ample time to have your invitations calligraphed. And, in the event that you don't, we outline your other options.
When you start planning your wedding, it's unlikely that booking a calligrapher will be the first thing on your priority list. However, Ceci Johnson, founder and creative director of Ceci New York, says, "Invitations should really be ordered and the process started once you reserve your wedding date." She says, "Typically, a good invitation designer will handle the calligraphy and make sure you're taken care of in terms of scheduling. However, it's always recommended to reserve as soon as possible."
Most calligraphers only take a limited number of projects each year, so they tend to book up very far in advance. They may take up to three or four weeks per wedding just to address the envelopes. That means even if you're nowhere near ready to start working on the design of your invitations, you may want to consider putting down a deposit with a calligrapher so you know you have someone on hold when the time comes.
Though many calligraphers will be willing to accommodate last-minute requests when a rush fee will be paid, Johnson says, "It's really best to request availability as soon as possible." This prevents big disappointments when your invitations are ready but there's not a calligrapher to be found during peak wedding season.
If you're down to the wire with timing and calligraphy seems like it just isn't going to work out, Johnson recommends going with digital calligraphy, hand delivery, or mailing labels. She says, "Digital calligraphy is aesthetically beautiful, but less expensive and typically turned around a little faster because it's done by machine instead of a human physically handwriting each letter."