When it comes to choosing your wedding invitations, one of the key elements is deciding on a font. While the way in which your wording is displayed might not seem like a big deal, stationery experts agree that the font you choose sets the tone for what your big day is going to look and feel like for your guests. The good news: You don't have to know anything about fonts to land on the right one, according to Cheree Berry of Cheree Berry Paper. "When clients tell us, 'I want an invite that feels formal but my wedding is not black-tie,' 'I want something more modern,' or 'I want an invite that screams we're going to dance all night with our shoes off,' that helps us find the perfect font for their invitation," she says.
Marlie Vodofsky, owner and creative director of Marlie Renee Designs, agrees that the couple doesn't need to have a working knowledge of typography to make the right decision. In fact, when she first meets with couples, she says she provides them with what she likes to call a "font cheat sheet" that lists out different fonts—both scripts and prints—broken out into three buckets: traditional, modern, and stylistic. "Once I see what group of fonts my couple likes best, I then determine the best font to use based on how their names look, and then pick a secondary font that complements it," she says. "Each font has its own unique distinctions from how the letters connect and to flourishes."
Jackie Mangiolino, Long Island-based stationer behind Sincerely, Jackie, urges couples not to confuse their personal style, or what's on-trend, with the actual style of their wedding day. "I have so many couples that come to me and tell me they are really casual in their day-to-day lives, so they naturally gravitate towards more casual font styles—maybe something all lowercase," she says. "However, if they're having a traditional church ceremony followed by a formal country-club reception, they need their invitations to be formal enough to match their wedding day."
About 80-90 percent of wedding invitations use a script font for at least a portion of their wording, Berry says. "Script means the letters are connected, like cursive, and it says to the sender, 'I'm not junk mail—I'm special!'" she says. "Some scripts feel more black-tie while other scripts feel modern, casual, retro, handsome, and so forth—but you can still have an all-script invitation even if you're getting married in a lush garden." There are also other design elements you'll want to consider, such as swashing, which Berry describes as exaggerated script letters with big loops and typographic flourishes. "It's decadent and perfect for many weddings, since you can go super swashy for a formal invite or just put your and your partner's name in a swashy script and then have the rest of the wedding details in a block font," she says. "One reason I love it is that we can give the first and last letters of your name extra flair because they have more breathing room."
You'll also want to consider whether or not to work with a calligrapher, or a person who handwrites the invitation details before they're letterpressed and engraved onto the paper. Although this option adds to the cost, it can also make your invitations feel more upscale and dramatic. "If you get a beautiful script invitation in the mail, a good way to tell whether or not it was done by hand is to pick a letter, like all of the lowercases 's' or 'r', and compare them," says Berry. "If they each look slightly different it was most likely done by hand."