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Are Wedding Invitations Handwritten? Using Calligraphy Fonts In Your Wedding Invitation Suite.

Are wedding invitations handwritten calligraphy? I hear this question more often than you think through! To the untrained eye, it’s hard to tell what’s real calligraphy vs. a design that uses a calligraphy style font.


I'll put this out there first -wedding etiquette will tell you that your envelopes addresses should be handwritten, but I'll tell you right here - it's OK, to have your addresses printed. Not everyone has impeccable handwriting or can afford a calligrapher to do it for you. 


Today we're going to talk about calligraphy and more so, about fonts and how your wedding stationer will use calligraphy fonts to create a beautiful, unique invitation suite for you.

wedding invitation calligraphy fonts and how to use them



Calligraphers are amazing humans and that is a skill that I definitely don’t have. If you work with a calligrapher, they consider each and every letter that they draw and how each letter plays together. They balance the highs and the lows, and the flourishes. A wedding invitation that is handwritten will be 100% unique, and if you look closely you can see very small differences between the letters - usually in the height of the same letter throughout the design.



That isn’t an easy answer - it often depends on the amount of calligraphy you want on your design - just headings vs. the entire invitation. I hire calligraphers from time to time for envelope addressing, so if you want to combine calligraphy with my print designs, we can absolutely do that! 


Now, a lot of these calligraphers are also mega talented and can turn their writing into a font that other designers purchase. The cool thing about these awesome designers, is that their fonts often come with extra letters called swashes or glyphs and they can give stationers like me the ability to make some changes to letters so I can give it the look of a handwritten wedding invitation.

I’ll often have 2-3 different styles for each upper case letter and 3-10 options for those showcase letters - l, h, f, g, y - any chance to add a good flourish. In graphic design software, I’ll have a palette of these letters up and I’ll work through different options to find the right balance. Something like this:


font glyph options letter e




When I’m using a calligraphy font for a wedding design, I quite literally place each letter, one by one. I start with the most basic versions of each letter, then I start to play around. Here's the start:

wedding invitation calligraphy font


This might be perfect for Jenna and Spencer. I've have conversations with them about their font preferences, and we walk though how ‘flourishy’ they like their  calligraphy. Alllll the swirls or just clean and tidy.  They asked if I could jazz this version up a bit so we swung to the more swirly end next.

Calligraphy font with lots of flourishes


I look at the letters in your names and see where those showcase letters are. I look at the swashes I have available and see if they trail to the right or to the left - balance is key. This might be too much so we can swing somewhere to a middle ground.

wedding invitation callgiraphy


What I look for specifically is making sure that those showcase letters have flourish, but not the same flourish. Take a look at those l's. They're similar, but not identical, so this can help a font look. more like. you hired a calligrapher for your amazing wedding invitations.


 I honestly feel that this is the biggest advantage to working with a stationery designer directly.  If you’re designing online or with free fonts, you often don’t have these options. Yes, you can still have pretty fonts, but these little details are what sets your design apart from something quick and easy. 



Tagged: paper tips


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