The Icing on Top of a Delicious Invitation: Calligraphy

While we’re on the subject of invitations, I thought I’d bring up another related subject: Calligraphy. It’s one of those little details that absolutely no one else notices, and yet, as a bride, it’s one of those details that we just drool over.

Image via Elizabeth Anne Designs / Calligraphy by Jenna Hein

I love swirly, whimsical calligraphy. You know, the one with way too many swirls and swashes.

Image and Calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy

It’s something completely extraneous, hard to justify having, and yet I really, really, really want it. It’s one of those small details that I feel would really complete the picture of our incredibly awesome invitations, or at least how I justify them in my head. (Considering our invitations are still currently a concept, it will be a bit before we see it all come together…) Calligraphy is one of those skills that I have always dreamed of learning. To me, it’s the ultimate love song to beautiful paper.

What better time to learn calligraphy than when you’re doing your wedding invitations?

I’m sure you’ve all have noticed by now, but I have a problem where I tend to over complicate things. I have a tendency to go way, way, way into things, even when it’s not necessary. I am an engineer and scientist by training. Thus, not only do I have to learn exactly how all of the pieces fit together, but if someone can do it, I have to figure out how to do it or my brain doesn’t let me stop thinking about it.

From a Walter Foster Calligraphy Kit

When I saw this book on my sister’s desk, I knew I had to try it for myself (Thanks sis!). I also went out and bought a calligraphy marker. I had heard recommendations from the hive to just skip the actual ink and use the markers which is so much easier. Unfortunately I discovered pretty early on though that the book that I stole from my dear sister only goes into the very basics of very simple calligraphy forms, ones that are more blockish in form. I discovered that that I was really interested in was actually copperplate calligraphy and it would involve a whole different set of skills, tools, and practice. *sigh*

Source: Calligraphy Skills

Oh, but isn’t it so pretty? Totally worth it. However, I didn’t realize at the time of deciding to do calligraphy is that it’s quite a learning process to begin obtaining the skills to do beautiful writing, especially if your handwriting usually looks more like chicken scratch, than actual writing. It’s so weird having to break apart your letters in admittedly very unnatural ways.

I haven’t completely decided that I want to do calligraphy from scratch. I might ultimately do the faux-calligraphy method that has been discussed multiple times on the hive. It does seem like a way easier method of getting it close. But for now, I have the determination to learn actual calligraphy, so I think I am going to try.

Did anyone else try to develop a new skill for their wedding only to discover that there is a whole wealth of information and techniques to learn?


Mrs. Panda

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
June 2013
Where Shall the Whales Honeymoon?
Tips for Travelers: Budgets, Bookings, and Free Wi-Fi
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  1. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:42 am

    I learnt calligraphy! It’s way once you have the right kind of pen. You’ll develop your feel for the letters and just go.

    Ps: LOVE Jenna hein calligraphy. She’s my favorite calligrapher in the blogosphere. Havent seen much from her lately though.

  2. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 6:47 am

    oh my…. props to you. I MAY faux-calligraphy. But more than likely just print on them. bad bride… bad bride…

  3. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 6:49 am

    Although I had professional calligraphy for our wedding invites (I won a give away), I did my thank you notes etc by myself. I have good handwriting, so it was an easy step to make it more calligraphy-like.
    And I second Mrs. Eagle – the pen/nib makes ALL the difference.

  4. Member
    Red Poppy 31 posts, Newbee @ 6:50 am

    Like you, I’m big on calligraphy and letterpress. I attempted (for about 2 minutes) to learn to do my own for my wedding earlier this year, but knew it would have been too great an undertaking so I had a professional do it!

  5. Member
    kbiceling 298 posts, Helper bee @ 7:23 am

    I was going to use the print and trace method but I ultimately didn’t like how my practices looked. I’ve been working on our save the dates and I’ve been using this method: or here

    I’ve been using my normal cursive handwriting on everything except the first letter of each word (which I’ve been using fun lettering and flourishes on). The people who have seen it can’t believe I’ve done it by hand on my own!

  6. Member
    Almost Mrs.P 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:25 am

    I loooove calligraphy and tried to learn it when I was 14 or something… I remember really struggling with the pens and ink. The markers sound awesome! Though I think the faux-ligraphy might be even more awesome…

  7. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:19 am

    I love the way calligraphy looks, but it seems like a lot of skill is required, so a lot of practice. Good luck!

  8. genie Member
    genie 723 posts, Busy bee @ 9:37 am

    I really like handwriting things, so I did my own calligraphy. It wasn’t perfect, but a lot of our guests were impressed, nonetheless.

  9. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:37 pm

    I thought about doing my own calligraphy for about .02 seconds, and then I realized it would really, really stress me out. Labels ftw!

  10. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 2:14 pm

    i thought about (slash am thinking) about learning it too. i’m sort of opposite in that i actually like my handwriting and can do some nice flourishes and stuff by itself…but for me, i knew id be crazypants if one envelope was better than the other. i know its silly, but uniformity was really important to me, which is why i decided to print. if you cant calligraphy, find a font you’re obsessed with and it can look super sharp!

  11. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 5:07 pm

    I would totally be one of those people to do the same thing..learn and do it myself so I can be happy and have what I want. :)

  12. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:58 pm

    @Mrs. Eagle: @Mrs. Bracelet: have a recommendation for a pen/nib? btw, your calligraphy looks *amazing* I hope mine end up half as pretty
    @bluebelle23: Yeah… my concern is when I finally get around to putting the invitations together, I might just say f it and print them out.
    @Red Poppy: It definitely is a big undertaking. I’m hoping that it won’t be too bad if I only have 30-40 actual invites to do.
    @Almost Mrs.P: the pens and ink are really not very self explanatory that’s for sure.
    @Miss Toadstool: yeah… remind me why I do these things to myself again?
    @Mrs. Genie: your calligraphy was definitely one of the reasons I decided to try it myself. Of course, you started out with gorgeous handwriting =P
    @Mrs. Pony: labels are kind of amazing actually. They look so pretty too… maybe when I fail, I’ll go to labels
    @Miss Gray Wolf: aah! something I didn’t take into account! I hope that uniformity is something that doesn’t bother me… we’ll see! The font idea sounds good though
    @ChicagoDreamer: I completely understand where you’re coming from. I love doing things myself because frankly I just want it exactly the way I want it

  13. Member
    kbiceling 298 posts, Helper bee @ 11:12 pm

    I was going to use the print and trace method but I ultimately didn’t like how my practices looked. I’ve been working on our save the dates and I’ve been using a method I found on Wedding Chicks “How to Fake Calligraphy.”

    I’ve been using my normal cursive handwriting on everything except the first letter of each word (which I’ve been using fun lettering and flourishes on). The people who have seen it can’t believe I’ve done it by hand on my own!

  14. Member
    kbiceling 298 posts, Helper bee @ 11:47 pm

    If you would like to see what it looks like just let me know and I’ll send you a picture! :)

  15. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:28 pm

    @kbiceling: they make it look so easy. I feel like you might need good handwriting to start out with though… I’m not completely sure how it’ll look with my chicken scratch handwriting? (remind me why I’m trying calligraphy again?)

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