When I got married, (before I was a calligrapher) I made a mistake that would make my fellow calligrafriends cringe. When it came to methods of envelope addressing, I knew very little. As a bride, I knew I wanted beautiful, custom designed invitations. I cared about the invites, because we always hear, the invitation is the first impression, but in fact, it starts with the envelope. I sent out beautiful vintage inspired invites, in lovely, teal stardream envelopes with… wait for it… a printed avery label stuck on to the front in arial font. Cue puking. You guys…I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, and now, I want to share 3 ways you can address your beautiful wedding envelopes so they make the best first impression upon your guests!
Envelope Calligraphy Addressing | Budget $$$ | $3-$7 for outer envelopes
Calligraphy is an art form that immediately elevates an invitation suite and delights your guests as soon as they see it in the mailbox! Calligraphy is considered a luxury service because each envelope is addressed by hand in a beautiful script. Think of it as giving each of your guests a mini work of art!
Professional calligraphers are trained to scribe in a signature style and possibly, several styles. They also know proper etiquette for addressing your guests. If you are having a formal or semi-formal wedding, hiring a calligrapher is highly recommended. Your calligrapher may also proof your guest list prior to proceeding with your envelopes. There is a high level of customization that can be selected from script style to metallic ink. You can select options that best complement your invitations. No computer generated font can replicate the beauty of the calligrapher’s hand which is what makes it so lovely!
Book your calligrapher 2-3 months prior to your invitation mail date. Some calligraphers are booked even further in advance, so as soon as you secure your stationer, inquire about a calligrapher to reserve your place in their design calendar. Almost all calligraphers will charge a rush fee (the average, an additional 40% of the job total) for jobs completed within 1-2 weeks. To avoid the rush fee, book early!
Digital Envelope Addressing | Budget $$ | $1-$2 for Digital Printing of Addresses
Digital printing is an economical way to address your envelopes. Work with your stationer to select a font that complements your invitation suite. Your stationer and/or printer will take your guest list (which is most likely in an excel file) and merge that into a file where they can print your addresses. It is very important to ensure that your guest list has been proofed and that the address has been typed exactly as it should be in the appropriate cell in excel. (You can use my sheet to create your guest list.) Some stationers/printers may proof your guest list and some may not.
The nice thing about digital printing is that it is very affordable and looks nice. You can customize your ink colors and even have white ink printed on dark envelopes. If calligraphy is not in the budget, this is a great alternative to address your envelopes!
Handwritten Addressing | Budget $ or Free
If you or someone you know has really lovely handwriting, and calligraphy or digital printing is not in your budget, consider handwriting the guest addresses. Cursive handwriting can look lovely on envelopes and add a personal touch! Enlist the help of family or friends to help address your envelopes.
Your return address can be done in calligraphy, but in my experience as a stationer, I typically do one of two things.
1. I use two fonts and design the return address, and print it on the back flap of every envelope.
2. For more formal weddings, I calligraph the return address, digitize my calligraphy in photoshop, and then use that address file to print the calligraphed return address on each envelope. The return address can also be letterpressed if the client chooses that as their printing option.
Very rarely am I asked to calligraph the return address on the back of every envelope.
Those are my top 3 ways to address your wedding envelopes! I hope this helps you understand the addressing options available to you so you don’t have to use avery labels on your pretty invitation envelopes! Happy addressing!
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