17 June 2013

DIY wedding week 2013: how to address invitations in calligraphy

Believe it or not, dear readers, this week Mr. P and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary! That means it’s been a full three years since I became obsessed with wedding blogs, learned all the evening employees at Hobby Lobby by face and name, spent every evening creating some sort of wedding craft, and yes, promised to love and be true to my best friend for all the days of my life.

Way back around our first anniversary, I wrote up a post of many of my DIY projects I created for our wedding. To which I now say: HA! Like I could sum up all our wedding projects in one post! Might need to learn something about pacing, rookie blogger.

Since that post is one of the more heavily trafficked on this blog, and because I know I could totally do a better job of writing up that information, I thought I’d spend this anniversary week letting you in on some of our best wedding DIY projects! Even though I don’t have step-by-step photos (what can I say, it was pre-blog days), I still think I have some useful info! And while some topics might be rather wedding-specific, others are easily adaptable to other party-throwing situations.

Like today’s topic: our wedding invitations. Specifically, the handwritten calligraphy addresses.

We DIY’d our invitations from start to finish. I created our own custom Save-the-Date magnets, our invitations were each individually printed with my inkjet printer, I designed custom map insert to direct our guests to the wedding. After all that effort, I wanted the invitation envelopes (outer AND inner!) to be special too, done in calligraphy. Why? Because I am a southerner, and in the south, the only proper way to address wedding invitations is by hand. The fancier, the better.

Except I don’t have fancy handwriting. I barely have legible handwriting. And while I could possibly recruit some friends or relatives with nice penmanship to address our invitations (my mother and mother-in-law have quite lovely hands), I was really becoming dead-set on calligraphy for our invitations... without the price of a trained calligrapher.

So I did the next best thing: I traced it. Yes, TRACED.

And here’s how I did it!

First, I downloaded the Tagettes font. You can get it for free (for personal use) here.

It’s actually two files and, therefore, two fonts. One is very basic, and the other has more swirls and swoops (are those real calligraphy terms? I have no idea, I FAKED IT).

Then I typed all my guests’ address into a Word file with the more basic Tagettes font. If they had letters in their names that would perhaps look better if more, uh, swoopy, I switched the letters to the.... swoopier version. (Swoopier is definitely not a real term. But stay with me.)

(Completely random aside: we actually did have a wedding invitation sent to a guest in the 90210 zip code. I felt so posh, like I was mailing an invitation to Jason Priestley.)

Once I liked the look of the writing, I adjusted the document’s margins until I had a file that would print out the addresses a certain distance from the bottom of the page so they’d be centered on our envelopes. That way I could trim off the edges (easy-peasy with my paper cutter), slip them into the envelope, and have the address perfectly centered for tracing.

I did figure out how to make two addresses per page, at least, but leaving the large margin at the bottom meant I didn’t have to worry about centering each one. Totally worth it!

I did the same thing for the inner envelopes with just the guests’ names, and printed out both documents... all 90 pages (YES, I recycled the paper later). Then I trimmed them with my paper cutter so they could easily fit inside the envelopes, perfectly centered for tracing.

Speaking of tracing, here’s how I did that: a lamp (with a low-wattage bulb) under our glass coffee table. Yes, it got hot.

It took a little bit of practice, but eventually I had no trouble tracing the Tagettes letters. It was as if I was teaching myself calligraphy based on muscle memory alone!

And for tracing, I did, at least, learn how to use a real calligraphy pen. My mom had a fountain calligraphy pen set from way back when, so I just needed to purchase the ink for it (shown on top). If you don’t already own a pen, you could get something like this.

There were a few mishaps and leaks, yes (thank goodness I ordered extra envelopes!). But in the end, they looked quite lovely! All eighty-plus of them. Here’s half of them, ready for mailing back in 2010:

Fortunately I took lots of photos of my hard work... I just can’t show them to you because, you know, privacy. But when it came time to mail them off, you can sure bet that we hand-cancelled them! Nothing but love for these invitations.

Did anyone but me care that our invitations were addressed by hand in calligraphy for countless hours? Probably not. But it wasn’t hard, just time-consuming. And today, I’m glad that I had beautiful calligraphy on our wedding invitations, for under ten bucks in supplies and many hours of my time!

So if you are needing some pretty lettering, print it out in a pretty font, stick a lamp under your table, and calligraphy away!


Janice said...

They were beautifully done, as were ALL the aspects of your wedding :)!

Rachel C said...

Happy Anniversary Week! I hope you and Mr. P have a wonderful week.

Thank you for pointing out that proper invitations should be hand addressed. I recently received one with address labels and NOTHING written on the inner envelope. Also, you're already my favorite blog, but you just earned extra favorite blog points for the 90210/Jason Priestley reference since it's my favorite show ever!! And finally, your envelopes look amazing. Three cheers for taking the time to do the little things right for your wedding.

Tina said...

They were so elegant-looking!
Happy Anniversary, You Two!<3

Mary Beth said...

WOW WOW WOW - I am so impressed that you put so much work into your invitations! They really did look professionally done. I'm amazed. And HAPPY anniversary!

P.S. Your blog is no longer blocked at work ... so weird.