Pricing for bespoke calligraphy and wedding stationery – how it works

I once worked with a wedding stationery designer who charges her clients £60 per hour for her services.

She was, as her price tag suggests, something of a diva. (I’ve never seen such an impressive tantrum about couriers!)

She is also the perfect example of how shockingly ‘high end’ wedding stationery can be priced. It’s NOT how I price my calligraphy services.

We were chalk and cheese (let’s say I’m the chalk!) – I consider myself an artisan, a craftsperson, an independent designer, a skilled maker. I work with my hands: my prices are more in line with what a stonemason or carpenter might charge for their craft.

My stationery designer friend, on the other hand, saw herself as the new Vivienne Westwood, and priced accordingly.

Photography by Oobaloos

Affordable personalised invites from £2

Calligraphy can be affordable or expensive, depending what you choose to have for your wedding. My printed ‘off the shelf’ invitations cost around £2.  I use a specialist printer to ensure quick turnaround and quality; once the design is complete, this is much less labour intensive for me, and costs you less than handwritten calligraphy.

Actual calligraphy work costs more per item because it takes time to produce. An invitation can take anything from twenty minutes to an hour to write, and so I charge accordingly for my time and for paper stocks, inks and ribbons.

Photography by Kathryn Hopkins

How I set prices for bespoke calligraphy design

If a handwritten calligraphy invitation costs £6 or more, it’s because it’s carefully and lovingly created. If I write two invitations per hour, and deduct the price for my paper and ink, I make £10 per hour… and it’s impossible to write by hand constantly for 7 hours a day so my ‘writing’ earnings tend to be around £50 – £60 per day’s work.

How does that compare to your salary?

Bespoke calligraphy wedding invitations are priced by the word because longer wordings take longer to write.

Prices start from £6 per handwritten invitation.

The average price is £7 per invitation.

Traditional wordings (“Mr & Mrs X request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter…. followed by dinner and dancing… RSVP address…”) can cost around £9 per invitation.

If you include your venue’s full address and post code, both sets of parents’ details, a full RSVP address and postcode as well as multiple middle names it can be more expensive.

The trick is to keep calligraphy wordings short and provide as much information as you can on your personal wedding website.

By keeping calligraphy word counts in check, you can have beautiful, handwritten calligraphy invitations on cotton rag papers for substantially less than you’d pay for letterpress printing.

Photography by Kathryn Hopkins

Bespoke calligraphy – a beautiful investment

Handwritten invitations are a wonderful keepsake for your guests; even more so if they’re personalised.

Calligraphy envelopes will be kept for weeks, months, years.

That personal touch is a rare treat nowadays – so it’s more than worth the investment.

Your wedding invitations aren’t really for you: they’re for the people you love so much you want them to share your day. Spending a little more than £5 on each of those people – only if you can afford to – is a wonderful, meaningful gesture.

calligraphy place names uk cheap

Optional extras or a surprisingly cheap alternative to calligraphy invitations

Place names are the most affordable little treat of all. Prices start from 50p for a simple, sweet, elegant handwritten place name card.

If your wedding budget won’t allow for handwritten invitations, save the calligraphy for the big day and hire me to write you some beautiful place names – they make equally beautiful keepsakes for your guests to treasure.