guest blogger: swallowtail calligraphy

We love anything calligraphed. Invitation envelopes, seating charts, escort cards, burlap table runners, favors, programs. You name it, we think it looks better with stunning hand-written calligraphy. We connected with Ohio-based Swallowtail Calligraphy and asked for her thoughts on how beautiful calligraphy can help set the tone for your event. Enjoy! xo, B & C

My doodles have always been of letters, names, numbers, and fantastic words. I rarely drew flowers, animals and hearts, but always focused on loops and words and shapes. As an adult this translated into starting a calligraphy business. Hi, I’m Tara, and I’m addicted to pens and paper.

I’m a nearly 30-year old, wife of Scott for almost 5 years, mother of 2 year old twins, transplanted Southerner. I love playing with my girls, decorating my house and weddings. Weddings are always joyful – even when things don’t go exactly right (and they so rarely do!). Weddings are about people coming together for something beautiful – a couple’s love and commitment to each other. But my main focus is calligraphy and how to use calligraphy styles, called “hands”, to make every detail of a wedding perfect. Just over a year ago, I started my own business, Swallowtail Calligraphy, to combine my loves of writing and weddings. My favorite thing is to create custom hands for a bride that is perfectly her and fits the tone and style of the entire day.

There are so many details that go into planning a wedding. What kind of guest book will you use? What about favors? Which nail polish color will be the most perfect? Something that tends to get lost in the shuffle, that can make a world of difference in creating a cohesive event that is perfectly you, is type styles. Words and how they are presented play a major part in setting the tone and creating a “brand” for your wedding. From save the dates and invitations to programs and escort, cards, having a consistent hand throughout the event can give your wedding an extra layer of detail that will have your guests talking for months to come!

Why would hiring a calligrapher be a good idea for you? There are many reasons, but my top two are:

  1. Like I said above, it’s totally personal. A good calligrapher can use a hand to further enhance your chosen theme. The second section of this post will talk more about how calligraphy can do that, but branding your wedding with a consistent writing style takes the little details of your day to a whole new level.
  2. It will lighten your stress load. This is such a big one, ladies! There is no need for you to worry about the hours of hand cramps in hand addressing your envelopes! Spend some time finalizing your guest list. Triple check for spelling, and then hand it over, taking something off your plate for what usually turns out to be a great price. Calligraphy is sophisticated and luxurious, but by finding someone local or by researching your options online, it can be surprisingly affordable when taking into account the time you would put into writing them yourself or dealing with a printer at home. I offer rubber stamps for your return address (which can even be used after the wedding!) and custom monograms so you can personalize programs, menus, favors–any day-of papers– and even the invitation suite for a fraction of the cost to have everything custom printed.

So you’re convinced now, right? You absolutely want a calligrapher, and you’ve found someone you like, but you’re not really sure which direction to go in. This is where you really think about the tone and style of your wedding and how that can translate into a script. Here are some ideas of general styles and some calligraphy style features that can help enhance your day.

If your wedding is:

A traditional, formal affair: Go for a traditional font like Copperplate or Engrosser’s Script, but add some personal flourishes. For my cousin Celia’s wedding, we started with Engrosser’s Script then added a little “sparkle” with simple loops on the tops of ascending letters and the bottoms of descenders.

final invite suite

A casual garden party: Try an all lowercase hand, or letters without any hooks or loops on the ascenders or descenders. If you still like a more formal font, think of using more muted ink colors such as browns and navy, which will keep things classic, but help tone down the formality.

white on kraft

Modern & sleek: Modern calligraphy is all about toying with spacing and lay out and keeping lines simple. So consider letting the names of your guests stretch across the entire envelope, but using a printed script for the actual addresses.

Hazel Wonderland

Glam & dramatic: Think big, sweeping letters on an exaggerated slant. And I’d add a great flourish to everything. Everything. Mixing colors could add interest, too, with black and white for most of the letters, and adding in your accent color for flourishing or your return address.

dramatic by jazyrain

Vintage: Simple loops and curls with just a touch of flourishing on important letters.

the vintage inkwell

Those are just a few ideas for some popular wedding types – but the great thing about calligraphy is that your writing can be completely tailored to you and your wedding.

Best wishes to you all!


Photo credit (from top to bottom): Love Jenna Calligraphy, Swallowtail Calligraphy, Neither Snow, Hazel Wonderland, Jazyrain Design, The Vintage Inkwell


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