In the past few days I've heard three different people, from clients to fellow wedding workers, say in reference to calligraphy that they didn't want to spend money on what was just going to "end up in the trash."
Guys, that really bums me out. Let me explain to you why that's very backward thinking.
1. Everything is disposable.
This is the hard and fast core truth here. If you're planning your wedding you are likely getting overwhelmed with expenses, which is why you're thinking of some things you wanted at the start as too temporary to dish out the cash for. I'm not here to convince you otherwise, calligraphy is a luxury and if you can't afford it I don't want you to break the bank for my services. Heaven forbid.
But let me blow your mind. All that stuff you're getting is temporary, with the exception of these key elements: your spouse (let us pray), your rings, and the photographs and memories. Beyond that it's all window dressing. Flowers will wilt, your dress (which is likely as much as a house payment) will go in a box, the tuxes will be returned, and oh my gosh the food. The food won't last thirty minutes.
But my point is not to be a killjoy, or to diminish the importance any of these things. Quite the opposite. My point is this - don't rank the importance of expenses on how long the product will last, but rather by how much the things mean to you. If you do not care about having place cards made but come hell or high water you will have a donut tower then by all means call you local donut shop and skip the calligraphy. Choose what will make you happy, because at midnight, honey everything will turn into pumpkins.
But if I were to be called to the stand to make an argument on behalf of the defense, it would be this.
2. Calligraphy = Keepsakes
I recently went to the Thrive Blog Conference, and aside from it being a total blast (Thank you Bree and Whitney!) it was a huge eye opener for me. I'd fallen for the whole paper-goods-half-life theory and until I saw so many of these 140 bloggers in attendance happily instagramming their name-cards and until I received notes and photos from them showing me that their place cards were now happily displayed on their desks and shelves I thought all these things I was spending my days on were basically, well, going right into the trash once their jobs were done. But calligraphy is special and names are special and having a seat for someone with their name hand lettered on it will touch them.
The place card says to this person, "I want you here, right here at my party. Have a seat."
And the odds are good that they will keep their hand lettered place card, and it will remind them of you and your beautiful day. Pretty great, right? I'd say that's money well spent.
3. Memories are forever.
Calligraphy is hard work and long hours of writing writing writing. Slow, careful writing, and at two AM while you're finishing up it's often also blobbing ink and cursing yourself and starting over. So why would anyone do it for something that's just going "into the trash?" To simply make a buck? There are easier ways. To show off how much money your client has? Perish the thought.
It's for the moment.
A hand addressed envelope should never be commissioned to keep up with the Joneses or because it's "what is done" in society's upper circles. Perfection isn't the goal either, you can get that from a cold computer and printer. Perfection is overrated.
No, it's not about that. It's about tradition and etiquette and respect and the time honored tactile experience of hand lettering.
With every hand lettered name, and I mean it - with every single name, whether it be on an envelope, escort card or what have you, I wonder what the person will think when they see it. I wonder what Mr. Liam Anderson of 221 East Sycamore will think when he opens his mailbox and tucked in with the Bank of America statement and the Discount Tire coupon and all the other boring junk he gets day in and day out he sees the Crane's lettra ecru cotton envelope with his name and address calligraphed by hand in metallic gold letters and flourished with a frame of soft green leaves. Will he stop and smile on his way back to the front door, flipping it over to see who sent him such a lovely thing? Will he bring it in and give it to his wife and say, "Look at this," knowing she'll get a kick out of it, too? I like to think he might.
And surely at the end of this experience it will go into the garbage, like all things do. But what will he think when he sees it?
Professional photography by Abby Ann Photography in Houston, Texas. All calligraphy by me.
See more of this photo shoot here: http://blmommy.com/frozen-winter-tea-party-abby-ann-photography/