Should You DIY Your Wedding Calligraphy?

As many of you may know, my journey with calligraphy started with my own wedding, so I know that you might be asking yourself the same question - should I do my own wedding calligraphy? For Ory and I, it was one of our favorite personal touches that made our wedding so special--but there are a lot of things to consider before you might choose to go this route. So before we ask the big question of “should I do my own wedding calligraphy,” let’s start with a few smaller ones.

How much time do you have?

Ory and I were engaged for a year and a half before we got married. That’s a lot of planning time and thanks to my 9-5 I also happen to have some event planning experience. So personally, the wedding planning process left me with quite a bit of downtime between busy seasons. Even still, planning a wedding is a lot of work. And most of us already struggle to find enough hours in the week, even when we don’t have a wedding to plan.

So you’re probably wondering, ok, Michelle, so how much time does it actually take? For a professional calligrapher, about 100 envelopes alone can take about 8-10 hours to complete. And place cards and escort cards can easily add another 2-3 more.

The idea of DIYing your wedding calligraphy might sound romantic, but just be sure you allot enough time to make it happen. If you do have the time, though, DIYing your wedding calligraphy can add a really amazing personalized touch to your big day.

2. How’s your handwriting?

Now I’m a firm believer that you can learn calligraphy even if your normal everyday handwriting is atrocious. But if you’re on a tight timeline you’re probably going to have to work with what you got, so if you don’t love your current handwriting, chances are it’s going to take a while before you love your calligraphy style. This may be an easy indicator as to whether or not you want to embrace or skip the wedding calligraphy DIY.

3. What’s your budget look like?

Here’s the thing. Calligraphy is definitely a luxury item. It’s the icing on the cake if you will. And while I’m a firm believer in the importance of details, I know that when you’re planning a wedding, you constantly have to make decisions about where to spend your dollars.

So let’s get real: for full service calligraphy, which might include envelopes, place cards, escort cards, and a sign or two, you could easily end up spending close to $1000 dollars. If you’re looking to outsource your wedding calligraphy and are concerned about your budget, I have a great post on creative ways to fit calligraphy into an already tight wedding budget

But if you have the time, you like your handwriting, and you want to add an extra personal touch to your day: the DIY route may be a great option for you! I have a free mini course to get you started that will walk you through what supplies you’ll need and how to use them and will share one of my favorite calligraphy tricks. 

So what do you think? Should you do your own wedding calligraphy?

If your answer a resounding yes or a curious maybe, I encourage you to snag the downloadable wedding calligraphy timeline below. It will share best practices from my own journey: when general wedding calligraphy should be completed, and how long it will take. And sign up for my free online getting started course for a head start on your DIY adventure!

And If you’re already completely overwhelmed just reading this, that’s okay! Snag my wedding calligraphy pricing guide here and send me an email at mabellecalligraphy@gmail.com to chat about how we might be able to share your love story through calligraphy on your big day.

A New Member of the Calligrafam

Y’all. This. Is. Huge. After 4 years of running Ma Belle on my own, I am so excited to introduce you to the FIRST and newest member of my team: EJ. Bringing EJ on board was totally a sign from the universe, and I am super pumped for y’all to meet her.

EJ was actually one of my undergraduate advisees that I met while working at UVA. We got to know each other over lattes at our favorite local coffee shop, obsessing over everything from our personal brands to Jane the Virgin. We kept in touch over the years continuing to gush over favorite TV shows, and I cheered her on through grad school applications - she’s currently a grad student at NYU. Straight out of the movies right? Needless to say, she’s pretty awesome. So, without further ado:

Let’s get to know EJ!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi y’all! My name is EJ, and I’m so excited to be joining the Ma Belle calligrafam. I’m currently a graduate student at New York University, where I’m pursuing my Master’s in Higher Education & Student Affairs. I graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2017 with a degree in English & Media Studies. Before returning to graduate school, I served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Club of New York, a non-profit dedicated to building connections between UVA alumni in New York.

What’s your passion?

Personally and professionally, my main passion has always been community building. Whether I’m hosting a Christmas dinner for my Italian family, planning a meet-up for UVA alumni in Manhattan, or (now!) connecting with the Ma Belle calligrafam through emails and blogs: I love helping to bring people together, and seeing the connections that people make :)

Where do you call home?

Originally—a small town in Virginia, where the largest intersection is a three-way stop sign and the population of cows far outnumbers the population of people. Currently—Brooklyn (which has too many stoplights and not enough cows, but still feels like home!).

What brings you joy?

Farmer’s markets. Film festivals. Independent bookstores. Italian food. Cooking. Craft fairs. Yoga. DOGS. Spending time with family and friends. Finding happiness in the little things. Exploring New York, one neighborhood at a time. And coffee. Always, always—coffee.

Why is supporting small business important?

Because it’s all about people and their passions. Small business owners are passionate about their customers and the work that they do. And customers can feel confident and comfortable knowing their interests are protected by someone who truly cares. Whether it’s in an independent bookstore or a local coffee shop or a little corner of the web passionate about calligraphy: small business is a space where people can connect stories with service.

What is your favorite item in the Ma Belle Calligraphy shop?

The “S’More Coffee Please” campfire mug! My mom is a public school teacher who loves snow days almost as much as she loves her students. I gave her this mug for Christmas one year, because her favorite snow day tradition is making homemade s’mores over the gas burner in the kitchen. I love making myself a cup of coffee in it when I visit home, and thinking about the joy of a day off from obligations.

Bonus Question: What does EJ stand for?

The million dollar question! EJ stands for EricaJoy. Which is perfect given the Ma Belle mission is to bring joy ;)


Getting Started with Modern Calligraphy: Free Online Mini Course

With the holiday season approaching, this is the perfect time to start learning those newfound calligraphy skills so you can wow your family and friends.

You can use calligraphy on so many things from holiday card envelopes to dinner party place cards, special gifts for friends. The list goes on and on.

And since you’re here, I know that you’ve been thinking about picking up this creative craft! So friend, today I’ve got something really exciting for you. A a three part online mini course that will help you get the supplies you need, teach you one of my favorite calligraphy tricks, and show you how to use these crazy looking tools. And did I mention it’s free!? Crazy right?

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Each of the lessons takes less than 10 minutes and if you can commit to just 30 minutes a week for the next few weeks to give these tips and tricks a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can get ink flowing onto the page. Then you can focus on the good stuff — developing your personal style! So what are you waiting for? Pop your name and email below to get this party started!

A Little More Joy for Your Inbox: Free Monthly Prints

One of the missions I set for myself for when I created this business of mine a few years back was to use it to spread joy.

Reflecting back on the last few years, when things got hard (especially while we were dealing with infertility treatments), spreading joy was one of the things that was most beneficial. For both others and for myself. And while I’m grateful to currently be in a peak season, I know just how quickly that can change for all of us.

Regardless of what season you’re in, I hope what I’m about to tell you will spark a little bit of joy in your heart.

So friends, today I’m excited to share yet another exciting announcement.

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Starting next month I will be launching free downloadable monthly prints - each month - on the first of the month, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to get your hands on the free quote of the month. They’ll be 5x7 prints you can use however your little heart desires. Stick it in your favorite planner. Frame it and hang it in your office. Build it into a collage. Gift it to a friend. The possibilities are truly endless.

I hope these little prints will bring your month a little extra joy and if you don’t want to miss the very first one, be sure to get on the email list for them by dropping your name and email below!

Here’s to just a little bit more joy in your inbox :) Enjoy, friend!


Cozy Campfire Fall Mug Giveaway

Happy F'all Y'all!

These cloudy, ever so slight crispier days have got me feeling like it’s time for a giveaway.

So to celebrate, I'm giving away one of my S'more Coffee Please mugs, perfect for sipping warm apple cider or hot cocoa by the fire aka so fall ready!⁠

smore coffee please fall mug giveaway

To enter, make sure sure do the following:

  1. ⁠ Hope on over to instagram and do the following:

    • Find and like my giveaway post

    • Follow @mabellecalligraphy

    • Tag a friend who you think needs this mug too!

  2. ⁠Enter your name and email address⁠ in the giveaway entry form below.

The giveaway closes on Friday, September 27th at 11:59pm EST. And the winner will be notified via email by Sunday, September 29th.⁠⁠

Time to start spreading all those fall feels!

Good luck, friend!