Super thankful for an awesome client.


Jill, mother of the bride, contacted me by email asking if I could do the place cards and a seating arrangement for her daughter’s upcoming wedding in calligraphy. She told me that Betts Printing recommended me. They’re a local print shop where I had my business cards letterpress printed. Jill and I spoke over the phone about the project and I met with her later that week to pick up the materials she chose for the event and the list of names.

The Job

87 place cards, one name each and a symbol to indicate meal choice

10 table numbers

10 cards to make up the seating arrangement

1 informational card about transportation from the venue back to accommodations

Custom Colored Ink


I had the pleasure of discussing with Kate, the bride, by email what color ink she wanted the names to be written in. I lettered and emailed a sample of each color possibility for the event: dark blue, gold, black, or dark brown. Kate chose dark brown, which in this case I used walnut ink for. I use Daniel Smith Walnut Ink that I buy from Arizona Art Supply. I like it because it’s ready to use and consistent.

Meal Choice


Kate chose a symbol to indicate what each guest chose for their meal and to include on each card to be sure the plates were placed properly. Kate wanted the symbols small but legible. After consulting with her on the placement and shape of the meal symbols, I was ready to get started.

Place Cards


The ones Jill and Kate selected came from Kelly Paper, a paper and printing store. They were ecru and lightly embossed so that each card was framed. I always leave place cards unfolded as I work with them and transport them. That way they stay crisp and fresh and are easy to transport.

I love guidelines and I use them in all the work I do. For this project, since the cards are a light color, I used my light table and positioned each card over a set of guidelines I printed from my teacher, Paul Antonio. My light table is a small glass table with a lamp underneath it. Light shines through the pages so that I can see the guidelines and use them without having to draw them onto each card. This keeps the spacing and angle of the script consistent. As for centering the names, well, sometimes I had better luck than others, and I got better at it with the more cards I did. The more challenging names are short ones and I am learning to take more time to consider what letters I am working with and how much space they require.

For each meal symbol, I also used my light table and traced a small symbol I drew up for the choice onto the bottom right hand corner of each place card. I did this so that each would still look hand drawn with the added bonus of regularity between forms. With the first few cards I worked with, I marked the edges of the place cards onto the original sheet so that the placement of each symbol would be consistent from place card to place card.

Seating Arrangement

Jill and Kate selected and provided a lovely opal coverweight paper for the seating arrangement and table numbers. This paper took the ink wonderfully and was a pleasure to write on The pages for the seating arrangement had to be cut to size, just down the middle. Jill e-mailed the final seating arrangement to me and I set to work cutting the pages down and organizing the place cards by their table numbers. I made little post-it dividers to temporarily keep all the cards in order.

I did a quick mock-up of the longest list of names to size on a scratch piece of paper the same size as the cards just to be sure they would all fit before I started working. I did this so that all the text would be the same size and I wouldn’t waste time and materials figuring out the size of the text or having to redo it. These cards were all going to be positioned together and there’s no eyesore from far away like sloppy text that’s different sizes.

For each arrangement card, I wrote the title slightly larger than I was going to pen the names in to create a hierarchy in the text. I drew the outline of the large cards onto my guideline sheet and used a ruler to mark a line down the center so that the names would be fairly centered on the cards. I placed each card over the guidelines and as I worked, I placed each place card over the center line to determine where on the final card I would need to begin the name. This worked out for the most part, although I was trying to make the script lighter in weight on the seating arrangement than I did on the place cards because the nib and ink were responding better to that sort of interaction with the paper.

Table Numbers


These I saved for last, as these cards were already the correct size and I now had a midline drawn on my guidesheet. I wrote as large as I could, putting the calligraphy toward the top of the card to allow space for the holder for the card and so that guests could read them above whatever else might have adorned the table.

Information Card


This card was to be displayed alongside the seating arrangement to notify guests of transportation from the venue. This was another instance where I made a mock-up for placement of the text first before penning the final. I again used the guidelines and placed the lines of text around the midline I drew for myself.



I love to deliver work like this to my clients organized and ready to go. Planning an event like this requires so much attention to detail and I enjoy doing my part to minimize the energy my work requires for display. I placed the table signs and place cards into a small bag since they were going to the same place, and I put the seating arrangement cards and the informational card together in another bag. I placed all items into a box for easy transportation and gathered up any papers provided to me that I didn’t use.


I happily met Jill at her home a few days before the wedding to return everything to her. She was thrilled with the cards. That’s always one of the best parts for me: when the client sees the final product for the first time.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Want to work with me? Please don’t hesitate to email me! Thanks for reading!

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