All hail the handmade!
For most free-spirited and candid couples, choosing to incorporate calligraphy in their wedding is almost a no-brainer. As a Vancouver wedding photographer, I’ve seen calligraphy used in many weddings, but each time it has its own charm and appeal. And best of all, it never fails to bring people joy and that “how adorbs” look in their eyes.
I never knew much about calligraphy, until I met Ayla, a Vancouver-based calligrapher. “I love personalizing everything and being able to make somebody’s day with a nice little surprise,” says Ayla. She told me that Typography was one of her favorite subjects in university where she was trained in fine arts and advertising design, but her voyage into calligraphy began in 2014 when a close friend surprised her with a beginner’s calligraphy kit. “I realized quickly that I needed to invest in the proper tools, so after lots of testing and research, I’ve finally stock up my arsenal of calligraphy materials like ink, nibs, holders and paper that I’m happy with. I think it took me almost 2 years to be finally come up with my own calligraphy style!” said Ayla. I found her work really beautiful and interesting so I’m going to share with you more what I learned about calligraphy from my conversation with her 😊
Ayla said there are two types of calligraphy: traditional and modern. Traditional is more technical and structured; while modern is more free-flowing and widely popular these days, as a lot of calligraphers are building/exploring their own styles.
“A lot of people confuse calligraphy, handwriting and lettering with each other. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have nice handwriting, calligraphy would come naturally; although it would help in muscle memory and understanding the consistency of letterforms. It takes time, practice and a certain discipline to be able to do calligraphy and it is absolutely fun to learn!” shared Ayla.
Calligraphy at Weddings
When I asked her for tips for couples in planning and designing their wedding, she gave this great piece of advice:
“Wedding calligraphy is very personal and serves different purposes for every couple. Think about your favorite vacation spots, restaurants, songs, books, and other items that remind you of each other or are meaningful to you. Mention those to your invitation designer/calligrapher as they’d love to know more about you as a couple and feel more connected with you. Also, couples and their calligrapher should set and follow deadlines to be most efficient. Invitation design is no joke and a lot of work goes into creating the perfect invite (among other wedding stationery/signs). Ask your calligrapher what paper they recommend, what printing type is best for the feel of their wedding, and what inks are typically used for their dream wedding stationery.”
Ayla offers all sorts of wedding calligraphy services, such as custom invitation suites (invites, save-the-dates, reply cards, and envelope calligraphy), day-of items (maps, place/escort cards, table markers, menu cards, ceremony programs, vow books, and other keepsakes), and large-scale signage (seating charts, menu signs, backdrops, welcome signs, etc.)
Even though calligraphy has already found its way into various wedding paraphernalia, there’s always room for innovation. Ayla recently did a seating chart on a 3′ x 5′ framed mirror at a hotel. Now isn’t that clever?! It just goes to show that there are limitless possibilities when it comes to calligraphy and adding that touch of adorbs to your wedding.
Where Else to Use Calligraphy
Aside from weddings, Ayla has used calligraphy to design logos for new businesses. Her current dream project would be to work with the storefront windows of retailers like Anthropologie.
Though calligraphy is most commonly associated with paper, I learned from Ayla that a lot of calligraphers love to explore materials such as wood, fabric, glass, greenery, rocks, etc. She even has fellow calligrapher friends who have applied it as cake toppers, event décor and table runners.
Tips for People Who Would Like to Learn Calligraphy
Ayla says, “Be patient, practice everyday even for just 15-20 minutes and do not compare yourself to others. Calligraphy should be therapeutic, not stressful.”
Like other artists, she’s always listening to music when she’s creating something. “I also try to look outside letterforms and be inspired by textures and colors, so when I’m ready to work on a project, I can put them all together.” said Ayla. Her yorkie, Heisenberg, keeps her company all the time and shares the frame in her photos too!
You can check out more of Ayla’s work at http://www.aylapena.com. I hope you learned a thing or two about calligraphy just like I did!