In one of our beginner calligraphy workshops, an attendee once asked us how we tell our clients that we made a mistake on one of their envelopes. We both sort of paused, trying to digest the question to be sure we understood, before I {Alyssa} responded with “we don’t!” That’s the truth, and that’s perfectly common practice in the wedding calligraphy industry.

When envelopes are being run through a printer, there will undoubtedly be some paper jams that result in lost envelopes. Change that to a human, writing over 100 envelopes by hand, for hours on end? Well there will certainly be errors there as well that will result in the loss of envelopes!

So how do you avoid going back to your client and telling them that you made 5 errors on their order and need more envelopes? You ask for extra upfront! It is perfectly reasonable to note in your policies that you need X amount of extras for any given order to cover ink testing, set up for the order and then of course, mistakes. It also doesn’t hurt to have extras in case the client decides to add more guests after the fact, etc.

What number should you ask for? Laura found through the years that for a standard order of 100 envelopes, she needed about 5-7 extras on average, so she started asking for 10%. Shortly thereafter she discovered that if you ask for 10, you get about 5-7 – and what if you need 8? Ultimately we’ve landed on a 15% overage request with a minimum of 15. So any order under 115 quantity, we still want 15 extra, just in case. We have this built into our policies that each client has to manually check off when booking with us, and we also include a note about it in their order confirmation. So when their order comes through for 165 outer envelopes, the confirmation email with details on timing, where to ship the envelopes, etc, also includes a request for 190 envelopes to complete the job. When we receive the envelopes in the mail, we count them and make note of the number received, and if we are short a sizable amount, we let the client know that we need additional prior to the start of the order {this very rarely happens since we’ve given a specific number needed for the order}.

What do you do with the extras once the order is completed? We like to keep about 5 blank envelopes on file in case the client discovers any errors that we missed. Laura’s assistant checking the envelopes is human, too, so we ask the clients to review their order upon receipt and let us know if any errors got through. They will sometimes also notice a mistake on their original list and we will do re-do’s on those at the same time as our own errors, if there are any that got through.

Hopefully you can utilize some of these strategies to help facilitate a smoother work flow with your clients!


p.s. if you are looking for help with styling your photos for social media like the one seen in this post, be sure to check out Cool Photo School!