Q. How do we obtain a quote?
A. See Contact Info page. If you are a Toronto area resident, you and your fiance will come to our studio. If you are an out-of-towner, or live in another country, we will consult with you via email and/or telephone. This may require both of us writing a considerable amount of letters back and forth, and our experience is that one or two phone calls is a much more efficient way to narrow down your requirements and allow us to come up with a quotation. We have shipped invitations all over the world, so don't worry - we can handle yours!
Q. We want a quality invitation from 21st Century Scribes, but we want to keep our cost as low as possible. How can we do that?
A. By giving us your budget figure, and asking us to keep you within it. We will do that mainly by showing you papers you can afford, and making sure you don't go overboard in the total amount of paper you use. And if you need over 150 sets, keep in mind we have generous volume discounts.
Q: What about the cost of addressing, menus, programs, place cards, etc?
A: We quote on these kinds of items separately. Simply let us know what you want quoted.
Q: Do you ever use fonts to create your invitations?
A: Only at the request of the occasional client, who wants a custom design and our beautiful papers, but at a more modest price. However, clients more frequently ask us to design their programs, maps, and menus in fonts. Naturally, these items can be produced quite inexpensively using fonts, even if---it must be said---the words inevitably have the cold and lifeless look of the machine about them.
Q: How do you write the very small letters I see in your invitations?
A: While a good calligrapher can write at amazingly tiny sizes, the small format of the typical invitation and response card usually demands that we hand write the words at a somewhat larger size than they will appear in the finished item. Then we reduce the size during the scanning/printing stage.
Q. I would like to learn how to do calligraphy. How long would it take me to learn?
A. The best comparison is music. How long does it take to learn to play the piano or violin? Frankly, it is a long, difficult art to learn, and you must be prepared to spend years getting to the point where you can claim to be an accomplished calligrapher. Thousands of people take calligraphy lessons every year in Canada, but only a tiny handful stay with it long enough to really acquire the skills necessary to master it. The sad fact is that almost all these students just give up trying. That is why, today more than ever, there are so few calligraphers around.
PRINTING & PAPERS
Q: Do you hand write each invitation separately?
A: Surely you jest! Who could afford the months of lead time and the astronomical cost that would be necessary? Not even the Queen of England orders separately-written invitations. Besides, it is impossible to use liquid ink or paint on most of the unsized, delicate and textured surfaces of our papers and tissues. Nor will they tolerate a sharp nib being drawn across them. Instead, we create a master using pen and ink, then digitize and reproduce this image by laser printer.
Q. How do you print on those very, very thin and delicate papers and tissues I see in the Gallery?
A. That is a trade secret. You cannot just run them through your laser or inkjet paper, or they will jam or bleed or both.
Q: Can we purchase papers and get them to you?
A: You can, but why bother, since we charge you the same price you can buy them for: the retail price? Besides, we prefer to visit the supplier to hand-pick the sheets, making sure there are no flaws that will affect how they will cut and print. The presence or absence of rag edges, patterns that have to run in a certain direction, wastage during cutting and printing - these and other factors have to considered, otherwise it is easy to buy too little or too much paper.
Q. How do you cut papers down to finished size from large sheets?
A. One needs professional equipment, such as cutting table and cutting mats and metal patterns, heavy bar rulers, and special paper knives. One also needs a lot of experience in cutting paper, because it is extremely easy for the uninitiated to make serious and costly mistakes. Considerable time is necessary too, especially for certain kinds of paper. We have hundreds of papers we work with, and many of them are quite challenging to cut because of their different consistencies and grain patterns, or because of their surface textures.
Q: Are your invitation sets completely assembled?
A: Yes. But, as an exception, we do allow clients to fold and fasten the four flaps of their square invitations, if they wish, in order to save money. This particular task is rather time-consuming (and thus costly) for one person working alone, even though it is dead-easy and fun and fast if a couple of bridesmaids or family members pitch in.
Q: What about wax sealing and ribbons?
A. Wax sealing is becoming extremely popular. And no wonder, wax seals are a wonderful way to dress up your beautiful handwritten invitations.
Starting in January, 2005, we will be selling genuine wax at prices far below Toronto store prices. We can get you virtually any colour, and will provide you with complete instructions on how to attach them using the very finest and easiest method - an inexpensive glue gun. Of course, if you want us to do the wax sealing, we would be happy to oblige you.
Keep in mind, this is not a phony product made of glue, but exactly the same wax used to make sealing wax "candles".
Furthermore, we can provide inexpensive, but excellent quality, custom-made stamping seals using the monogram we design for you as part of the invitation-creating process. You can use these seals for the rest of your life.
As for ribbons, we can get you a 40-50% discount at Canada's largest & finest ribbon retailer in Toronto. If you use ribbons on your invitation, we require you to buy and "install" them yourself, with no exceptions.
LEAD TIME & CONSULTATION
Q: How much lead time do you need?
A: We like to have a month, but so far have never failed to accommodate clients who need their invitations somewhat earlier than that.
Q: Will we have to visit your studio often?
A: No. Time is money, to both you and us. The reason we call ourselves "21st Century Scribes" is that we use the latest technology to speed up and make the process more economical. We want you and your fiancée both to come to the initial consultation, but after that, we communicate by phone, fax and E-mail. For example, we send you proofs for approval by fax or E-mail. The only time you have to see us thereafter is when you pick up your order.