:: Pricing ::
I have worked as a professional calligrapher and designer for over 30 years. Each certificate is an original, produced by hand, using ink and watercolours applied with a dip pen and brushes. A completely handcrafted custom marriage certificate costs between $350. and $600. depending on the particulars of wording, illustration and decoration.
Amazingly, this price is comparable to that charged for high quality giclee (inkjet) certificates produced from a standard template and include customized wording typed in on a computer.
Once you send in your information you will receive an exact price quote for your certificate. Payment is accepted by check, MasterCard, Visa or PayPal. I ask for a $100. deposit before beginning work, with the remainder due only after you have received your certificate.
:: Highest Quality Materials ::
Artist and callligrapher Stewart Thomas produces only original unique certificates. All lettering, design, and illustration is done by hand from start to finish. The certificate is produced on archival 100% rag paper. Watercolours and inks of the highest professional quality are used for the calligraphy and illustration. Gold, silver and other metalic inks and leafing can also be used if you are interested.
:: Time Requirement ::
It is best to allow four to six weeks for production of your marriage certificate. If you are in a rush, however, please contact me as soon as possible. I will let you know immediately if there is room in my schedule to get your certificate to you on time.
:: To Order Your Certificate ::
I will need to know some information in order to produce your certificate:
:: Illustration ::
-- Let me know what type of design you are thinking of. It can resemble any of the samples on these pages, or be a completely different idea.
-- Give me as complete an idea of the illustration or design you have in mind: themes, specific items, colours associated with your ceremony, and so on.
:: Wording ::
-- The typical marriage certificate includes the following information:
> Names of bridal couple
> Place and date of ceremony
> Names of parents of bridal couple (optional)
> Home towns of bridal couple (optional)
-- In addition the certificate often includes one or more of the following:
> Vows excanged by the bridal couple
> Blessing or Prayer
> Words of an appropriate song or poem
-- You may create your own wording, or I can assist you in formulating the text of the certificate.
:: Signatures ::
-- Indicate how many people are to sign the certificate; your options are:
> No signatures (this is particularly appropriate for a gift to be given after the ceremony, or for an anniversary certificate)
> Bridal couple only
> Bridal couple and Officiant
> Bridal couple and Officiant and Witnesses
> Bridal couple and Witnesses
The certificate can also include room for the signatures of all those who attend the ceremony. Originally a Quaker custom, this is a beautiful tradition that has been adopted by many others. The certificate has spaces penciled in to provide space for the number of guests expected. Each guest signs the certificate after the ceremony, providing a wonderful memory of all those who were present.
:: Dimensions ::
The final size of your certificate depends on several factors, including amount of text, number of signatures, and paper sizes. Once a finished certificate is matted and framed it is much larger! In general I try to make certificates as small as possible and coordinated with standard frame sizes. This makes a huge difference in framing costs. Typical sizes for certificates before framing, in inches, are: 11 x 17, 18 x 22, 18 x 26, etc. Certain designs do not lend themselves to standard frame sizes, for example, the long and narrow Celtic Knot design. If you have a size preference, please let me know in the planning stages. I'll let you know if the size you have in mind is feasible.
:: Care and Handling ::
Your certificate will be mailed to you flat via FedEx or UPS.
I recommend that you place a sheet of clear plastic over the certificate when it is on display at your ceremony or reception. This protects the certificate from accidents.
If people will be signing the certificate, I strongly suggest that you place someone in charge of overseeing the process. The person can make sure that people use the right pen to sign with, sign in a signature space, and keep dirty hands off the paper. I recommend Micron Pigma pens for signing the document. These are easily available at most art and office supply stores as well as through many online retailers. Buy several in case they run dry or the nib becomes dull from use. A week after your ceremony you can use a Staedtler or other soft white eraser to gently rub out the pencil lines between signatures.
As with any other art work, frame your certificate in archival, acid-free materials. This should include an acid-free piece of foam core as the backing and acid-free matting. Do not allow the glass of the frame to touch the paper of the certificate as this causes damage from any moisture that may collect on the inside of the glass. It is not necessary to use museum or UV protection glass. However, do not display your certificate or any other watercolour original in direct sunlight.
With these proper precautions your certificate should be a longlasting family heirloom and treasure.
:: Contact me ::
Please contact me to discuss your marriage certificate order. I am only able to produce a limited number of certificates per year, so please plan ahead if at all possible. I am delighted to hear from you.
Stewart J. Thomas