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Joy, Unscripted

Joy, Unscripted: Trends and more from a luxury wedding calligrapher in the Blue Ridge Mountains
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What started out as a natural penchant for good penmanship blossomed into a full-blown career for Bethany Riegel of Joy Unscripted, based out of Swannanoa. “I’ve always had good handwriting, and my (now) sister-in-law asked me to do some signs for her wedding back in 2014. After the wedding, I looked up more about hand-lettering and eventually found my way to brush pen and pointed pen calligraphy. Eventually I developed my own style—a looser, more modern script,” she explains. “But I do adore pointed pen calligraphy and the elegance it brings to words.”

With her newfound calligraphy skills, Riegel was introduced to the wedding world through friends beginning with smaller side projects, then started her business in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. “In the beginning I was mainly doing just small signage projects, but grew into being a full custom wedding invitation designer. I also do chalk art for Chestnut Ridge and Honeysuckle Hill which both have large, on-site chalkboards behind their venue bars. I love the freedom in choosing what I get to design and create for people knowing the perfectly tied together details will be a part of one of the happiest weekends of their lives.”

Biggest trends she’s seeing in the wedding world? Both a return to classic black and white, and bright and unapologetic explosions of color. “Save the Dates and invitations are the first things your guests get to experience as part of your wedding,” Riegel explains. They’re often the first glance that guests have to a couple’s upcoming nuptials, so it’s important that they pair well with the visuals of celebrants’ big day. Vintage, time-honored monochrome stationery sets the tone for a wedding focused on elegance and timelessness—a popular choice in recent years. The same is true for a maximalist aesthetic, one filled with many bright colors and devoid of a typical one-to-two option color palette. 

Riegel also designs day-of signage and is seeing unique escort card displays and multi-layered menus in varying colors and shapes. These pieces are also becoming more and more popular in 2024, as they add to a wedding’s theme while also providing functionality for guests. 

She also occasionally teaches do-it-yourself hand lettering and calligraphy at Engaged Asheville and through her website courses, a great option for those who are looking to make their own stationery and day-of signage themselves. 

Take Notes
Check out Bethany’s existing work on Instagram, @joyunscripted, and on her website at joyunscripted.com