Before you sign your ketubah or wedding certificate, let’s talk about pens
This post is part of my “ketubah tradition” series, where I dig into the details of your ketubah signing ceremony.
So, your ketubah or wedding certificate has been purchased, designed, approved by your Rabbi, printed, and shipped to your door. Congrats! But before you officially cross it off your ever-growing wedding to do list, there’s one last thing to think about. Selecting a ketubah pen!
Contrary to what you might expect, the cheaper the pen, the better it tends to work in this situation. The ink from fancy fountain pens is far more likely to splatter and smudge. Plus, if you’re using nervous / shaky hands (and who isn’t right before their wedding ceremony!) the sharp nibs can even scratch the surface of your fine art paper ketubah or wedding certificate.
Ultra fine felt-tip pens can also scratch the surface if you press too hard, and sharpies can bleed on the soft cotton rag paper your ketubah or wedding certificate is printed on.
So, what’s a bride or groom to do?
PRO TIP! Bring a fancy fountain pen with you to your wedding for the photos. You can pose holding the fancy pen. But when it actually comes time to sign, try one of the options below.
The perfect ketubah pen
There are two brands of pens I recommend for signing your ketubah or wedding certificate.
PAPER KETUBAHS AND WEDDING CERTIFICATES
If you’ve ordered a fine art paper ketubah or wedding certificate, a simple wide felt-tip pen is probably your best bet. (Though in a pinch, any normal ball-point usually works just fine.) We like the Sakura Pigma Micron in the 08 size, which is bigger than the standard 05/03/01 that you typically find. If you ordered a paper cut or 3-D ketubah, one of these pens will be included in your package.
KETUBAHS AND WEDDING CERTIFICATES WITH DARK BACKGROUNDS
What if the design you selected has a dark background? We like the Uni-Ball Signo pen series. The ink flows a bit more freely in this pen, so be careful to let it dry before touching your signature. But you’ll find that it writes smoothly even on the textured canvas. And it has all the other benefits you’re looking for – including chemically-stable, waterproof, fade-resistant inks and a variety of color options. I would recommend white, silver or gold on the ketubahs and wedding certificates with dark backgrounds. White will have the most contrast, but the silver and gold are also very pretty.
Uni-ball Signo White – 3 pack
Uni-ball Signo Gold – 3 pack
Uni-ball Signo Silver – 3 pack
STRETCHED CANVAS KETUBAHS AND WEDDING CERTIFICATES
If you’ve ordered a ketubah or wedding certificate on stretched canvas, a black, fine tip sharpie works best for the light color backgrounds. This is the least likely to smudge on the canvas. If it’s a canvas with a dark background, I still recommend the Signo pen series above. Just be sure to give the signatures plenty of time to dry before touching them. Ink dries a bit more slowly on the canvas than it does on the fine art paper.
One last tip. It never hurts to have an extra piece of paper on hand so that each person can practice their signature once on scrap before putting pen to paper on the real thing.
FYI: As of October 2017, this post now contains affiliate links! I’ve been recommending these exact products for years without being an affiliate, and I stand by my recommendations now. As such, Amazon requires me to include the following: “I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
I'm Adriana Saipe, founder of Ink with Intent. I'm a full-time wedding illustrator who specializes in contemporary ketubahs and unique wedding certificates. Learn more.
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