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.

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.


If you’ve ordered a fine art paper ketubah or wedding certificate, a simple uni-ball GEL pen is probably your best bet. (Though in a pinch, any normal ball-point usually works just fine.) These pens are available in a wide variety of colors, and the metallic and white colors look incredible on the ketubahs and wedding certificates with dark backgrounds. And the Gelly Roll brand uses archival-quality inks that are chemically-stable, waterproof, and fade-resistant.


If you’ve ordered a ketubah or wedding certificate on stretched canvas, I recommend 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 of the Gelly Roll pens – including chemically-stable, waterproof, fade-resistant inks and a variety of color options. I would once again recommend white, silver or gold on the ketubahs and wedding certificates with dark backgrounds.

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.

Happy signing!

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 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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