ketubah advice

5 questions to ask your ketubah artist

5 Questions To Ask Your Ketubah Artist

February 15, 2015

I’m going to go ahead and guess that most newly engaged couples don’t have a ton of experience shopping for a ketubah. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an overly complicated process. You’ll probably start by sitting in front of your computer and googling around for ketubah designs that inspire you. And once you’ve found a design that you both like, all that’s left is to reach out to the ketubah artist and get the ball rolling!

As someone who knows a thing or two about the ketubah business, this is where I’d like to offer you a small piece of advice. Before you commit to purchasing, and definitely before you fork over your credit card number, I encourage you to take a moment to ask your ketubah artist 5 quick, but important, questions.

1. How long does it take to receive our ketubah?

Each ketubah artist has his or her own timeline when it comes to shipping you your finished piece, and it’s important to make sure you don’t fall outside that window if your wedding date is quickly approaching. Some artists require a minimum of 6 months notice (more common for hand-painted designs) whereas other artists can get you a finished ketubah in as little as 2 weeks. I typically need four weeks to get you a finished ketubah, but I can do it in as little as 2 if you don’t mind paying extra for rush translation and rush printing / shipping.

2. Can we make changes to your standard texts?

While a few ketubah artists only offer standard texts with blanks for you to hand-write in your personal details, most artists will pre-customize your English and Hebrew text with your names, wedding date, and wedding location. However, many couples are interested in tweaking the wording or adding an additional phrase that has personal meaning to them. If you want to customize your text beyond adding your personal information, be sure to check ahead with your ketubah artist that this is an option. Many artists, myself included, can make small changes to the text or even have your own text translated into Hebrew for you. But you definitely don’t want to assume that customization is an option without checking first!

3. Can we customize the design of the ketubah (and how much will that cost?)

Each ketubah artist has wildly different policies when it comes to customizing a ketubah design, and so it’s always important to ask ahead of time if this is something you’re interested in. I am more than happy to make changes to my designs for my clients. If it’s something small, I typically just do it for free. But if the customization will take a good chunk of time, then I’ll typically charge a $50 design fee to cover my time. If you’re going the custom route, be sure to get a quote before-hand so that you’re not blindsided when the final bill arrives.

4. Does your ketubah artist show you a full proof of the ketubah before it’s finalized?

Again, each ketubah artist will handle this differently. If you’re working with a ketubah artist who hand-paints or hand-writes each design, he or she will probably send you a word document of your text to proof, but you won’t get the chance to see the full design until it arrives on your doorstep. Since all my ketubahs are printed using the giclee method, I’m able to send each client a full proof of their design, which they can share with their Rabbi for final approval. If you’re the type that likes to have full control, be sure to ask if you get the option of seeing a full proof and requesting changes.

5. How is my ketubah shipped, and what happens if it’s lost or damaged?

It’s reasonable to think that the ketubah artist assumes full responsibility for getting you an undamaged ketubah, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. Accidents happen when artwork is shipped, so it’s important to know that your ketubah is covered if something goes wrong in transit. I ship my ketubahs in a heavy-duty tube, which protects them remarkably well. However, if a ketubah ever arrives in less-than-perfect condition, I will have it reprinted and reshipped immediately at no cost to the client.

When you’re purchasing a ketubah, the first step is to fall in love with the artwork (obviously). After all, it’s going to hang in your home for a good long time. But it’s also important to make sure that the ketubah artist can accommodate your needs and that you’ll be protected in the case of a shipping accident. Happy ketubah hunting!

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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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