Rhoad to the Altar: Wedding invitation postage pointers

So far, just about everything I’ve written about has been something I’ve experienced in the wedding planning process. This blog will diverge from that a bit.

While talking about wedding invitations and all of the decisions that go into them, I decided now would probably be a good time to offer some postage pointers. As I have not yet mailed my invites, I cannot add my two cents of advice in. So, after I have the delightful experience of sending my own, I’ll update you with any more tips or tricks I find along the way.

That said, here are some tips on how to make mailing hundreds of what may be the most important pieces of paper of your life to closest friends and family.

In my last blog post, I gave a timeline of when everything should be ordered and mailed, so if you’re not sure of timing, be sure to check that out.

First off, don’t forget to budget for postage. It’s not nearly as exciting as a fancy lace dress or a beautifully decorated cake, but it’s something that can get relatively expensive depending on how heavy and what size your invitations are and how many you’re going to be sending out. Also, don’t forget to budget for postage for thank-you cards and RSVPs.

Know that you will need a minimum of 92 cents in postage: the stamp for the invitation and the stamp for the response card (at LEAST 46 cents each). Like I said before size, shape and weight can and will influence where the price goes from here.

Something else to keep in mind. You could be subject to paying at least 20 cents
more if any of the following apply to your invitations because they will not fit through the automated machines at the post office:
– They are square.
– They contain very rigid material, like wood or metal.
– Envelopes have clasps, strings, buttons, etc.
– The address is parallel to the shorter dimension of the envelope (basically if you address them tall-way instead of long-way).
– Contents cause the envelope’s surface to be uneven.
– If the length of the envelope divided by the height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5 inches.

Today’s Bride breaks prices down by weight and postcard size. And the USPS has a table that breaks down 2013 USPS Postage Rates effective starting Jan. 27 by type and weight.

Be sure you stuff your envelopes with everything that’s going to be mailed BEFORE buying postage. The invitation, usually the largest piece, goes in first, with any extra enclosures (reception cards, maps, etc.) directly on top of the invite in size order from largest to smallest on top. Then, the response card goes in, tucked under the flap of its stamped and addressed envelope.

Courtesy of Flickr user mimblewim
Make sure everything is in you envelope and it’s weighed before buying postage.

Slide everything into the inner envelope if you’ve chosen one, printed side face up and toward the opening of the envelope. The inner envelope should have the guests’ names written on the front. This tells your guests who and who is not invited: Mr. and Mrs. Tabitha Soren, Sarah Soren and Michael Soren (for someone with children); Ms. Jackie Brown and Guest; or just Mr. James Buchannon.

Then, the inner envelope goes into the outer envelope. The names on the inner envelope should face the back of the outer envelope, so that’s what’s seen first when the envelope is opened. Traditionally, while titles such as Mr. and Mrs. are abbreviated, all other words such as Road and Avenue or apartment, are spelled out.

Now, take one of these lovely invites to the post office. There, the post-master will weigh it and tell you what it will cost to deliver this beauty First Class. Also, it’s a good idea to have your response cards weighed in their envelopes to be sure you’re not over- or underpaying to mail those back to yourself.

One bride recounts her friend’s postage horror story here.

A fun and cheaper option for response cards are postcards. They only require 33 cents in postage versus the 46 cents an envelope requires. This is what we are going with because I thought they looked cool, and we saved on buying extra envelopes; the cheaper postage was just an added bonus.

Hand cancelling
Hand cancelling is something I’d actually never heard of until we visited Persnickety Invitation Studio, a local York stationer on Queen Street in Tollgate Village. In addition to giving us some great design ideas and a good jumping off point, they told us to, no matter what, have our wedding invitations hand cancelled.

Well, what is hand cancelling? It means your invitations will be processed by hand, each  marked with a stamp, bypassing the evil automated machines. While this option is free, you do have to request it, so check with your local post office first to make sure that it has the hand stamp. After reading some wedding threads on hand cancelling, it does seem like your invitations might eventually be put through a machine, but at least this will ensure minimal wear and tear.

As the invitations are run through the sorting machines, it’s not uncommon for the printing to rub off, and the bulkiness of the envelopes can cause them to become damaged. Hand cancelling  also minimizes the amount of automated printing, such as bar codes and other post office jargon that junks up your pretty envelope.

Weddingbee.com shows an example of what hand cancelling looks like versus automated printing.

Be sure to ask your postmaster how long it will take for invitations to get where they need to go so you give yourself plenty of time. Another tip, mail an invite to yourself before they all go out to ensure everything is how it should be.

Before picking your postage, don’t ugly up your invite with any old stamp. The post office offers a few specialty wedding day stamps in two prices: 46 cents and 66 cents. You can also order cute, customizable stamps. One website the post office recommends is zazzle.com — They offers 150,000 different wedding-themed stamps.


6 postage pointers from the Knot

MyGatsby invitation etiquette

Weddzilla wedding invitation mistakes

Miss any Rhoad to the Altar posts? Find them all here.

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1 Response

  1. March 8, 2013

    […] Mailing your courtesy cards with your invitations? Don’t miss my post on postage pointers. […]

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