We strongly encourage curating your postage collection to match your invitation suite vibe, or to tell a story! Postage is often an overlooked way to fully customize your suite, but it doesn’t have to cost more to accent your suite! Unfortunately, the US Postal Service has discontinued the ability to print custom stamps, but that doesn’t mean you have to use the basic Forever stamps on your invites either (although you can!)
Step 1: Take a sample to the Post Office
Once you’ve assembled a full suite, take it to the Post Office to have them weigh it. Typically, the A7 with just an invitation card on our basic card stock and website response card costs the “Forever” rate to mail. If you begin adding response envelopes, belly bands, or additional insert cards, then these cards can weigh more than the 1 ounce “Forever” rate. In that case, prepare to pay the two ounce postage rate. When adding ribbons or wax seals, your invitations become non-machinable. That simply means they need to bypass certain machines, and require additional postage as well. If your final suite gets thicker than 1/4” you’re now in the realm of mailing using parcel post, and each invitation COULD cost you upwards of $3+ to mail. So thickness is important to consider when creating your design and budget. When adding ribbon, we often iron the bows flat. When creating wax seals, we often make them “flatter” to avoid becoming a package rate. This is why we create samples for your photographer - NO suites you see on Pinterest or the internet were photographed coming straight out of the envelope - they’re styled to look pristine You will not know how much postage to purchase until you fully assemble your finished suite and weigh it, but we can help with suggestions if you’d like to stay within a specific postage budget.
Step 2: Order & Purchase Postage
Select postage that fits YOU and your significant other! Whether you pick stamps based on their colors, or if the stamps tell your love story, or where you’re from - the options are endless. Use your creativity to curate the postage collection that makes sense to you. Remember, you simply need the postage to add up to the correct mailing rate - whether that’s a single 2 ounce stamp, or 6!
If we’re addressing the envelopes (or you’re hiring a calligrapher), your selection of stamp layout will be important to us, before we start that design. Multiple stamps take up a lot more room than a single, and we need to account for the space that will take up.
One of my favorite looks is a collection of vintage stamps in the top right corner of your invitation envelope. You can source these in places like Etsy, or Ebay, or through vendors who specialize in custom stamp curation!
Check with your local post office to see what they have available behind the counter. If you don’t see something perfect, head on over to store.usps.com/store/home to search what’s currently available to order & ship to you.
Step 3: Hand Canceling
When postage is used, it’s stamped with a “cancellation” mark so you can’t use it again. Whether that’s a machine that cancels them, or they’re physically hand stamped - they can’t be used twice. A machine cancels most postage. If you don’t want the machine mark on your envelope, you can ask to hand cancel the stamps and skip the first machine. It’s the “old fashioned” way of cancelling the stamps. Very few Post Offices allow hand cancelling anymore, so you’ll have to butter up your local Postal worker and see if they’ll let you! If you’re splurging on vintage postage, hand cancelling keeps with the vintage vibe. If you like this look, we can assist with stuffing invitations, adding postage, and offering hand cancellation for an additional fee. It can be a struggle to find a post office local to you which allows this service - we’re lucky to have a great relationship with our local office. Even with hand cancellation, your invitations will still go through the sorting machines! There is no way to skip that USPS process.
Our Top Mailing Tips
PROFESSIONALLY PRINT GUEST MAILING ADDRESSES
If you’re not planning on sending envelopes to a calligrapher, consider having us professionally and artfully print your guest addresses.
HAVING A RETURN ADDRESS IS VITAL
We don’t want envelopes returned to you, so we’ll always suggest clearly printed address fonts and easy to see ink colors. But despite our best efforts, the USPS’s handling of mailed invitations is completely out of our control. To ensure you know who’s received their invitations, we will always suggest adding a return address to every main outer envelope.
MAKE SURE THE POSTAGE IS CORRECT!
What happens if you short the postage? Your beautiful invitations will either be returned to you for insufficient postage (and you’ll have to remove the envelopes, re-address, add fresh postage, and re-mail), OR even worse, they’ll arrive to your guest’s post office with a notice that your guests have to pay the difference to actually receive them! No one wants either of those things to happen to you, so just get your suite weighed to make sure.