When we were newly engaged, my grandparents took me and Adam out for a congratulatory dinner and surprised us with a gift. We opened a beautiful silver and crystal serving set, designed for a decanting bottle of wine and four glasses, all on a tray. It’s an heirloom piece that was theirs as newlyweds. It sits in our display case in the dining room, and it hearkens back to a time long ago – I love it every time I walk by. I think the exact same way about postage – there’s something deeply nostalgic about stamps. I can’t be the only one who thinks this (uhhh tell me I’m not alone, please!). But at any rate, stamps are the final important detail to consider with your stationery; you’ve got options for your wedding invitations postage. If you’re not working with a custom stationery designer to help you with this step, I’ve explained each category here in this blog.
Regardless of the stamps you choose…
The first thing you’ll need to do is get your invitation weighed at USPS. For most couples, this involves you going in person. If your invitation is only one flat card/envelope by itself with nothing else, you can skip this step. Otherwise, it’s a must-do!
Gather all elements of your invitation: every card, envelope, insert, liner, ribbon, wax seal, or other doo-dads, and assemble it as if it were going to a real recipient. Bring the complete set to be measured and weighed at your local branch. Ideally, ask for a second clerk’s opinion as well, especially if it’s on the cusp. Your required wedding invitations postage is determined by the invitation weight, thickness, and length/width dimensions. Find out how much you’ll need to send each one. Bonus – if you have any international recipients on your list, write down the country/countries where you’ll be mailing, and ask the clerk about these as well. For international mail, postage is also dependent on destination.
As a general rule, I always go over a bit on the required postage for my clients. I’d rather have them spend an extra few cents per envelope than to have them be under – every post office branch can give slightly different advice, so you want to go with “better safe than sorry” here.
Don’t forget – you’ll also need a secondary stamp for your RSVP envelopes, too! This is just one regular letter stamp (as of 2020, $0.55 apiece). Now that you know how much postage you’ll need to send your beautiful invitations through the mail, it’s time to decide which type of postage you’d like to use.
Regularly-issued USPS Stamps
The first type of postage is the good ole’, regular kind. Regularly-issued, currently available USPS stamps are the most common type of wedding invitations postage. It’s also the cheapest way to mail wedding invitations. As a pro tip, check out the USPS website for stamps. They have a broader selection than what may be available in your local branch (but at the same price), you have the convenience of shopping from home, and shipping for stamps is so cheap (like… $2.00).
These change annually, with some new additions throughout the year, too. So, the downside to this option is that you’re limited to whatever is available when you’re mailing your invitation. Good news is that there is a lot of variety, so you can typically find something you like well enough, especially out of respect for the budget! You’re not required to use a typical celebration/love stamp – if there’s something else that you like better for your color palette or vibe, go for it. Consider this your postage permission slip!
If normal stamps don’t seem unique enough for your wedding invitations postage, you can go the custom route – for one more week or so. Unfortunately, USPS is discontinuing this as an option for customers, as of June 2020. So, take this information with a big grain of salt – or, skip to the next section!
A custom stamp features your personalized image, in the denomination that makes sense for your mailing needs. It’s a perfect place for a monogram, logo, venue illustration, or even a pet portrait. Use this “real estate” on your envelope to add to your unique story. I must stress that this artwork needs to come from your stationery designer. Taking a screenshot of something created for you (even for elsewhere in your suite) is copyright infringement. Not only is it not cool, it’s illegal. Ask your stationer to create custom stamps for you with her artwork, use something you’ve created yourself, or skip this option. *Gets off soapbox.*
The upside of these is that the image can be of anything relevant to you (as long as you have rights for it!). The downside is that you’ll have a bar code with the image, so the post office can track that it’s been paid for.
From a pricing standpoint, custom postage is typically 2-3x face value of the postage rate you need. So, if your suite requires $0.70 to mail, the custom stamps with $0.70 paid postage could be $1.40 – $2.10 each.
As a cost-savings idea, your RSVP envelope only requires one regular stamp and is often cheaper to mail than the full invitation package. Instead of using custom postage for the outer envelope, consider it for the RSVP envelope instead.
If budget is less of a concern for you than the aesthetic, vintage is a great option for your wedding invitations postage. The term “vintage postage” simply means mint-condition, never-been-used postage that’s no longer in circulation with USPS. Categorically speaking, this is broad! It could mean anything historical, dating back to the first stamps from 1847, or anything that was retired from circulation just this year – and anything in between.
To use vintage stamps, the collective total on them has to equal the required postage required to send your invitation. For example, if you need $0.70 to mail your set based on your weight assessment, you could use a $0.32, $0.20, $0.10, and $0.10 stamp to get you to the desired total. The combination doesn’t matter, as long as they’re all unused and collectively match your monetary requirement to send.
Vintage Postage pros and cons
The upside of this option for wedding invitations postage is that they’re absolute show-stoppers. This is all over Pinterest for a reason! Getting something in the mail with vintage postage on it really is amazing; it feels instantly elevated and special. You can also curate these collections to help tell your story – birthplace, current location, hobbies, special things about your relationship, etc – you can find a stamp with just about anything on it!
There are a couple of downsides. First is that vintage postage is incredibly time-intensive, both to find the stamps you want to use, and then to affix them. If you’re working with someone to handle postage on your behalf, this is your best bet! The other downside of this option is the cost. Because these stamps are purchased from collectors directly, this option can often run upward of 4-5x the face value of the required postage. For example, a $0.70 letter price could range between $2.80 – $3.50 apiece.
As a cost-savings idea, you can combine currently-issued stamps with vintage ones. For example, if your invitation needs $1.00 in postage, you can use one regular $0.55 stamp, and then you only need the remaining $0.45 in vintage stamps combined to supplement the regular one. This keeps the price more reasonable!
So there you have it – three types of wedding invitations postage! I hope this helped to demystify your options. I curate postage for all of my custom clients, and I offer guidance on it to all of my semi-custom clients from The Collection. If I can be of help, let me know!
Save these pins about wedding invitations postage for later:
All photos on this page taken by Casey Brodley.