The MoBster Diaries

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Postman Must Be Paid

Just when you think you've balanced out the number of invitations with the per/person cost of your reception, you're faced with not only the high cost of invitations, but the cost of all those stamps, as well. Sigh. Does the ring of the wedding cash register never end?

Prepare yourself for stamp-sticker-shock.

Things got complicated a few years ago when the US Postal Service changed its rates from weight-based only to a size+weight-based system. It wasn't so long ago that a piece of mail 1oz or under - whether the envelope was rectangular, square, round, or weirdly shaped - was covered by an average first class stamp. Not anymore.

If the envelope is something other than standard rectangle, you have to pay more for postage. It has to do with the width/length ratio as it feeds into the postal machines. A square or almost square envelope? The machine can't tell which way to feed it into the machine, so add $0.20 to the standard $0.44 rate.

Of course, weight has to be considered. If your invitations are jam-packed with reception information, RSVP cards, table assignments and - yes - the actually invitation, you'll need to weigh it to ensure you have enough postage to get them to your guests. And don't forget: if you include an RSVP card, you'll need a stamp for that, as well. Yes, gone are the days that guests paid postage to let the bride know whether or not they were attending the joyful event.

My advice? Once you get your invitations, assemble one (include all the various cards, envelopes, tissue paper, etc.), take it to the post office, and weigh it to make sure you buy adequate postage for both response card enclosures and the whole shebang.

The USPS has a page on its website specifically for wedding mail. It worth reviewing so that you don't get any nasty surprises. The page also includes information about custom stamps from Zazzle, if you have something other than standard stamps or the rings/flower stamp for your invitations. Yes, custom stamps cost a little more, but Elegant Scribbles can highly recommend Zazzle, since Kate used them for her wedding invites. (And the stamps were gorgeous!)

Whether you use standard or custom stamps, do take the time to figure out how much to budget for postage, not only for the big invitation, but for save-the-dates and thank you notes. The postman must be paid!

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