If you design your invitations yourselves, it can be a second thought. It’s not until you drop your invites off at the post office that it hits you. Your invitation is too thick, too big, or weighs too much to mail for a single stamp! A professional wedding stationer can help you with postage and handling tips for your wedding invitations (ahem…Hitch Design Studio…ahem), but if you’d like a list of basic tips, Hitch is happy to share.
Save the Date and RSVP Postcards need to measure between 3.5″ high x 5″ long to 4.25″ high x 6″ long (rectangular-shaped) to qualify for a postcard stamp rate. Those dimensions are the minimum and maximum a postcard can be to make it through the mail for discounted postage. It also has to be between 0.007 inch thick and no more than 0.016 inches thick. How the heck do you measure 0.007 inches thick? Well, an index card is thick enough. Again, paper weights and thicknesses are something a professional can help you with. Are you hoping to send an oversized postcard or maybe a magnet attached to it. Be careful… if your “postcard” is larger than the dimensions mentioned above, make sure that its not larger than 6-1/8″ x 11-1/2″ x 1/4″ thick. Any mail pieces larger than those dimensions and you’ll have to pay large envelope postage prices. Also, if you plan to attach a sticker, magnet, or anything else to your postcard, that may disqualify the mailer from mailing at the First-Class Mail postcard price—or may even make it non-mailable.
Wedding Invitations cannot weight more than two ounces, which usually exceeds the cost of a first-class stamp. Bring a completed invitation sample to the post office and make sure it will mail for one standard stamp. Remember, if you send a unique square-shaped invitation, postage costs a little extra. Also, the post office does not like anything lumpy going through the mail, so if you have tied a bow, tied twine, have crystals glued or anything else that may not run through their machines smoothly, make sure to bring a sample to the post office for a test-run before putting on inaccurate postage.
Inquire about Hand Canceling. What exactly is that? Hand canceling basically means that your invitations will be processed by hand rather than being run through the post office’s automated machines. Because wedding invitations are often thicker than most other mail that the post office handles, hand canceling helps to avoid damage to your invitations (like getting caught or jammed in the machines). Machines print bar codes on the envelopes, but hand-canceling — just marking each stamp — keeps invitations neat. However, each post office handles hand canceling differently, which is why we recommend inquiring first.
Choosing a Cute Stamp from the Post Office can be fun– or do it online at usps.com. Vintage stamps can be purchased from philatelic societies. They are worth the amount printed on each stamp, but they can cost much more because they are collectible and limited in quantity. You can also customize stamps through such sites like zazzle.com that can be customized to fit your wedding theme.
Going the Extra Mile for Postmarks, literally. These towns (in the list below) will cancel your stamps for you, imprinting them with their sweet names! Box up your stamped, addressed invitations and include a note detailing your request. Address it to “Postmaster,” followed by the name of your chosen town, state, and zip code. A few tips:
1. Call ahead to let him or her know the invitations are on their way.
2. Also, consider sending the envelopes Priority or Express Mail, so you can track the package.
3. Plan ahead and ship your invitations to these special towns way ahead of time. Ask the postmaster how long it will take for the invites to be postmarked and mailed out. Towns with sweet names:
- Bliss, New York 14024; 585-322-7740
- Bridal Veil, Oregon 97010; 503-695-2380
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514; 919-942-4170
- Darling, Mississippi 38623; 662-326-8408
- Deary, Idaho 83823; 208-877-1470
- Groom, Texas 79039; 806-248-7988
- Harmony, Rhode Island 02829; 401-949-2745
- Honeyville, Utah 84314; 435-279-8213
- Kissimmee, Florida 34744; 407-846-0999
- Lovely, Kentucky 41231; 606-395-5848
- Loving, Texas 76460; 940-378-2259
- Luck, Wisconsin 54853; 715-472-2079
- Romance, Arkansas 72136; 501-556-5911
By Renee Halgerson, Owner/Designer, Hitch Design Studio