1. You can add personal detail to your envelopes by selecting a visual theme for your postage.
I love the idea of infusing another custom detail into the otherwise-overlooked right-hand corner of your invitations. Here are few ideas of how to make those sure your envelope gets due attention. Try selecting your postage by color, place (Where you met, are getting married, or are from), or another fun detail (ie: sky or plane-themed postage for a pilot or boats for the couple who enjoys sailing).
2. You should be aware of the weight and size of your envelopes.
Before buying postage, it's always a good idea to weigh a finished envelope and either calculate your postage with this chart or take a sample to the post office for an estimate.
POSTCARD | $.35/ENVELOPE
0 - 1 OUNCES | $0.55 / ENVELOPE
1 - 2 OUNCES | $0.70 / ENVELOPE
2 - 3 OUNCES | $0.85 / ENVELOPE
3 - 3.5 OUNCES | $1.00 / ENVELOPE**
Note: Adding ribbons, wax seals, or additional pieces will affect your postage cost, as well as thicker paper stocks. A standard-sized reply card and envelope should typically only require standard postage.
**Updated: These are the rates as of 2019**
3. There are three main options for postage—of varies price points.
USPS—Buying standard-rate or forever stamps is the lowest cost (and often, simplest) option. You can either visit your local post office or use usps.com to browse currently-offered selections. It is worth noting that once you decide on a design(s), you should make your complete purchase as soon as possible, in the case that the quantity of that design is limited and/or soon to go out of stock. Remember you’ll need one stamp per outer envelope, and likely, one for each invitations reply card return envelope, as well.
Zazzle—Buying custom stamps is a fun option, too. You may choose to include an engagement photo on your stamp, a design from your invite suite, or another detail from your story as a couple. Browse a selection of pre-design stamps, or submit your own photo or design. Cost per each small stamp starts at about double the going postal rate, but stay on the lookout for discount codes. One thing of note, these include a barcode on the stamps themselves, so depending on your preference, this may be too visually disruptive for your taste.
Vintage Stamps—Assembling your own collage of stamps is a great way to carry out a theme or add special details to your invites. This tends to be the most expensive option, as stamps often sell for more than face value, and it can be difficult to track down larger quantities of any one stamp. If you’re up for the challenge, work with a stationer, local stamp dealer, or etsy seller to help you collect what you’re looking for by color or theme. Prices vary, but plan on spending three times the standard-rate for each envelope.
**You can also mix an unobtrusive standard-rate stamp (ie: the “Classics” line) with several fun lower-cost vintage stamps. The vintage add interest, but don’t have to contribute to the postage amount, so this allows for a little more flexibility.
4. Vintage postage requires a bit of assembly.
Standard and Zazzle stamps are backed with and adhesive, but many vintage stamps are backed with a lickable glue. While wetting each stamp before application is one option, it can be hard to pinpoint the right amount of water without causing the envelopes to buckle. The best bet for sticking them in place is a gluestick.
To keep yourself organized, place stamps in stacks on your desk in the same arrangement as you’d like for them to be on each envelope. This will help orient you visually as you plug away with assembly. Also, it's advisable to place vintage stamps on envelopes first so you give the stamps the room they need before writing in the address.
5. The Post Office worker is your friend.
When you send your envelopes goes through the mail, the postal service usually machine-cancels them in bulk. This results in a dark-ink barcode or stripe along your envelope, which can interfere with the delicate of your envelopes. Particularly if you have your envelopes hand-addressed, you might request having them hand-canceled, which is much-less invasive. This does take quite a bit more time for the post office worker, so either call ahead or take to a less-busy location. And ask nicely :)
Want to know more about the custom wedding invitation process? I've written an ebook called Noted: Taking the Guesswork out of Getting Your Wedding Details Down on Paper. For more information like this, grab a copy for FREE over in the shop!
Want to get started with some special vintage stamps? Buy small curated sets over in the shop!