Mail Wedding Invitations: Everything you need to know about sending off your invitation suites
Your invitations have been designed, printed, assembled, and are ready for send-off! It’s such a treat to send these little paper goods out into the world carrying news of your special day. But mailing invitations comes with its own set of questions… How many stamps do I need? Is the American Flag my only design option? Can I just drop these off at the post office? Read on to find out everything you need to know about mailing your wedding invitations:
In order to make it into your guests’ mailboxes, envelopes must be adorned with a stamp (or two!) that will ensure their delivery through the United States Post Office.
How much postage is needed?
Required postage depends on your envelope’s weight and size.
Up to 1 oz: $0.50
Up to 2 oz: $0.70
Up to 3 oz: $0.91
Up to 5 oz: $1.21
Even within these weight ranges, envelope size still plays a factor… bulky envelopes (like those that have a wax seal or knotted ribbon enclosed) will require additional postage, as do square envelopes.
My best advice? Weigh one envelope at the Post Office so you can be certain that you have the correct postage. If your envelope is even a little bit over, you may need to add a 2¢ stamp to ensure delivery.
Remember: you will also need to purchase stamps for reply envelopes! Each reply card should be accompanied by a pre-addressed and pre-stamped reply envelope. This is proper etiquette, and helps ensure prompt RSVPs.
Where do I purchase stamps?
There are several resources for purchasing stamps, but pricing can vary. Stamps from the USPS website or your local Post Office are priced at face value: for example, you would pay $0.70 for a 70¢ stamp.
“Forever Stamps” always cover the standard post rate (which is currently 50¢). Even if the standard post rate increases, your “Forever Stamps” will also increase in value to match the standard rate.
The USPS releases seasonal stamps, so you may find a design that you like on their website.
Note: sometimes the brick-and-mortar Post Office will not have a large quantity of wedding stamps available; you might consider calling ahead or ordering online to make sure you are able to get as many stamps as you need.
You can also buy standard Post Office stamps from Amazon (seriously, what did we do before Amazon?!). Amazon also carries some discontinued Post Office stamps. Depending on how old the stamps are, they may still be priced at face value… or, if they’ve been discontinued for awhile, they may be more expensive—even for a stamp of lower value. For example, you might pay $.70 for a 50¢ stamp. Which brings us to our next question…
What about pretty vintage stamps?
Vintage stamps are quite the trend in today’s wedding stationery, and it’s easy to see why. Vintage stamps can be absolutely beautiful, and there is an enticing variety of designs—making it easy to customize your stamps to color-coordinate with your suite. You can even find stamps that tie into your love story!
However, vintage stamps are not sold at face value… meaning you tend to pay 1.5–2 times more for the unique stamp design. The rarer the stamp, the higher the price.
Plus, vintage stamps were produced when the standard post rate was substantially lower than it is now (if only they had “Forever Stamps” back then!). Vintage stamps come in a range of post rates… from 3¢ to 31¢ and everything in between. You will likely need 3–4 (or even more!) vintage stamps to add up to the appropriate postage.
Resources for buying vintage stamps:
- Ebay: believe it or not, EBay is an incredible resource for vintage stamps. Their handy sidebar lets you filter your searches, making it easy to find the perfect design at the perfect amount of postage.
- US Mint Sheets: fair warning, their website could use a little update… but US Mint Sheets has an amazing variety of stamps, filtered by year and keyword.
- Curated Stores and Etsy Shops: to make it easy on you, some stores sell pre-curated collections of color-coordinated stamps that already add up to standard postage. A few of my favorite shops are: Enfield Post, Little Postage Shop, Vintage Postage Shop, and Eidelweiss. An Etsy search for “unused vintage stamps” or “curated vintage stamps” will lead you down quite the rabbit hole.
Keep these key factors in mind while browsing pretty vintage stamp designs:
- Stamp value is everything! Make sure the stamp value still adds up to cover the weight and size of your envelope. Remember, it may take anywhere from 3–7 stamps to achieve the correct postage.
- Purchase only unused stamps. Be certain that the vintage stamps are “unused” before you buy. Otherwise, they will not work for mailing!
- Buy U.S. Stamps. Double-check that your stamps are in fact U.S. stamps… there are some gorgeous international stamp designs out there, but a Canadian, Polish, or Norwegian stamp will not get very far in the USPS system!
Tip: each Sarah Ann Design stationery package includes one styled invitation set to be photographed on the wedding day. This means I’ll dress up one invitation suite with envelope calligraphy, vintage stamps, and wax seals—so it looks picture-perfect for the photographer. If you don’t want to splurge on vintage stamps for every envelope, rest assured that your Styled Suite will still have all those pretty details!
Lastly, if you choose to use vintage stamps… please inform your calligrapher! We may need to adjust your envelope addressing layout to accommodate the stamp collection.
What about custom stamps?
Yes, you can absolutely create a custom postage stamp! Browse pre-made templates, or work with your designer to create a stamp completely unique to you. We can take an element from your invitation design (like a monogram or floral illustration) and incorporate it into your stamp design.
Of course, the drawback here is price. Custom stamps are expensive… but they do add a memorable touch to your envelopes! You can probably expect to pay double face value for a custom stamp. But be on the lookout for promo codes: you might be able to score a decent deal.
Resources for buying custom stamps:
Tip: If your budget prohibits vintage or custom stamps, remember that you don’t have to splurge on every envelope. Consider making a “VIP List” (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) and having a select few envelopes calligraphed and embellished. Instead of splurging for the full guest list, just make the envelopes for your VIPs extra special!
Adhering Stamps to Envelopes:
Don’t lick every stamp. Please. Trust me, it’s icky—especially after 200 or so stamps. Do your tastebuds a favor and buy a pack of kitchen sponges. Run the clean sponge under water to dampen it, then keep it next to you on a small plate as you assemble invitation suites. Instead of licking each stamp, just press it onto the damp sponge, and then adhere to your envelope. Voila!
Note: some vintage stamps may not have self-adhesive backing. In this case, just add a little Elmer’s glue to your damp sponge. Reapply as needed.
Now you know just about everything on the topic of wedding postage… so what’s next?
Once you’ve assembled, stamped, and sealed all your invitations, it’s time to get those babies in the mail. Head to your local Post Office, wait in line, and ask the clerk if you can hand-cancel your envelopes. Hand-canceling means you will literally stamp each envelope by hand with a rubber stamp.
Why hand-cancel? Hand-canceling is not required, but it’s the best way to ensure your envelopes are delivered in tip-top shape. It saves your envelopes from the wear and tear of the USPS sorting machines—you’ll have a cute circular ink stamp on the top of the envelope instead of an ugly barcode over the bottom of your envelope.
The clerk will give you the rubber stamper; you will then stamp each envelope (right on top of the postage stamps!). It takes a little extra time, but it’s so worth it! Consider bringing a friend to speed up the process (or, if you have a truly above-and-beyond Maid of Honor, see if she’s up for the task!).
A few final tips…
- While you are buying postage, purchase enough stamps to cover the main envelope, reply envelope, and thank you notes. Might as well buy them all at once!
- With any mass mailing, there is an average 3% return rate. If a guest envelope is returned to you, you can re-send the invitation suite (although you might wish to confirm their address). If time is of the essence, call them right away to extend an invitation over the phone. Personally, I would also text them a photo of the returned envelope (“So sorry this didn’t make it to your mailbox!”) after the phone call, so they know they actually were invited—not forgotten. Regardless, you should still follow up with a re-mailed invitation suite.
If you made it all the way through this post, I’m going to go ahead and dub you an expert on mailing wedding invitations. But, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help you find the perfect stamps to complete your unique wedding stationery.
Image: Allen Tsai Photography
Mail Wedding Invitations // Sarah Ann Design