Weddings

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Wedding invitation and postage tips

Whether a couple is planning a lavish wedding or a more low key affair, the wedding invitations are an essential part of keeping guests informed about the big day.

While couples can now share details of their wedding through email or even digital invitations, many still prefer to go the traditional route and send paper invitations. In addition to the cost of the invitations themselves, couples need to factor postage into their wedding budgets. It may not seem like much, but the cost of postage can add up quickly. The following are a few postage pointers for couples about to tie the knot.

• Choose envelopes wisely. The size of your envelopes contributes to the cost of the postage necessary to mail your invitations. Postal services have specific size and shape parameters that govern postage. Envelopes that are oddly shaped or fall outside of these strict measurements are usually susceptible to additional postage charges. That's because the envelope cannot run through standard sorting machinery and must be hand-processed.

• Consider the weight. Mailings that exceed one ounce will require additional postage, even if they are in standard envelopes. Invitations, with their various components and thick card stock, typically weigh more than one ounce. Never purchase postage in advance, as you will not know what the completed invitation costs prior to mailing. Always weigh the invitation with all inserts included to get an accurate estimate of postage. Then purchase stamps accordingly.

• Get to know your local postal employee. Many postal employees, especially those who work at the smaller branches, grow accustomed to seeing the same customers over and over. They can be very helpful and good resources when it comes to saving money on postage. Strike up a conversation with the person behind the counter and ask advice on the best way to mail invitations and ensure they arrive looking beautiful. Choose an off-peak time so the postal employee can give you his or her full attention and will not feel rushed by a line forming behind you. The employee may suggest hand-canceling envelopes, which means the invitation will be processed by hand rather than run through machinery to avoid damage.

• Stamp the return envelope. Invitations typically include response cards that guests will send back to confirm if they will be attending the festivities. To facilitate the RSVP process, stamp the response card.

• Prep invitations six to eight weeks in advance. Invitations should be mailed nearly two months prior to the wedding. This allows guests to plan and respond accordingly.

• Double-check envelopes before sending. Ensure that postage is sticking well and that envelopes are well-sealed. In addition, verify that you have the most current addresses for recipients. If invitations get returned to sender, they can cost you even more time and money to resolve any issues.

• Consider custom postage. The post office should carry several attractive options for wedding invitation stamps. However, you also may be able to go online and purchase custom postage that features a graphic or an uploaded image to make the invitations even more special.

• Do a test run. You may want to send a complete invitation to yourself just to see how it arrives in the mail. This way you can check the level of damage and have an opportunity to make any changes, such as adding a piece of vellum to prevent ink from smudging or to place bows or adornments in another area.

• Give your mail carrier a heads-up. Let your assigned mail carrier know that response cards will be on the way. They tend to be small and can get lost in among other letters and mail. A small token of gratitude, such as a gift card, for your mail carrier may ensure all of your response cards arrive.

A wedding just isn't the same without the guests. Make sure friends and family are well informed about the wedding by sending out invitations in advance and ensuring the proper postage will get those invites where they need to go.