Thoughtfully selected postage can pretty up your invite envelopes and even celebrate places and things near and dear to you. Here's how to put your stamp on wedding correspondence.
Stuck On You
Licking a lot of vintage stamps can be less than pleasant, and having a sponge and water around paper goods sounds precarious. Instead, the pros use glue. "Elmer's Xtreme School Glue Stick is my preferred brand, though any brand-name glue stick should work just fine," says Samantha Kramer of Etsy's Pack and Post. And never tape over postage— the post office will reject it.
Handle With Care
To avoid getting those big, squiggly black lines across postage, consider hand-canceling. Instead of having your envelopes go through the typical machine that cancels your stamps, you can opt to have the post office hand-stamp smaller cancellation marks instead. Not every post office will hand-cancel, so stop by your local branch and ask if it offers it and if there is a fee.
The Envelope, Please
Designer/calligrapher Ashley Meyers Combs of Brooklyn's Smash and Co. says the first step she takes when addressing her clients' envelopes is to arrange the postage. "I lay the stamps out on an envelope without adhering them and practice the longest name and address on the list to make sure everything fits well," says Combs. She then attaches the stamps after the ink has dried.
Vintage stamps come in many different denominations (especially smaller versions). But they still have to equal the amount of postage you would need today. So when it comes to vintage stamps, the higher the denomination you can find, the better. "It's impossible to fit 49 cents or more of postage on an envelope using only three-to-five cent stamps," says vintage-stamp collector Randy Lyttle of eBay store FarmerRandy83. Plan to include at least one 29-cent-or-higher stamp for each envelope. Look for sheets rather than individual stamps, and buy only "mint" or "unused." Vintage stamps can often cost two to three times their face value, especially ones from in-demand series, like the vintage "LOVE" stamps. Be sure to check seller reviews before you buy from any shop or website, and confirm the stamps are still valid, either through the seller or sites like stamps.org. And while you can use a random assortment of vintage stamps on your invites, it's a nice touch to choose a theme that has personal significance. Samantha Kramer suggests couples choose postage that showcases their story together. "Highlight elements from your home states, or an author you both love," she says.
By the Numbers
$0.49: Cost to mail a first-class envelope weighing less than one ounce.
$0.21: Cost for each additional ounce. It's also the price of the "nonmachinable" surcharge typically applied to square, oversize, or other unusually shaped envelopes that won't fit the standard postal-processing machine.
$0.70: Amount to budget per envelope for invitation suites with enclosures, like response cards and accommodations info. Remember to put the appropriately priced stamp on each RSVP card.
$0.34: Cost to mail a postcard—a budget-friendly option for save-the-dates.
$1.15: Cost of a Global Forever stamp, if you're mailing invitations internationally.