Wedding invitations can be small and cheery or large and dramatic. But if they're heavy and you're having a big wedding, the high cost of mailing them could throw your budget off track. Did you even budget for stamps? Many brides don't think of it until the invitations arrive from the printer's and they're ready to mail them. Then they get hit with an unexpected postage bill that takes a hefty chunk out of their big-day funds. To avoid that kind of surprise, here's what to do before ordering your invites.
Weigh a complete invitation sample.
Do this for every invite you're considering. "Complete" means the invitation, reply card, map or direction card, envelopes, and anything else you're throwing in. The more enclosures, the heavier the weight. Don't forget that thicker card stock, the heavier the entire suite will be, so it could be worth asking for samples at various weights to see which option is right for you.
Know the actual rates.
To give you an idea of how much first-class mailing costs for a standard-size rectangular envelope, the United States Postal Service (USPS) charges 50 cents per stamp for an invitation weighing up to one ounce, whether it's a Love stamp or a flag. With all the enclosed cards and envelopes, though, most wedding invites weigh more than one ounce. The USPS charges 21 cents for each additional ounce: Invitations weighing up to two ounces costs 71 cents, up to three ounces costs 92 cents, and so on.
Don't choose an envelope in a nonstandard shape.
That square invite you're considering? The USPS will add a surcharge per invitation to mail it. But that's not because of the invitation itself—it's the envelope. Any envelope that's not a standard rectangular shape can't be processed by an automatic sorter and instead must be done by hand, and that takes more time, thus the price increase. The surcharge is an extra 21 cents for each additional ounce (for example, a two-ounce invite will cost 92 cents).
Understand that if you're inviting 150 guests, you don't need 150 stamps.
See, you just "saved" a lot if you were figuring it out, mistakenly, as one guest equals one invite. Couples, married or unmarried, who live together receive one invitation, as do family members who all live at the same address.