By now you've probably heard about the postage increase from $0.50 to $0.55, but have you considered how this might impact the final cost of your wedding invitations? While five cents might not seem like all that much at first, but when you factor in the amount of mail you'll be sending in regards to your wedding day over the next few months, you might have a change of heart. For example, if you're like most couples, you're likely sending a save-the-date, shower invitation, and wedding invitation—that's in addition to the self-addressed, stamped RSVP card for each guest and your post-nuptial thank-you cards.
"Postage absolutely affects a couple's budget, not just because there are multiple things to mail, but because there are so many other factors that go into sending things through the mail for weddings," says Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design. For instance, she explains that many couples opt for a square save-the-date or invitation, which increases the price of the postage because it's a "special size." "This is one of those areas where the budget is stretched just a little bit more, but when you add them all together, you wind up over budget."
When you break this down, with the average wedding of 200 people needing about 100 invitations, the postage increase will affect the cost of RSVP envelopes by about $5.00 per 100 invitations, explains Lisa Purcell, owner of Art Paper Scissors. That means you'll be paying about $55 for RSVP card postage at this quantity. "The good news is that mailing a wedding invitation is generally over the one-ounce limit of postage with all of the adornments, enclosures, and various insert cards that are added to the invitations, putting them into the two-ounce or more category," she adds. "The cost has not increased at all for two-ounce stamps, which means that the only extra cost couples will see is for their stamped RSVP envelopes."
So, how should a couple budget for these cost increases? Rothweiler suggests establishing a stationery budget before starting anything else. "The more details that go into the stationery, the more money you will end up spending," she says, not just because of the increase cost of postage, but because each piece is associated with more work on the part of your stationer. "I've seen many couples try and move forward on stationery, only to get stuck because they weren't on the same page with how much they were ready to spend overall."
Next, determine what's important and what's not. "Especially when budget is a concern, there are easy ways to save with stationery." Rothweiler says. "Many times the look can be achieved without all of the details." With fewer pieces in your stationery, though, it may fall into the one-ounce range, which is associated with this new, higher cost of postage, so it's worth weighing out samples to know exactly what your final invites will cost.
Last, but not least, talk to your stationery designer. They have the knowledge to help you save without giving up on the look you really want. "If you're working with a custom designer, be upfront about your overall budget and what you need and want," says Rothweiler. "Once you have a clear list of what is most important, the designer can show you ways to get that and stay within budget."