So your invites are all designed - you're ready to take them to the post office for drop off. Imagine, you are surprised to pay $.66 per invitation when you thought it would be only $.44 per invite. Your total bill for postage on 200 invitations equals around $220 (for both invite & response card). Unfortunately, I have no need to imagine this scenario as it's what happened to me when I was a bride.
Postage can make or break your invitation budget. Overall, it's suggested that brides spend anywhere from 5 - 10% of their total budget on their invitations. Assuming that postage falls underneath that category, don't let stamps alone take 1 or 2 percent of that cost. Here are a few tips for mailing your very special invitations for the biggest, baddest, and most beautiful party you'll most likely ever throw.
The USPS has guidelines for mailing anything. Let's break it down piece by piece.
1. Anything square is considered extra postage and require additional stamps or more expensive ones than just a standard piece of mail. This is the mistake I personally made as a bride to be. Not having this knowledge can cause you to spill over your invite budget and have to take from somewhere else. If you're carefully minding that bottom line, please consider a different shaped invitation as it will save you. FYI: the most common size is a 5x7".
2. Anything measuring over 5.75 x 8.75 (or an A9 envelope) is considered extra large and requires additional postage.
3. The smallest size considered mail-able is 3.75 x 5.75 (of an A1/ 4Bar envelope). This is the traditional size for response cards, however anything smaller than this, the post office will not mail.
Not only does the post office have strict regulations on size and shape, they consider anything weighing over 1 ounce extra postage as well. The amount of extra depends on the weight of the item. Typically any pocket invitation will be over an ounce. Those with wax seals will most likely be over an ounce. Letterpressed invitations can also possibly be overweight due to the materials (special paper) used in manufacturing. It is my advice to take your invite, completed and assembled, to the post office to determine the postage before buying all the stamps as soon as you're engaged.
For those who are considering post cards, the USPS has regulations on those as well.
The minimum size still stays the same at 3.5 x 5" (the enclosure size of an A1/4Bar envelope). The largest size is 4.25 x 6 without extra postage or an envelope.
A post card also needs to be at least 80# cover weight or about 10 point basis weight. However, they cannot be thicker than 1/4".
Additionally, those beautiful mounted reply cards you've seen will not suffice as post cards. Post cards are required to be a single sheet only, so skip the mounting if taking this route.
Here's hoping this little post helps you avoid the shock of under-budgeting. Enjoy this process as much as your guests will enjoy receiving your invites. If you have any questions, please give us a shout!