Invitation Maven

Invitation Postage

When I design custom invitations, planning your invitation postage is an important part of the process, and something I can help with. As if designing an invitation package isn’t hard enough for some of my clients, many of them are stumped when it comes time to figure out the postage. There are several things you should keep in mind: the size, weight and even the shape of the envelope all have to be considered, not to mention remembering that postage has to be included on the response envelope.

Several of these items can be determined ahead of time. The U.S. Postal Service publishes its envelope guidelines on the Internet. These guidelines are determined based on what size envelopes can go through their automated machines.

Below is a screenshot from the USPS website of the dimensions the post office considers “machinable.”

Click to enlarge

Assuming your envelope fits within these dimensions and weighs one ounce or less, you only need one stamp.

But sometimes the weight of the inserts inside your invitation package will push the total weight over one ounce. Or one of the dimensions of your outer mailing envelope will exceed the machinable size. When this happens, you’ll need to add more postage. And if you use a square envelope, you’ll have to remember to add a square envelope surcharge even if the total weight is less than one ounce.

The USPS posts all of its rates and mailing parameters online. This is good resource for a quick reference or to get a basic idea of what your postage charges will be for budgeting purposes. But the best way to know for sure is to take a completed invitation package to the post office and have a postal clerk weigh and measure it. There’s nothing worse than receiving all your invitations back because they didn’t have enough postage!

But don’t worry.

One of the services I provide that can help you plan the postage for your invitation is to create a complete prototype. The prototype includes all of the papers, envelopes and inserts of your final invitation package. It’s the exact size and weight of your actual invitation because it is your actual invitation.

You or I can then take this prototype to the post office to determine the exact postage it will require. Then, once we know that, you can purchase a variety of decorative stamps available at most post office locations. Or we can design your own custom postage — another service I provide. But that’s a discussion for another post!

–Marlene Widawer,
The Invitation Maven

a9_rectangle_invitation_envelopeP.S. Here’s what I’m talking about regarding the envelope sizes. Rectangular envelopes are pretty standard. Take a look at this pink one.

Compare that one to the white 8 1/2 inch square envelope. Notice how the square shape gives a very different look. The shape we’ll use for your invitations depends on the invitation design.