Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mail Handling Your Wedding Invitations

Let’s assume that you have already ordered your invitations and you now have your invitation mock or print proof.  

What you should do with that proof (after making sure that all the information is correct, of course) is mail it to yourself.  Take the proof to the post office, ask someone to run it over the scales and through the sorters to find out the postage costs. Buy that amount of postage, and mail it to yourself that day.  Track the number of days it takes to arrive and see what condition the envelope is in when it comes to your home.  Only after you are satisfied with the receipt and condition should you purchase postage for the total number of invitations you will be mailing.

Some glossary terms that will help you in the process are listed below.  Final tips and tricks will wrap up this Method Monday at the end of our post…
  • Postage - the total monetary value of the stamps placed on the outside envelope to guarantee delivery to the addressee or recipient. 
  • Weight - the amount of ounces the total invitation envelope measures on a calibrated postal scale.
  • First Class Postage – the current cost for mailing a ‘regular’ size 1-ounce or less envelope.  Currently that is $ .44 cents.  It is not scheduled to increase in 2011.  It is also the current value of any forever stamp.
  • Non Machineable - the categorization of an envelope that is not able to be run through the postal machines.  Anything that is too rigid, too thick or not the right shape will be considered non-machineable.  The extra fee for a non-machineable envelope is $ .21 cents
  • Square - an envelope that is the same size on both edges.  The extra fee that is paid for a square envelope is THE SAME FEE that you will pay if your invitation is too rigid to sort.
  • Oversize - any envelope whose larger edge is greater than 6 ¼” wide.  There is an extra fee for an oversize envelope.
  • Additional Postage - the amount in excess of $ .49 to mail an invitation.  Additional ounces and non-machineable fees are considered additional postage. 
  • Hand Cancelling - means having the person behind the counter use a rubber stamp to mark the postage as ‘spent.’  It WILL NOT prevent your invitation from being sent through the sorting machines.
  • Minimum mailing size - the size that a piece of mail must be in order to be legally mailable.  Currently that size is 3 ½” by 5”
  • Postcard - a single card printed with information on one side and an address on the other.  It must be a certain thickness and size to be mailable, and it costs less than first-class regular postage.  The maximum size for a postcard is 4” x 6”  Currently, the postcard costs $ .34 to mail
  • Hand Sorting - the process by which small packages are run through the postal system.  This is not the same as hand cancelling.  Hand sorting goes into a different bin at the post office.  If you want an envelope to be hand sorted – you will have to pay the non-machineable fees.
While there are several more intricacies of the US Postal Service and their categories, extra fees and additional services, this information will give you a beginning postal primer.  What to keep in mind when mailing (and sometimes when ordering) your invitations is that the general or average weight of an invitation ensemble is between 1.7 and 2.5 ounces. The first ounce is $.49 and each additional ounce will cost $.21 each.  Most pocket invitations are considered too rigid for the sorting machines, so there will be another $.21 fee.  But that also covers a square invitation, so size won’t be an obstacle when you order.

If you pay the $.21 non machineable fee, be sure to give your invitations to a person to have them HAND SORTED, not hand cancelled.  The process of hand sorting ensures that a person not a machine looks at them each step of the way.  When taking them to the counter, use the phrase “Put these with the spurs and small packages.”  It should  ensure that they are delivered to your guests in pristine condition.  Boxed invitations are considered small packages and postage costs are based upon weight and classification.

These tips and tricks should help your invitations get to their destination as pretty as they were the day they were picked up from the stationer.  Overall, if you choose to have a completely custom invitation created for you, then the additional postage costs to ensure they are gorgeous when put into your friends’ and families’ mailboxes will be small in comparison to the reduction in worry about how the post office will handle your invitations.

Thank you to Kasey Larson of DBY Invitations for allowing us to post this very informative article!!!

Until next time...WEDologize!

(photo credit - www.rushphotovideo.com)

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