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What I've Learned About Stamps This Week

Jul 10, 2012 09:04PM ● Published by Anonymous

Because my heart is pounding and my hands are sweating at the very thought of writing this post, I’m going to keep it simple.

Thoughts, Tips, and Lessons I’ve Learned About Stamps. (And Post Cards. And Invitations.) In no particular order.

1. The post office is a nightmare. And a time vacuum. Bless their sweet hearts, the women behind the counter are as patient as can be, but standing in that line—watching the minutes of your lunch break tick down and reminding yourself that a granola bar in your car will do if it means checking off that monstrous box on your to-do list (because let’s face it: the lunch break is the only convenient time someone with traditional hours can get to the post office)—is enough to make you lose your mind.

2. They should warn you in the paper store—to brace yourself. For the stamps. You’ve spent all this time and money creating and acquiring the most adorable invitations you’ve ever seen. You couldn’t be more proud. And then you have to apply this giant thing with clashing colors and a conflicting theme. Unless…

3. There are options. Options that will nag at your conscience—and your wallet. You can customize your stamps to match your invitations perfectly. But it’ll cost you. Note to brides: Find appropriate custom stamps in advance, and then account for the cost in your invitation budget. Otherwise, you’ll go back and forth at the last minute on whether to shell out $100+ more for cuter stamps. The more budget friendly route? Prepare yourself. See #2.

4. Postcard RSVPs are not as simple as they sound. And this explanation is long and confusing, but it’s the root of my stress this week, so buckle up. The idea is that post card RSVPs are great for saving a little bit of money, on postage—it’s only 32 cents to send a post card as opposed to 45 cents for a letter—and on envelopes—they don’t require one. We decided that it’d also save time, because we were happy to print our return address on the post cards in the same type as the other information. If we’d included return addressed reply cards with envelopes, we’d spend time and/or money to have those written out in calligraphy. However, brides-to-be, when you see how ugly the 32-cent stamps are, you will reconsider sticking one to your adorable RSVP card. In fact, you’ll even have a tough time sticking a 45 cent stamp on one (never have I found a bonsai tree so offensive)—still not great, but trust me, the lesser of two evils. So what are your options as far as RSVP cards go? Well…


Option 1. You can suck it up and stick the 32 cent stamp on the post card and call it a day. Currently, the 32 cent stamps are neon colors with Hawaiian shirts. If you are having a tiki/Jimmy Buffet/Caribbean themed wedding, boy did you luck out. You can stop reading here.


Option 2. For 13 cents more per invitation (and this is the option we’ve chosen) you can stick a less offensive 45 cent stamp on your RSVP card—and in this case, the only money you’ve actually saved is on the envelopes, and potentially on the calligraphy of that envelope. 


Option 3. For an extra dollar(ish) per invite, you could order custom stamps that match your RSVP cards. This seems to be a popular choice. But I warn you—if you don’t consider the stamp in the original design phase, even a matching/coordinating one will detract from the overall look. 


Option 4. (And this is the option we would have chosen if we’d thought about it in advance.) You could skip the post card, get the envelope, and put a 45 cent stamp on that. It still won’t match your stationary per se, but it’ll be bearable, because it will be on the envelope and not on your cutely designed reply card. And if you do the calligraphy yourself, or simply print your own return address, you’d only spend the cost of the envelope, plus the 13 extra cents on the stamp, which is probably still cheaper than ordering custom stamps. In our case, one of my sweet sisters did the calligraphy, so while she’d hate me for throwing a third envelope into the mix, the cost (not including that of time) would be the same.


Option 5. See, it’s really out of control. You could put the cute well-designed RSVP information on one side, and your return address on the other. Then you can use that Hawaiian shirt gem on the back, and no one will notice. (Okay, some people will probably still notice, but who needs them anyway, right?) But in this case, you’d have to price out the option of printing the cards on both sides. I wanted to figure out that estimate to provide here for reference, I really did, but I feel the panic setting in and figured maybe you’d like a little mystery. No?


5. No one—and I mean no one—will put as much thought into this as you will. I won’t even look into statistics for the number of people who rip open wedding envelopes like bears after a jar of honey. But trust me—they’re out there. Some people won’t even see the stamp. Some people won’t even see the invitation. It’s sad, but true. You’ve seen all those cute photos, on various wedding blogs, of stationary taken on the wedding day? You want one of those photos from your big day? Take note: the envelope’s never in it. (And for goodness sake, give your photographer a reply card that doesn't have a stamp on it.)

So I’ll tell other brides-to-be what I’ve been trying to tell myself: at the end of the day, it’s just a minor detail. And if anyone complains, send their thank-you note via email. (Kidding, don’t really do that. But think about it and giggle, and then do send it with the ugliest stamp you can find.)

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