I am sure you are hoping for the same smooth planning that I was. When I first started planning my wedding I made sure that I was the epitome of an organized, calm, non-bridezilla bride. I figured that the more organized I was the less chance of something going wrong. We had smooth sailing for a good 9 months of our engagement. Until it was time to send out our invitations.
I did all of my research about mailing wedding invitations. I knew I had to get them weighed and then get specific stamps based on the weight. So being organized and ahead of the game, I decided to bring a sample invitation to the post office to get it weighed in April just so I had an idea of how much the stamps would cost us. When I walked into the post office I was greeted by, a not so happy, postal worker behind the counter. I explained that I needed my invitations weighed. With a smug look on her face she weighed them for me. I was told that my invitations would cost 70 cents to mail because they were heavier than a normal letter but still the same size and would fit through the sorting machine. Because I need to always double and triple check myself, I went back to two different post office to get the invitations weighed again just to be 100% sure before I sent them out to be mailed. All three said 70 cents so I was extremely pleased it all seemed to be going smoothly. I bought the 70 cent stamps and went on my way.
A few weeks went by and we were ready to mail our invitations. I stamped them all with 70 cent stamps and went with my two big boxes filled to a different post office because it was closer to my house. The postal worker took one of my envelopes and weighed it. He looked up and told me it is going to cost 90 cents to mail, not 70. My jaw dropped. I explained to him what the other post offices had said and how I had already stamped them. He told me I could take a chance and send them as is but then run the risk of all the invitations coming back to me with a “return to sender” sticker. I wasn’t going to fight it because I just wanted them sent. He went to get the additional 20 cent stamp for me but all he had to offer was a stamp with Lincoln’s head on it. I just couldn’t put that on my wedding invitations, I needed them to be perfect. He encouraged me to go to another post office who would definitely have better stamps in the next town over.
Here I went on another journey to another post office. Once again I asked them to weigh the invitation just to be sure and once again I got a DIFFERENT price. At this point I wanted to rip my hair out, give up and hand-deliver my invitations. I, once again, explained to the postal worker that I had gone to four post offices and gotten two different prices and now I was getting a third. She explained that yes if it just went by weight the price of 70 cents would be right but the width of my invitation was larger than that of a standard letter and would cost extra to send through the post office by hand rather than by machine so it would be $1.19. She said that I would need one 70 cent stamp and one 49 cent stamp.
I was annoyed. VERY annoyed. Not because of the cost but more because of the inconsistency of the postal service. I did my homework by going to multiple post offices yet I got three different prices. I was also annoyed thinking about what would have happened if I would have sent out my white metallic, professionally addressed, enveloped invitations with the wrong postage. They probably would’ve been sent back to me with “return to sender” stickers and stamps on them. It would have been a total DISASTER! I was also upset with the fact that now my invitation was going to have TWO stamps on it. I wanted them to look perfect and now to me they didn’t. All I could do at this point was say “OK. Fine. Just give me the stamps so I can get these mailed”.
This part of my saga had ended. I stamped the envelopes and sent them on their way. I was hoping the postal drama would be over…
I was at my parent’s house when their invitation was delivered. I opened it with joy and anticipation to see if they made it through unharmed. As soon as I opened it I noticed that the jewel inside the invitation had poked a hole into the insert cards and smudged the ink. Obviously a minor issue in the grand scheme of things but after everything I had been through with the postal service this just added fuel to my fire. Luckily, no other invitations had been damaged (that I am aware of) and it must’ve just been a fluke accident.
After all of this, I leave you with a few pieces of advice:
- Ask questions at the post office. Don’t take the first price you get. Ask them if they accounted for weight as well as width of the envelope, especially if you have something inside your invitation like I did that adds a little to the width.
- Check with different post offices to make sure you get the same price. If you notice inconsistency, speak up!
- Beware that metallic envelopes do not fair well through the postal service machines. Most envelopes arrived with black streaks from the machine rollers and some of the ink was smudged on the outside.
- If you have anything special inside your invitation that may cause damage or be fragile, ask for hand handling. The roller machine pushed on the jewel inside and it poked a hole through the inserts and smudged the ink on the insert cards.
- DON’T STRESS! If this is the only thing that goes wrong during wedding planning you are lucky! Looking back I realize what a small blip this was but at the time it was the most frustrating thing I had gone through.
I hope your mailing adventures run quickly and smoothly! Happy Wedding Planning!