Hello! For starters: I’m only cringing a little bit at the title. OK, so it’s not a dire warning about the Royal Mail. Your wedding won’t be flashmobbed by angry postmen; even postal strikes aren’t going to have that much impact on your day. So let’s not panic – this is a sensible blog post with wedding advice for couples and suppliers alike: a few things that can go wrong when you’re relying on our wonderful postal service, and how to make them go right instead. (PS do you like my pink stamps? I love Photoshop! Queen, take note!)
Pay the right postage; save on wedding invitation stamps
For anyone who didn’t know, the price of stamps is going up in April. It’s worth thinking about buying your stamps now to save lots of money. The bigger / heavier your wedding invitations, the more you’ll save by buying stamps before the 3oth of April.
The price of a first class stamp and what it covers
A standard first class stamp will cost 46p until the 30th of April, when the price will increase to 60p. Standard stamps are valid for items up to 240mm long; 165mm wide, 5mm thick and up to 100g in weight. If you’re posting 50 wedding invitations and they’re that size, that weight, you’ll save £7 (every penny counts!)
Measure and weigh your wedding invites for postage
Larger and heavier letters cost more to send. If your wedding invitations contain information sheets, diamanté buckles, or are heavy pocketfold formats, be careful to buy the right stamp for their size and weight. Never assume your wedding invitations weigh less than 100g: it all depends on the card stock you’ve used; the envelope quality, and whether you’ve included a reply slip or information sheet.
How to be sure of what your invitations will cost to post
Have one of your made-up wedding invitation packs weighed at the post office or ask your stationer to calculate the postage price for you. If you use the wrong stamps and your wedding invitations cost more to post than you’ve paid, they could be held at the delivery office while your guests are asked to stump up the additional postage cost and a £1 handling fee! Don’t forget the price increase on the 30th of April!
This happened to one of my wedding calligraphy clients this week. The poor girl felt awful as a couple of her guests had had to pay (£1.12) for their wedding invitations to be delivered!
Stamps or great big ugly postage stickers on your invites?
It might seem easier to get all your wedding invitations ready and just take them into the post office for them to add your stamps for you. If you’ve spent a lot on making your wedding invitations look good, don’t forget your envelopes. Stamps look nice but those big postage labels they use at post office counters can look awful squidged onto an envelope! Ask the counter staff to give you normal stamps instead. Even if you need more than one, two stamps look nicer than a huge sticker on your delicate little envelopes!
Wedding mail order – use Special Delivery
When you’re ordering other bits and pieces for your wedding, don’t skimp on guaranteed delivery services, and ask your suppliers how they post orders out.
Bespoke items worth £100 or more should always be sent by Special Delivery in my opinion: if the supplier charges more for this, it’s worth paying. Recorded delivery is not a viable option. In my personal experience Recorded delivery can be no better than first class: my postman never used to ask for a signature for recorded items, only for Special Deliveries. Anything ‘Recorded’ was just dumped in my porch with the normal post. Also, even if a Recorded item does go missing, you’ll have to wait a month or so before Royal Mail will accept they’ve lost it and look into the matter for you.
There is a big price difference to watch out for: Recorded delivery costs the same as first class post plus 95p while Special Delivery costs from £5.90.
See the full price list on the Royal Mail website here: Royal Mail 2012 Prices pdf
If you hover over the link it looks strange, but I promise it’s a genuine link. If in any doubt go via this page: http://www.royalmail.com/prices2012 (scroll down and click on the pdf).
Safe packaging for wedding items in the post
Don’t skimp on packaging if you are sending out parcels to suppliers or posting anything relating to your wedding: your wedding invitations, for example, for calligraphy.
I see many different packaging styles when couples send me their invitations. Some use two boxes with bubble wrap and protective foam while others simply throw placecards into a paper envelope and hope for the best.
(This week I’ve had an order for envelope calligraphy from a groom. It was very carefully packed and the envelopes arrived in perfect condition… in a box for a “cordless rechargeable leisure inflator” – which has kept me smiling all week! – it may not be beautiful packaging, but the tissue paper and careful wrapping worked like a charm.)
In my opinion it is always worthwhile using plenty of packaging to protect valuable items whether these are wedding invitations or your bridesmaids’ accessories, and wherever you are sending them to.
If you have any further advice about posting wedding invitations or sending weddingy bits through the post, please use the comments box below to share with other couples. Wedding suppliers – do you have any more tips? Eco-friendly packaging, perhaps?