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Warnings: Royal Mail and your wedding

posting wedding invites UK advice (5)
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!)

posting wedding invites UK advice (4)

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!
posting wedding invites UK advice (3)
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?

posting wedding invites UK advice (1)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!
posting wedding invites UK advice (2)

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?

Claire x

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in 2011 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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13 COMMENTS
  • Can we start a petition to have pink stamps? Ideally by the time I’m getting married! I’d be happy to pay a little bit extra for those beauties! xx

    • Claire
      6 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hee I love them too Laura! Where do I sign?! They’ve brought out nice duck-egg ones for the jubilee, which is a step forward… not as nice as my pink ones though!
      Have a lovely weekend 🙂
      Claire xxx

  • Wendy Bell
    6 years ago

    Very sensible blog post. I think the only thing you missed there is that if you’re paying for hand made wedding invitations, please DO NOT rely on the idea that all of them will be exactly the same weight! One of my close friends paid to have hand made invitations, weighed one, used the correct postage according to that particular invitation and found that the majority of her guests had to pay the post office to redeliver them as they had insufficient postage. She was absolutely mortified.

    As a wedding stationer myself, I ensure that all of my stationery products are sent to my clients either via Special Delivery or a next day, trackable and insured service (for items too large to go via Special Delivery). This way, I can guarantee they will arrive safely within 24 hours, and in the unlikely event that Royal Mail misplace them, they are insured which means that no one will be out of pocket.

    FYI, the pink stamps are fantastic! I’m pretty sure at some point I’ve seen them in a similar colour…also, did you know that you can get Royal Mail stamps created with your own photos on? Good idea for couples sending out Save The Dates or Thank You cards maybe…?

    • Claire
      6 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thanks for your comment, Wendy.

      I hadn’t thought of handmade invitations varying in weight – it’s a really good point. I guess if you weigh a sample invitation and it’s close to the 100g mark (or whatever the next one up is) then you need to be extra careful.

      I keep wondering about custom made stamps to send my calligraphy samples out with… I’ve seen them on the Royal Mail website in the past and just never got round to ordering any… envelopes make all the difference don’t they! Mind you, I’m guilty of hoarding stamps, having bought 100 a few weeks ago to last me the next few months. So I’ll have to wait!

      Thanks again Wendy, great comment 🙂

  • I ADORE the pink stamps.. I agree with Laura, let’s start a petition!!!! 🙂 T x

    • Claire
      6 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Haha… Tory, would we get one signature or two from Vickerstaff Photography on that particular petition?! I’m guessing one…

      Just writing up the most fabulous wedding blog post for next week, by the way (nod, wink…)

      Claire xxx

  • Scarlet
    6 years ago

    Nevermind the pink stamps, the calligraphy is lovely!
    Sx

  • Julie Dawson
    6 years ago

    A brilliant post! I love the pink stamps too!! I have used the royal mail smilers for my own wedding and recommended them for others. They are fun, more expensive but if you are having a medium sized wedding then its not too bad. Hope you are ok, been really bad at catching up on blogs so having a browse now.

  • Julia Stonehouse
    6 years ago

    I sent my wedding invites out on Friday 15th June 2nd class. I measured and weighed my invites and according to the Royal Mail guidelines they were fine to put out as normal post. I started to panic yesterday as no one had received anything and was informed this morning that they are all being held at the local sorting office and guests are being charged £1.20 to collect them as there is a bow on the front which apparently makes them too large! I am absoultely devastated and am trying to contact everyone to explain. Mortified!

    • Claire
      6 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Oh Julia my heart goes out to you! If it’s any consolation I’m sure your comment here will help other couples and encourage everyone to be really cautious.
      The sticking point can often be the thickness of your envelopes and invitations: as you say, the bow on the front may just have made them ever so slightly too thick for the standard postage cost.
      It’s that plastic thing they have at post offices, with a little slot the counter staff pass your invitations through to measure them. I send out so many samples of various things and I’ve seen some staff will charge extra if an envelope doesn’t slide through as easily as if you’d greased it; others will give a thicker envelope a bit of a shove to get it through and save you money. Problem is, it’s not an exact science for them or for us – and I think that’s causing lots of issues for customers.
      Julia – it’s such a shame for you; you’re doing the right thing by contacting your guests to explain, but they’ll understand. And I promise you, you’re not the first person this has happened to by any means.
      Claire xxx

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