TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Choose a “reply by” date that gives guests plenty of time to respond. This is typically three or four weeks from the date the cards are received (plan on one week for mailing time). I also recommend lightly numbering the back of each reply card in case a guest accidentally mails back the cards without a name. (This happens far more frequently than one would expect!) Keep a corresponding numbered guest list so you can solve any mystery replies.
Before buying your postage, take a field trip to your local post office with a complete set of your invitations in hand. A USPS representative will weigh the set and provide the amount needed for the outer envelope. Keep in mind that extra large or square shapes and extra-thick paper can add to the cost. Thick, luxurious papers can incur an extra fee called a “rigid charge,” so be sure to ask if it applies! If you have any international guests, ask what the total will be for destination. And don’t forget to get postage so you can pre-stamp your reply cards as well! It’s a classy courtesy (and also increases the chances of prompt replies!)
STAMP IN STYLE
Choosing stamps that coordinate with the style and color palette of your invitations is a thoughtful detail that adds cohesiveness or a peek into the couple’s personality. It can also help to brand your wedding along with an adorable return label stamp!
ALWAYS HAND CANCEL
Hand canceling means your postage is manually validated with a stamp. If you don’t hand cancel, your invitations will be processed through machines which add not-so-pretty barcodes and are very unforgiving to the contents of your invitations! It’s such a shame to receive a beautifully calligraphed invitation or colorful envelope with scuffs, marks, or even tears. Not all postal branches technically offer this service, so turn on the charm when you’re asking! The first 50 hand cancellations are free, but after that you’ll need to pay 5 cents per envelope.
Just in case! Plan for a few invitations to be lost in the mail or addressed incorrectly, and remember that you might have last minute guest additions. I recommend ordering at least 15 to 20 extra invitation sets.