Hi everyone and welcome back to the blog! It's a busy season over here getting custom wedding invitations designed, envelopes addressed with calligraphy, and adorned with vintage postage - which is our topic today.
Vintage postage seems to be a growing trend in the wedding industry, as well as for all mailings - I've seen vintage stamps adorning baby shower invitations, Christmas cards, and even simple letters. They really make the envelope stand out and with so many options to choose from, it can be a fun way to pull the theme of your wedding invitations to the outside of the envelope.
I receive a lot of questions about vintage postage & today I wanted to answer a few! If I miss any please feel free to ask in the comments below or to shoot a message to me at email@example.com - I would love to hear from you!
Can vintage postage be used to send wedding invitations?
Absolutely! But that postage has to be unhinged - which means it has never been canceled by the post office before. When postage is canceled it has either been run through a machine or hand-canceled. There will be a marking/stamp/date on the front of the stamp. That tells the post office that it's been used before and therefore no longer has value for sending letters.
When you are looking for vintage postage to use to adorn your wedding invitations, search unhinged vintage postage or MNH vintage postage (mnh means "Mint - Never Hinged" which is a term for stamp collectors).
How many vintage stamps do I need to be able to send my wedding invitations?
You need as much postage as you would of regular postage! USPS changes rates every so often but the cost of sending mail is currently .50c for letters under 1 ounce, .71c for letters between 1-2 ounces, and .21c for each additional ounce. Larger sizes or special shaped envelopes are also subject to an additional charge.
You need to come up with a collection of vintage stamps that adds up to the current postage rate for the weight your letter is. I tend to look for a higher value vintage postage stamp (between .20-.35c) and then add from there.
Some of the vintage postage sets I've put together for my couple's have had 3 stamps and some have had 6! It's possible to have even more but you do want to make sure to have space on your envelope once they're all adhered ;)
How do I adhere vintage postage to my envelopes?
First, I highly recommend playing around with your stamps to see different layouts until you come to a final decision. Then, address your envelopes (before adhering the stamps!), remembering where the stamps will be placed according to the layout you decide on.
I always tell people to save adhering the vintage postage to envelopes until the envelopes have been addressed so that if there are any mistakes in the address, the envelope can be thrown out but you won't lose any stamps along with it!
A couple tools I recommend for adhering vintage postage are either an envelope moistener, like this one, or a glue stick. Vintage stamps were not all self-adhesive and were licked to get them ready for adhering - but we must remember that this glue is just as old as the stamps! And who knows where they've been!!
One last tip is to be dedicated to where you place the stamp. I've tried to shift vintage postage before after placing a corner/edge down on an envelope addressed in calligraphy, and the glue can leave a sort of stain/mark on the envelope.
How can I ensure my envelopes are treated with care at the post office?
First, make sure you have the correct amount of postage for your wedding invitations - if they end up weighing more than you have postage for, you may have to return home and find a solution. I highly recommend you take a fully assembled wedding invitation suite into your local post office to have weighed (all invitation pieces, envelopes, ribbon, wax seals - whatever you are going to be mailing!). This will help you know how much postage to have.
Second, when you are all ready to ship them out, I recommend calling your local post office and asking if they will hand-cancel envelopes. Some will not because they are very busy, but others will or will hand their canceling stamp over to you to cancel the postage.
This means they/you take a stamp with the date and make sure each stamp has a marking on it (even if it's just a corner!). This cancels the vintage postage and gives your envelope more of a chance to not be run through the machines at the post office that tend to mark up envelopes more than simple hand-canceling.
Whew! I feel like that was a lot! If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comments section below. If you are curious or want to find out more about my design and calligraphy services, please send me a message on my contact page, I would LOVE to hear from you!
Curious about the other stamp options? Check out my blog post about the 3 different kinds of postage to decide what's best for you.
All my best,