For you brides who've sent your invitations out after May 15th, you'll probably know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're at that stage where you're needing to send out your invites- you'll want to read carefully.
First- the postage choices right now aren't great. There were some new "heart" postage stamps out for the heavier invitations- up to 2 ozs. Anything over that, and you'll be strugglng to find something pretty. So what to do?
Look at all (I mean ALL- little stamps included) of your stamp options and see if you can create a neat looking collage with them. Another option is to find vintage stamps on outlets like Ebay (just make sure they aren't cancelled) and create a collage that way to give your postage a unique look.
Another thing some of my brides (and myself) have been running into is postal workers who aren't familiar with wedding invitations and postage regulations surrounding them. One bride was recently told her invite, a 5x7 pocketfold with a few cards (weighing exactly 2 oz) was going to cost $1.34 because it was rigid and therefore non-machinable and would fall under parcel costs. Nuh-uh! Thankfully, she asked someone else who got the postage correct- .79. So what happened and why did she get two different answers? Most postal workers don't deal with invites on a daily basis and there are so many "if this, then this" type situations with postage regulations, they just aren't that familiar with them. But, having dealt with this several times myself, here's my take on this (using the www.usps.com site as a guideline).
Postage for letters first follow weight guidelines. The first ounce is .42, over that, up to 2 oz, .59, up to 3 oz, .76. If your invitation is square or deemed rigid by the postal worker, there is a .20 non-machinable surcharge (essentially this means your invite is getting hand-cancelled because it won't fit or pass through the machines). So you are first charged postage, THEN a surcharge if necessary. I've had some workers not know about the surcharge, so remember that if it's square- you'll want to get the extra .20 of postage or your guests might have their invites come either postage due or they will all be sent back to you. But, even though this is how I understand it through reading the USPS website and talking with my local post office, always alway always check with your post office with an invitation IN HAND before buying your stamps. And if an answer doesn't sound right to you, ask them to double check with someone else. But it doesn't hurt to check the website ahead of time with your specific size and weight too. You may end up knowing something they don't.
Another thing you might run into is strangeness surrounding postcards. Right now, there's ONE postcard stamp available- fruits. They're not horrible, but they aren't very wedding-y either. So you might want to look into other postage to hit your .27 or buy a .42 stamp. But you'll also need to watch your sizes. The largest postage size you can do is a 4x6. BUT, if you do an odd size under that (for instance, 3.5 x 5 and 4x6 are fairly common sizes, but we do a lot in 4.25 x 5.5), it needs to fall within a specific ratio (which is 1.25). Canadian postcard sizes are different- so if you are sending to Canada, double check to see if your sizes will need more postage.
Lastly, if you are sending invitations overseas, don't bother putting postage on the RSVPs- foreign governments don't recognize our postage, so they will have to buy postage their in order to send it back.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself and ask your stationer for her take on your invitations. Chances are we've had to either get postage for similar invitations or know how much it "should" cost. But, in the end, it always comes down to your post office. But it doesn't hurt to double check with another worker, or even try a different post office.