Where to start?
While shopping for stamps, it’s best, in my opinion, to take care of the larger denomination stamp first. These are typically in the 20 cent and up range. Having the larger denomination taken care of you can then fill in the rest of the postage cost you need with the smaller denomination stamps. Getting the larger denomination out of the way ensures your envelope won’t have too many stamps because you fell in love too quickly with the smaller denomination stamps and now have ten or more to create your 70 cent postage rate. *Must have all the stamps!*
While beautiful, it is possible to over-do vintage stamp ensembles. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 5 stamps on your envelope. Arrangement is key to making the stamps feel well planned and thoughtful. But of course, like all things in design, some rules are meant to be broken, as long as the design of the entire envelope works and feels right with your overall style, the sky (and the US postal service guidelines) is the limit!
Why do my wedding invitations cost more to mail?
The average minimum requirement for wedding stationery tends to be averages around the 70¢ range. Wedding stationery tends to be more than your standard first class stamp rate because they are in most cases unusually shapped (square, thicker envelopes etc.) or rigid. Additionally, anytime we use ribbons or wax seals inside your envelope we must ensure it does not go through the machines at the post office. Going through a machine with a seal or ribbon increases the risk of the envelope getting caught and tearing your gorgeous invitation apart. This extra bulk in the envelope makes a piece *non-machinable* and subject to the surcharge rate, even if the weight is less than an ounce.
Be sure to include your calligrapher or designer
It’s best to consider how your stamps will work together on the envelope not only with each other, but also with the addressing. Depending on the grouping you select it may be best to have the stamps in a straight line on the top, a rectangle or square, or an asymmetrical design in the corner. Once you have your stamps together have fun creating patterns that work best for what you have chosen. Dont forget to consider how the final address will play with your stamp layout. It may be best to test out an address or two to get a better feel of how the entire envelope will look.
Tell your stationer and/or calligrapher as soon as possible if you plan to incorporate vintage stamps into your wedding stationery. A calligrapher will definitely need to know so he or she can leave enough room at the top of the envelope for your stamp layout. They may also have a few nifty ideas up their sleeve for the layout! Think of your vintage stamps, envelope and calligraphy as a single art piece, you want the whole piece to flow flavorfully together and not have a single part feel cramped or unplanned for. Since postage can sometimes take up more room than just the single corner rectangle we plan for, it’s nice to have a heads up so the calligrapher working on your envelopes doesn’t write in the area to be covered by your stamps.
Will my Calligrapher/designer order stamps for me?
If you are using Blush and Blue designs for both your invitations and calligraphy, you can let me know your interest in using vintage stamps during our initial consultation and I will be more than happy to seek out coordinating stamps for your envelopes! Most other calligraphers and designers are also happy to help their clients research and purchase vintage postage. Just bring up your interest in a vintage stamp ensemble early in the production phase of your project so we may begin purchasing and collecting your stamps in a timely manner.
Looking for an alternative to vintage stamps? Custom designed stamps that match artwork we have created for your invitation suite is another beautifully unique way to obtain a consistent look and feel.
How much will vintage stamps cost me?
Most vintage stamp collectors price their stamps at higher than face value. For example a set of 10 6¢ stamps may end up costing $9 or more, once the vendor (stamp collector) factors in rarity, their admin fees, shipping, etc. If vintage stamps are part of your dream ensemble we will discuss adding this as part of your budget. A good rule of thumb I like to go by is - calculate first how much you think the postage will cost you, for example 70 cents per invite, then times that by 1.5 or 2. For an average 100 peace suite that would be roughly $140. This number may be a little higher than what you’ll end up, or it could be lower, but you will at least have a ball-park range so you are not caught off guard by the final pricing.
Your stationery designer, should you be using one, will work with you to ensure you have all the stamp values you need to successfully mail your final pieces. I personally think it’s well worth the extra small investment to find beautifully coordinating stamps that help make a visual impact on your envelopes. When your guests first pick up your envelope from their mailbox they will know that the enclosed is something special, elegant and well thought of.
Sourcing of vintage stamps is always complimentary as part of your order with Blush and Blue Designs, our clients just pay the final postage costs.
Where do you order vintage stamps?
A few of my personal favorite places to order stamps are listed below. Sometimes I mix and match my vendors based on availability, and sometimes I try new ones because they have a stamp collection my client loves. When ordering stamps I will sometimes reach out to the collector personally to let them know which stamps I will be needing so they can help curate my order and offer recommendations of matching stamps that I may not have known they had.
eBay - You can find some hidden gems on eBay, but you may have to dig a bit. If you’re looking for a larger quantity of certain stamps, this may also be a good place to begin your search.
Etsy - Etsy has been my main place to go for stamps, there is a good assortment of collectors and I love how easy it is to contact the shop owners. My favorite shops are:
Little Postage House https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlePostageHouse
Vintage Postage Shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/VintagePostageShop I just love her logo as well!
So in conclusion below is a short recap of everything we went over!
- Plan early, let your calligrapher or stationery designer know you plan on using vintage stamps as soon as possible.
- Don't over do it. Keep the number of vintage stamps to 5 or less.
- take care of the larger denomination stamp first. These are typically in the 20 cent and up range. Having the larger denomination taken care of, you can now fill in the rest of the postage cost you need with the smaller denomination stamps.
- Arrangement is key, plan how you want your stamps to look on your envelope (or have your stationer do this part for you) if you are doing the envelopes yourself, take a picture so you remember what it looks like!
- Plan your budget accordingly, vintage stamps are often set at higher than face value. Remember a ball-park range may be your total postage x 2.
So that is all for today friends! I hope you have found this post informative.
All my best,