Monday, April 14, 2014

Wedding Stamps (and what no one tells you about wedding planning)

I finished our wedding invitations and weighed them in my imagination. I put the invitation across my hand, moved my hand up and down like a scale trying to balance and declared: "Eight ounces."

I went to the post office's website and saw that an 8oz. envelope was about $2.50 to mail. Times 110. Out of my budget.

So I used my hand as a scale again and determined they were no more than six ounces.

That's about $2.03.

I walked into Ace Hardware (which doubles as a post office), stressing over the fact that I was about to drop $220 or so on stamps. I was regretting my decision of 110lb. cardstock rather than 88lb. because it looks nicer. At this point, I didn't care about nicer. I cared about the fact that $220 in stamps was way out of my budget.

"Charge it and at least get the points," my mom told me.

I walked past the paint and nails and gardening tools to the post office. I handed my beautiful purple envelope over to the associate and took a breath. When he says $2, don't flinch, I told myself.

"They're 70 cents each," he said.

"Really?" I said, trying to make sure I heard right. Maybe he said $1.70 or $2.70, I thought. Don't get excited yet.

"They're a little over an ounce," he said. "If they were a little lighter, they'd only be a normal stamp. But since they're over, they're higher. You can't get them down a little, can you?"

"Oh gosh no," I said, catching my breath. "I thought they were going to be two dollars each, so the fact that they're only 70 cents each, that's awesome."

Finally, something had gone right.

He looked through his stamps, and I wasn't expecting much of a variety at Ace Hardware, especially since the examples on the counter were Jimi Hendrix or flowers. Flowers would work, I thought. And then the associate pulled out butterflies. I told him they were fine and he looked under those to find cakes.

"Those are perfect!" I yelled.

"You like cake," he said, then looked at them and exclaimed, "Oh! These are wedding cakes!"

We were both excited.

Wedding stamps (and what no one tells you about wedding planning) from should be required reading for anyone who is wedding planning!

When people talk about weddings, they talk about the beauty of it, how every detail was perfect and it was the happiest day of their life, the day they had dreamed of since they were a little girl.

What people don't talk about is the sweat and tears that it took to get to that point.

No one tells you about the stress, no one tells you how it gets (almost) impossibly difficult to make a decision because you have made so many already you just don't care anymore. No one tells you that the victories are going to be small and the battles are going to be large. No one tells you that you have no choice but to sweat the small stuff.

Yes, you have to sweat the small stuff.

When you're at the florist, you will ask for pew bows. And when you do, the florist will ask if you want tulle or organza for the bow itself. And you can't say, "I don't care" or "Surprise me." The florist will charge you for things, many things, but a surprise is not one of them. So you have to make a decision. You have to pick. And the visual difference, really, is the size of the holes in the mesh. Is it really that important? Arguably, no. But you don't have a choice to not worry about it. You have to worry about it.You have to make the decision. You are planning a wedding and you have to make a decision on every single little detail, no matter how irrelevant it feels.

And things will go wrong. You will have your heart set on organza and decide and feel good about your decision ... and then you'll come to find out that organza only comes in royal blue and you had previously selected navy. Will royal blue work? Would you prefer a pure blue? Or what about a light blue? And just like that, the decision you made and the item you crossed off your To Do list comes back.

It will happen. Trust me.

So what do you do? You get excited, overly excited, when something does go your way. When your wedding stamps are only $.70 each rather than $2, you cheer, you celebrate, you get so overjoyed that even the associate at the post office in Ace Hardware gets excited when he finds stamps with wedding cakes on them.

And you savor that.

The end will justify the means. Your wedding will be beautiful, every detail will be perfect and it will be the happiest day of your life, the day you had dreamed of since you were a little girl. But the process to get there will be a rough and shaky road with more trips and falls than victories.

So when you do have a victory, enjoy it. And the next time something crashes and burns (because it will) remember that small victory you had and help it carry you through until the next one.

Update: Did you know you can actually order wedding stamps on Amazon? News to me!

BRIDAL BABBLE: What's the last small victory you had?


  1. Those are the same stamps I used :).

    As a stationer, I'm always conscious of making my designs as stamp-friendly as possible. One detail I always offer is using postcard RSVPs instead of "regular" ones. Not only do you save on the envelope, but you can get special postcard stamps that are cheaper than first class ones.

  2. Yay on that victory!! It sounds like a small one to a regular person, but anyone that's planned a wedding or other big event knows it's a gigantic win!! Every penny you save allows you to stash away a bit for your honeymoon, or that ice sculpture you just didn't think you could afford.

    As a wedding coordinator, a lot of brides tell me they can't afford me, but after the wedding wish they had spent to
    he money. They don't realize that I think of things like extra postage because I have done this many times over, and in the long run the money spent on me can save them even more in other areas, not to mention the stress-relief in having me take care of "small" details like that.

  3. Another stamp-related thing I learned is that square invites (and cards in general) cost more than traditional rectangular ones, even if weight is ok. I've told this to many friends when they were picking out invites. So unless you're dead-set on that cute square invite, save money and use the rectangle shape!

    1. That's a great tip Brennan. Oversized and undersized invitations cost more too. Most people think about it for large ones, but small cards have to be hand-sorted so an additional cost will be incurred. All these little things add up!

  4. If feel your pain, but also the thrills as somethings go right don't let it get you. I almost did and I would have lost my dominate, but Thank goodness some one had this talk to me. This to shall pass and the best is to come. God bless grandma's they make sense later on, and now we celebrate 25 years of marriage. I don't regret a thing and everything worked out. Harder decisions will come after, but then there will be 2 of you together. Hope I helped, Cheryl

  5. Such a good point about the decision making and how we do actually have to sweat the small stuff. It's driving me insane, but I couldn't quite articulate why making a zillion decisions about minute things that I could care less about stresses me out. Great post!