The U.S. Postal Service Will Discontinue Personalized Stamps
If there was ever a time to order custom postage stamps, it's now. Engaged couples in the throes of wedding planning will rely heavily on the United States Postal Service for guest correspondence in the months and year ahead. As the USPS has long remained essential for getting invitations, save-the-dates, reply cards and thank you cards (change-the-dates, even, amid a pandemic) from point A to point B, a recent announcement could prompt to-be-weds to submit a flurry of orders for custom postage stamps before they go away on June 16, 2020.
In the last decade, the USPS has iterated upon its wedding-related correspondence, introducing personalized postage stamps as the concept of bespoke attire and décor rose in popularity. Soon, however, the postal service will discontinue all orders for custom postage stamps, designating a mid-June deadline for all personalized orders until further notice. Some services are pushing this deadline up earlier to fulfill orders by the deadline; Minted, for example, says shoppers should submit custom orders by June 9.
The information was included in the first quarter report of Stamps.com released May 7. "[Stamps.com] received notification from the USPS that it was eliminating its customized postage program and also revoking our authorization to offer products pursuant to that program effective June 16, 2020," it was noted in the update. Therefore, if you're currently planning a wedding or anticipating sending holiday cards, thank you notes, letters to your loved ones and so forth, you'll want to take advantage of this unique offering now before it fades away.
Couples and stationers will, however, be able to continue sending custom postage stamps after June 16. And if by chance you miss the deadline, be comforted by the fact that the USPS has plenty of designs and options beyond custom postage stamps. (Public figures like John Oliver have even created their own designs in solidarity with the USPS.)
How to Order Custom Postage Stamps
Start by designating the company you'll use to order. We recommend consulting your stationer directly or by using sites like Minted, which adhere to USPS guidelines as there are restrictions regarding background colors and postage size. From there, choose the design you like most and customize accordingly. "The design can range from a hand-drawn motif, a destination-theme, a cute use of engagement photography, or creative use of typography," says a rep for Minted Weddings. "Regardless of what type of design you decide on, a good rule of thumb is to be consistent with the same colors and fonts as the enclosed invitation to ensure a cohesive look with your wedding correspondence."
Most personalized postage stamps from authorized vendors function like Forever stamps, so couples can purchase the stationery items with reassurance for future use. (Also, couples can think ahead beyond, save-the-dates and invitations with holiday and thank you cards in mind.) "Think bridal shower guests, bachelor and bachelorette attendees, and specialty vendors such as the wedding planner, officiant, gown boutique, hair stylist and florist team," suggests Minted's team. "You could try a different stamp design on each type of mail that ties back to your overall wedding theme."
Keep in mind: the price of custom stamps is higher than one standard booklet of 20 Forever stamps, which is about $11. Custom postage stamps are also sold by sheets of 20 with one booklet priced at $37. If you have your guest list in mind, the cost for 100 custom postage stamps is around $185, presuming each first class letter is under an ounce.
One big tip is to stuff your invitations in advance and to take it to the post office for a preliminary trip. Have the USPS employee weigh it for you to determine and factor all the final costs regarding postage. "The last thing you'd want is to send several hundred beautiful wedding invitations in the mail only to have them each returned with the 'Return to Sender' stamp across the front for insufficient postage," the rep concludes. "A tragedy like this can easily be avoided with just a little bit of research."
The Forever stamp was first introduced to customers in 2007, and remains an important component of wedding correspondence today. This isn't the only adjustment made to the postage stamp category in recent years. In early 2019, the postal service announced a price increase in its first-class "Forever" stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents per item.