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Pretty Postage

Once you’ve chosen your stationery, you’ll need to think about postage. Sure, you can run your invite through a postage meter to avoid dealing with the stamp issue altogether, but consider how stamps can actually enhance the look of your envelopes -- whether you’re sending a superformal letterpress invitation or a more colorful, casual package.

The best part? You can do it all without having to spend a minute in line at the post office. Head to Shop.USPS.com, and browse stamps by both subject and rate to find your perfect fit.

Don’t forget: Make sure you know exactly how much postage your package needs before investing in your stamps. Some heavier or oversized envelopes will require additional postage.


Wedding Invitations: 6 Style Ideas

From bellybands to new and improved monograms, this year's wedding invites are pushing the envelope.

Photo: Alex Cao

This wedding season, invitations are all about innovation. It makes sense: With more and more attention paid to personalizing every wedding detail (and with more and more couples worrying about their friends co-opting their fabulous ideas), designing an invite that'll stand out is challenging. Or make that was challenging. We talked to top invitation experts to get the newest twists on the latest trends. Push the envelope with one of these outstanding ideas.

If You Like Flowers...

What's New

First it was floral-pressed papers; then it was floral motifs. Now, it's Asian-influenced, floral-designed papers sewn onto the backs of invitations, used as tissue-paper separators between invitation and reply card, or as envelope liners.

What's Next

All things 3-D, from tiny paper flowers dotted along the bottom of an invitation (adding some texture to your basic white-on-white) to vintage-inspired Chanel-like flowers made from fabric. A delicate rose (or flirty orchid) applied to a corner creates a flower "brooch" that makes any invitation blossom.

If You Like Ribbons...

What's New

From simple ribbon wraps to bands of pretty patterned paper tied around the middle of the invitation, bellybands add another dimension -- literally -- to classic invitation designs.

What's Next

Unexpected wraps. Mimic popular, preppy grosgrain ribbon belts by wrapping a brilliantly patterned ribbon around an invite and securing it with a small silver buckle. We've also seen colorful velvet bellybands held on with snaps; fur-trimmed bellybands fastened with crystal-studded buckles; and corset-style bellybands with crisscrossing silk ribbons.

If You Like Monograms...

What's New

Traditional monograms (usually the bride's initials) have adorned invitations for ages. Today, they're more likely to include the initials of both the bride and groom.

What's Next

A clean and classic look in which the monogram looks more like a stamp or logo than a historic family seal. It can be anything from a couple's first initials to their interlocking names. The feel is contemporary and chic but still formal.

If You Like Patterns...

What's New:

From decorative envelope liners imitating fancy Florentine papers and vine-like embossed borders in gold on ecru paper to blind-embossed details complementing the typeface, patterns have been used both modestly and moderately throughout the years.

What's Next

Keeping to one palette but mixing and matching patterns for a different (but unified) look on each element of your wedding stationery. Three patterns, three different ways, one memorable statement -- it's fashionable and fun. Pick your patterns to match your mood: florals, paisleys, and stripes for springtime soirees; toile, tiny dots, and fleur-de-lis for romantic affairs; stripes, plaids, and polka dots for stylish city weddings.

If You Like The Beach...

What's New

Destination or beach weddings are still new to many, and invites that convey the theme literally will help warm guests up to the idea. Beachy inspirations include starfish studding, letterpressed seashells, pineapple embossments (a symbol of hospitality), and, for color, as-brilliant-as-the-ocean blue.

What's Next

Translating the essence of a destination wedding. Surprising colors (such as cantaloupe orange or watermelon red), interesting textures, and unexpected adornments make for a more abstract interpretation of the concept. We love the idea of accordion-fold invitation booklets hand-painted to resemble the horizon at sunset; simple cards adorned with dangling wooden beads or strings of tiny, delicate seashells; or vintage-looking cards tucked into burlap pockets. Sure, these elaborate invitations are more costly than traditional invitations. But with the small number you'll need to send, the fabulous factor may well outweigh the splurge.

If You Like Nature...

What's New

From pretty papers with pressed leaves to acorn or bee motifs, ever-popular nature-inspired invitations lend a sense of warmth and comfort to your invitations.

What's Next

The juxtaposition of conventional nature-inspired motifs with modern fonts and trendy trimmings. For example, a pressed leaf paired with a crystal stud or soft, natural papers dyed baby blue make equally homespun and fashionable statements -- perfect for contemporary weddings, which are all about personal style.


-- Allison Micarelli

See More: Wedding Invitations + Wedding Stationery