So, your guestlist includes super awesome friends from all over the world – you’re so intercontinental! One of the great things about weddings is how they bring people together. A roommate you haven’t seen in a year and a half. Your cousin in Stuttgart. Friends and family old and new.
It’s an incredibly time and it can come with some pretty big logistical issues.
You may already know that invitations going to foreign addresses will likely require additional postage. One of the challenges that is easy to overlook is how to get RSVPs from foreign guests back to you. You cannot just slap a good old forever stamp on your RSVP and pray it makes it back to you.
As a stationer, I am a huge fan of the traditional RSVP. I believe that if you’re going to invest the money and effort into crafting a beautiful invitation for your guests, you should afford them the experience – the ceremony – that comes with replying to your invitation by mailing back your RSVP. It’s also a perfect place to inject a little extra personality or humor into your invitation.
Getting a Lay of the Land
The challenge is that guests in foreign countries must have RSVPs with postage from their own country. There are a few ways to obtain foreign postage but the very first step is to make sure you know how many different countries’ postage you’ll need. Hopefully you’re using a guest list spreadsheet to track your invitees and their responses. If you’ve already gathered the addresses for your guestlist, this should give you all the information you need to determine which foreign postage you need.
Once you’ve determined how many different countries’ postage you need, you need to make sure you are purchasing the right denomination for each country. Many countries have websites for their postal division and browsing them with Google Chrome allows will translate the page for you. On these pages, you can find their rules and regulations regarding postage. I have found that Googling “postage from Country of Origin to US” typically gives me good results.
Remember, if you are using a standard size American envelope, this is likely not a standard size in your country of origin. You’ll have to know the size of your RSVP envelope in both inches in centimeters as well as its weight in imperial and metric units. This may seem daunting, but if you know the size or weight in imperial measurements, Google can be your friend again. Simply type something like “.6 ounces in grams” to get the conversion.
If the majority or even all of your foreign guests come from the same country, and easy way to obtain postage is to have a relative or guest from that country purchase enough postage for all of your guests in that country. They can send you the stamps in an envelope for you to place on the appropriate RSVP envelopes. Of course, you need to pay them for the postage – to do otherwise would be tre-tacky.
If your guests are scattered throughout many countries, there are still a few options available to you.
- You can purchase your stamps to the broker such as Herrick Stamp or Stamp World. This can be a convenient place to buy your postage for multiple countries in one fell swoop.
- If you are in a major city, you can visit that country’s embassy or consulate and inquire about stamps there. They may have them available or be able to have them shipped in the diplomatic post.
- It is possible to buy foreign postage through peer to peer selling sites including eBay. While this may seem convenient, it does come with risks. The stamps you purchase may have already been postmarked, making them unusable. Obviously, there are times when this is a risk worth taking, particularly when dealing with a hard to find stamp.
Finding foreign postage can feel like a daunting task. If you are working with a stationer, this is something you can ask them to do for you. We find that many of our clients actually enjoy the process of hunting down foreign postage. For these clients, we will offer as much help or as little as they need.