Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Take it Back About the Stamps

It's been what, a whole week now, since I mentioned invitations and stamps?  
"But the biggest ah-ha moment came with the envelope because, despite having my head stuck up the bum of wedding planning for the last several months, I didn't notice the stamps AT ALL.  In fact, I had actually recycled the envelope before Jason wondered aloud about the stamps. If I recall properly (which I probably don't) I think they were the LOVE stamps.  "
Yes, I wrote that a whole eight days ago. Which is apparently just enough time for me to find, cook, and eat some crow.  Because darn, all I can think about right is how desperately I want need these stamps.

No, I have zero idea what our invitations will look like - I truly haven't even started brainstorming that yet.  No, I have no idea if USPS will raise rates between now and next January/February when we send the invitations out.  And no, I have no idea if our invitations will be some silly-sized non-standard-shaped card that necessitates extra postage (though I will guess that, since we're cheapos and sustainably focused, we'll probably end up with standard postage sizes and rates).  So yes, I am utterly aware that it is absurdly premature to consider buying stamps.

But Rothko. On a stamp. Even if I didn't attach intense emotional importance to experiencing both the Tate Modern's Rothko Room (not a current collection, I believe) and the Rothko Chapel in Houston, I would love this entire set of stamps for the nine other artists represented too. Expressionism, including the American-based Abstract Expressionists, is one of my absolute favorite artistic periods. The set of ten stamps honors the following artists and works:

  • The Golden Wall (1961) — Hans Hofmann (1880–1966)
  • Romanesque Façade (1949) — Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974)
  • Orange and Yellow (1956) — Mark Rothko (1903–1970)
  • The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb (1944) — Arshile Gorky (1904–1948)
  • 1948–C (1948) — Clyfford Still (1904–1980)
  • Asheville (1948) — Willem de Kooning (1904–1997)
  • Achilles (1952) — Barnett Newman (1905–1970)
  • Convergence (1952) — Jackson Pollock (1912–1956)
  • Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 34 (1953–1954) — Robert Motherwell (1915–1991)
  • La Grande Vallée 0 (1983) — Joan Mitchell (1925–1992)

I'm having a really hard time passing this up. I know stamps are meaningless in the grand scheme of a wedding and that no one will remember them (they certainly haven't struck me on any invitations we received), but Rothko is intimately woven into two major life-moments, one of which Jason and I share and treasure together. So even though I know exactly how silly it is to buy these limited edition stamps today, a year before the wedding, there's a real emotional pull and sense of right-ness about this otherwise insignificant detail. These stamps, or at least one of them, hints at my life story, and it's hard to turn away from that and towards practicality.

Oh hell. I really will have to stop reading the entire internet from now until my wedding. I was simply looking for general pretty things and happened across this stamp post at Oh Joy! and now I'm considering buying stamps for a wedding without a secure venue contract, date, dress, or any other d*mn thing.  But, at least I can have stamps! And a partner, of course. So, if everything else falls through, at least my partner and I have a great excuse to mail lots of letters in standard sized envelopes with 2010 postage rates. Maybe we can send out holiday cards that include an explanation of our premature stamp buying adventures.

Talk me down folks.  Please, talk me down.


  1. I was all set to talk you down... but Rothko! That's pretty cool. And you know, stamps are always useful - even if they raise the rate, you can buy .1 stamps to make up the difference (the $$ spent will still be the same, obviously).

    So... I say go for it! It's a small thing, it's not a wasteful splurge, and it makes you happy. If nothing else, just use them for bills or holiday cards or something.

  2. You can have as many stamps as you want. You don't (DO NOT) need to have them for your wedding invitations.

    These stamps for the invitations are fine of course, but you could always just have them for any mail you may send out.

    I would go for forever stamps for the invitations.

    PS. I love the Pollock one.

  3. I LOVE these stamps, too, and wrote to our invite designer about using them. Two cautions:

    1. If you're using RSVP mail-back thingies, it won't be enough postage (takes .61).

    2. Apparently the abstract expressionist stamps are VERY LARGE. Maybe get your invites straightened out first?

    AND: GO READ "De Kooning: An American Master," which is effing awesome. And there's a new Clyfford Still museum opening in Denver soon. Woohoo!

  4. Life, not just wedding planning, is about letting yourself enjoy the lovely things.

    If you want stamps, get them! No shame here.

  5. Well you should obviously buy the stamps, whether you use them for your invitations or something else.

    One thing you should consider is that your invitations may end up requiring some odd amount of postage and then you won't be able to use these.... (Our's were 61 cents apiece and I went with the wedding cake stamps because I just wanted to get them out at that point and the stamps seemed less important at the moment...)

    But buy the stamps... they will make you smile...

  6. Sometimes you have to take risks to gain rewards.

    Is a stamp a reward? Such a subjective definition. Bottom line is that it's a tiny thing that will make you happy. It will not enrich your marriage, natch. But sometimes we can allow ourselves these small indulgences.

    Mouse has very good points about the postage potentially not being enough, and about the stamp size being too large. But being educated in advance about that, and aware that choosing these stamps now will put a few restrictions on what kind of invitations you mail, should make it smooth sailing down the road.

    And as others have pointed out: the stamp money will need be spent regardless of whether that's now, on abstract expressionists, or later, on something else.

    We're not very good about talking you down, are we.

  7. I say step away from the stamps.
    You don't know your invites yet or if you will have RSVP cards that will increase your postage. Or if the US Postal System will increase your rates. Too many things up in the air that people RARELY notice and that you won't remember in 20 years.
    IF (IFIFIFIFIFIFIFIF) you want to have Rothko as part of your wedding thang, then think of finding postcards or doing color copies for table numbers or something.
    I would SO not buy these stamps right now.
    Sorry to be Betty Bummer, but I'm on the other side to tell you NOT TO DO IT.

  8. The logical side says step away, but it sounds like you like them a lot and its such a small thing, I would say get them. You can use them for anything not just invitations.

  9. I'd say just buy the stamps. Not for your future unknown invitations, but for you - right now. Use them on bills, or thank you letters, or just keep them in a drawer and look at them every once in a while. You don't have to buy 100, just buy 1 sheet.
    And when you have your invitations finalized and the stamps are still around, and you still love them, then buy more.

  10. In my head I'm thinking Anonymous is right — get them now and use them in your daily life.

    But when you mentioned "Rothko is intimately woven into two major life-moments, one of which Jason and I share and treasure together," well I reconsider slightly. Get them now for the invites and buy odd amount stamps to make up the difference if there is one later. I don't think it matters if you have multiple stamps on an envelope.

  11. I bought those stamps for thank you cards, and they are HUGE. Like, half the size of a small thank you card. But they are gorgeous. And would look stunning on larger envelopes.

    Fuck it- stamps matter. I love stamps like no other. They are like mini pieces of art to send through the mail. and hi, these ARE works of art.

    And if you don't use them for your invites or rsvps, you've got other stuff to mail, like thank you cards.

    I think people notice the stamps- we used the king/queen for the invite, and celebrate for the inside envelope and we've gotten compliments. (So it was from another bride, but still!)

    ps. usps isn't raising stamps in 2010, and for the last three years raised their rates in may.

  12. @Ms Bunny. Yes, that's it exactly. Rothko is bound up in the same emotional tugs that the wedding brings out, so it just feels *right* somehow for the wedding and not just the everyday. If these were a book of 10 Rothko stamps I'd have bought them already, no questions asked, regardless of size and practicality. The others are gorgeous too, but I really just need the Rothkos and want the others.

    @Anon they're limited edition stamps, so it's a now or never decision. Otherwise, we'd be entirely happy waiting on this decision.

    @Maura - Thank you. For the size perspective, the visual impact perspective (now I love and want them more than ever) and for reminding me about the Thank You Cards. How did I forget about those? Eff it, I'm buying them and all of them will get used somehow in the course of this wedding. If nothing else, the thank you cards feel right without clashing against any future invitation scheme.

    @Mouse - no RSVP cards for us, but still. And now I need to request that book from the library!

  13. Totally enabling here - these stamps are just lovely. Just do it.

    p.s. I'm going to the Tate tomorrow and Tate Modern next week. Going to soak in every ounce of London culture b/f getting shipped off to Singapore.

  14. I vote buy the stamps. you love them, you will need them, and even if the cost of postage goes up, you can buy cute 2 or 4 or whatever cent stamps to put next to them. and because they are so colorful, they will go with any kind of invite you choose.
    I don't need stamps because I have leftovers and I want to buy them. damn.

  15. Yes! Get the stamps! It's wonderful to be delighted by something that costs only 44 cents. Think of all the pleasure they will bring into every day - even bill paying! - and wedding invitation addressing.

  16. BUY the stamps. Do it.... I feel like the devil on your shoulder. But you can always use stamps.

  17. I'm super happy that it sounds like you are gonna buy the stamps! First b/c they're freakin' awesome, second you love them (and that is enough for me) third I'm actually surprised by the number of people we sent STD's to who LOVED the stamps and commented, and fourth stamps are always useful. And I personally love that they're giant! Don't over think it. You love 'em. You'll use 'em. Now go get 'em! :)

  18. Sorry...I can't talk you down as I was obsessive about our stamps. I ordered personalized custom photo stamps from that had our picture on them. The guests loved them and they matched our color scheme. Cheesy I know but I was obsessive about the stamps as much as anything else and I totally think you need to get what you want on this one!!

  19. I would get the stamps too. Why not let them be part of your wedding inspiration? Inspiration comes from all kinds of places, so I don't think it would be crazy to design the invite to work with the stamps. (Or not worry about whether or not they "match"!) Especially if the stamp tells part of your relationship story. And you can always get other 2 cent stamps or whatever if you need to add postage. I think multiple stamps look interesting on invites anyways.

    About 8 years ago, there was this series of black and white photography stamps that I LOVED and used a lot and my dad actually had the idea to frame a page of those for me, and now it hangs on the wall and I regularly look at them and enjoy them. :)

    Do whatever you think will involve the least regret. And besides, you can always use the stamps for regular letters too. :)

  20. Expressionism rules and so do those stamps.

    I think you should get them but use them for personal correspondence and draw attention to them in the letters. Then people will notice them and appreciate them!


I love active conversations, including (civil) disagreement. I don't love spam or people who use internet anonymity to be rude and disparaging. Spam and rudeness will be deleted.