Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ship Tips

A common question, and one I asked myself many times throughout this engagement, is how does one get all those decorations and DIY projects to her destination wedding?

First, the post office. Here's my tips and thoughts on the United State's Postal Service:

-Don't feel like you need to send everything all at once. We sent a total of 5 boxes to Hawaii over different intervals, based on whatever was finished and ready to go at the time. The sooner you get it out the door, the more time you'll have to track down a box in case it gets lost or delayed.

-Write down what you put in each box. Both on the box itself (like a packing slip) and also in your notes. I don't know how many times I've wondered where something went, only to remember (via list) that I had already sent it out.

-Use tape. One of the lighter boxes was not quite full, so instead of using messy packing peanuts, I simply taped the objects down to the bottom and sides of the box. That way if the box was tossed around, the objects would not smash against each other.

-Place paper goods in plastic Zip-Lock bags. That way, if the package gets wet, your programs and place cards won't be ruined.

-Send the boxes somewhere reliable. For example, our mail-person tends to just throw the box on our doorstop, completely out in the open if we're not home. Or he/she will throw it on our back patio, and forget to tell us. Or he/she will drop it off at our leasing office, which has failed to find our packages on numerous occasions. In comparison, we sent all our boxes to Sak's grandmother's house, since she is home often enough to receive the mail as soon as it is delivered.

-Take advantage of flat rate boxes. If you've got heavy decorations, sending it at one fixed price could cost you less in the long run.

-Take advantage of media-shipping rates. We could have sent our programs as media-mail, and it would have been dirt cheap to ship! But unfortunately I received them too late in the game for media-shipping, which tends to take longer than first class mail.

-Insure if you're scared. Although my stomach flipped over at the thought of any of our boxes getting lost, the only box we ended up insuring was the one with my brother's suit in it. Better safe than sorry, at least for items that have a tangible (and not just emotional) value.

Second - sending ordered items straight to the destination. Bypass the "middleman" (yourself!) and have items you order online sent straight to the wedding site. You will only pay one shipping fee that way, rather than two.

Unfortunately, however - we didn't use this option very much. I'm too neurotic, and needed to see EVERYTHING first, before sending it over to Hawaii. My mom did order a big poster print of her favorite engagement shot to stick near the welcome sign though. Since I already know what our faces look like, that was one we could send straight to Grandma-Saka's. Hopefully it doesn't scare her.

Third - take the stuff with you on the plane.

I really wanted to minimize this route, since I need my precious and very-limited luggage space for stuff like clothes. But we will be carting the wedding dress, kimono, cheong sam and Sak's suit on as carry-ons.
And uh, it's going to need a good long steam bath when it gets there...

And now, drum roll please..What's the cost for the five shipped boxes?

$30.40 + $38.95 + $10.70 + $14.50 + $25.67 = $120.22

Ouch. That seems like a lot. But I think for the sheer amount of stuff we sent - projects, suits, shoes, etc. - it's worth the cost of not having to bring it on the plane with us.

Now, bringing things back home with us? Ohohoho. Yeah, I haven't given that two seconds worth of thought. I suppose my family can ship it back to me? Or keep it there? Or both?

Anyway, how are you getting the party to the venue? Plane, train or automobile? Or better yet - keeping the party at home? No shipping required!


  1. $120 doesn't seem so bad in light of all the things you shipped! I just paid $12 (on top of the shipping fee) to insure some Gocco supplies from Japan (that cost $45, ouch!) Shipping costs just bite, but these are some really great tips, especially the one about the flat-rate boxes.

    I am going to attempt to get all of our decorations, projects, OOT bags, cake/pie buffets plates and stands, my dress and my mom's dress to Pleasanton in my tiny Honda Civic. Should be an interesting ride!

  2. Yeah! I did the same for my move across country. Since it cost so much to check luggage anyway!

  3. I tried to make my DIY-ed stuff fit in my 20kg luggage... so now, I already have my bouquets, BMs' wrist corsages, guest book, invites (for those in my hometown, so my mum could just hand-deliver them), table labels, and most of the place cards at my parents' house. While on a holiday there, I made my petticoat for my wedding gown, bought my shoes, shopped for my fiance's suit and bought materials for the decors. The next challenge for me is making a cute little wishing well and making that fit into my bag when I go back for the wedding. :-)