Don’t let broken invitations ruin your event!
Be sure to bring your invitations into the post office and ask for them to be “hand cancelled.”
This means that your envelopes will be stamped by hand. The alternative, and default
practice unless you request otherwise, is for them to run your invitations through a machine.
Machine cancelling is not only less attractive (have you ever noticed those wavy lines on
your mail?), but can damage your envelopes and is especially dangerous for delicate
invitations like wood or acrylic.
Check with your postmaster: It’s a great idea to assemble a mock-up (complete with
all inserts) and bring it into the post office to be weighed and checked by a USPS employee
before you purchase postage. They will be able to determine how much postage you need
and if any other costs will apply. Some post offices charge extra for hand cancelling.
Tip: Try, try again: When it comes to hand cancelling, one post office employee may quote
you something like twenty cents a pop, but the next day another will say it’s complimentary.
Takeaway: don’t take the first answer you get (unless it’s the one you want to hear,
of course! :)). If there are multiple post offices in your town, call ahead to each one. If there’s
only one, attempt at different times of the day (especially times when they are less busy)
until you get the answer you want. P.S. Be polite, and it also helps to mention that they are
wedding / special event invitations.
Some post offices also charge more for delivering rigid invitations; they classify them as
“parcel post.” This is another case where you can try your luck at a different post office. Most
are very understanding and supportive of mailing wedding invitations at an affordable cost!
Self Stamping: If the post office quotes you a price for hand cancelling, offer to DIY to save
on costs. Many will let you stand at a nearby counter and hand stamp your own invitations to
avoid the charge. By doing it yourself this not only ensures that they do in fact get hand
cancelled, but that they are handled with care and look great. :)
Get turned down? You may receive an abrupt, “There’s no such thing as hand-cancelling
anymore.” Trust me, there is… You just asked a grumpy postal service employee. While that
particular location may refuse to offer it, others in the area will. This service is far from extinct
and is still common practice for wedding invitations.
Still worried? It never hurts to mail your wood or acrylic invitations out in thick/padded
envelopes or, even better, in gift boxes! The mailing cost will be more, but is often worth it to
ensure your invitations arrive intact and looking great.
Visit Pinterest for creative ideas on invitation packaging / presentation.