How to Hand-Cancel Your Wedding Invitations

A little unknown fact about mail (until you have to send 100 wedding invitations): Every envelope sent through the mail with a postage stamp on it gets “cancelled.” Basically, the post office ensures the stamp you put on the envelope can’t be reused again by stamping over it with an ink stamp. 

Unless you specifically request your wedding invitations to be hand-canceled they’ll be processed and stamped by a machine, which might tear or smudge them. To avoid damaging your wedding invitations, you’ll want to ask the post office to hand-cancel (hand stamp) your envelopes. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Double-Check the Postage

This might sound tedious, but if you don’t check your stamps, you could end up dealing with returned invites due to insufficient postage. Avoid that mess and take the time to go to the post office and weigh a complete invitation set so you know exactly how much postage each one requires. Luxury wedding invitation designer Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York always advises her couples to confirm the postage a day or two before mailing. “There’s nothing worse than getting a returned invitation due to a lack of postage,” she says. Play it extra-safe and take a note from founder and creative director of Regas Studio Meredith Kurosko: For any mailings that her team takes care of, they add slightly more postage than they’re quoted to each invitation to ensure it’s covered.

Step 2: Organize, Organize, Organize

Devise a strategy for organizing your invites. We can’t stress this enough, and the pros agree. There are a few ways to do it. You could organize your invites into piles by family and state (if you have a lot of out-of-towners), alphabetically or in order of your guest list. Whatever makes the most sense to you and works for your guest list. One idea from Johnson’s team: Assemble invites into clear plastic bags in groups of 10. That will make it easier for you to count the number of invites you’re mailing out (and make sure no one was forgotten).

Step 3: Make an International Plan

As for international invitations, those should go into separate bags with clearly distinguishable labels. “Fill out customs documents for your international guests before you approach a teller,” Johnson says. “It will make your experience that much more pleasant and speedy.” Confirm postage for different countries individually.

Step 4: Know Your Post Office Policy

Put a big star next to this tip because depending on where you live, your post office will have a different policy for hand-canceling. Some won’t charge you at all and others will. Most post offices won’t charge for the first 25 to 50 invitations. The next invites are usually somewhere between 5 and 25 cents a piece. Check to make sure you know what their policies are so you’re not hit with an unexpected fee.

Step 5: Hand Them Off

Now you’re really there. All you have to do is give the invites to the teller at the post office for them to be hand-cancelled. Kurosko suggests taking invitations first thing in the morning to avoid the lunch crowd. And trust us, the moment you pass off your invites, you’re going to be excited. This is happening!

Looking for your wedding invitations? Shop here. 

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