Today I am excited to share with you 5 tips for mailing your event invitations at the post office! Mailing on a day to day basis is simple enough, but there are somethings you should know when sending out a bulk mailing, especially if you had those beautiful envelopes hand calligraphed! Here we go!
1. Weigh your invitation several weeks in advance. Why? You will likely need to order your stamps a couple of weeks in advance to ensure they arrive on time, and this way you know exactly how many you’ll need per envelope. Square and other unusual envelope shapes also cost more, so it’s good to know in advance exactly how much you need so that you do not spend too much or too little on your postage! If you are curating vintage stamps, this will be especially important information to have well in advance to give your stamp designer some lead time.
2. Have your invitations hand canceled. If you love the look of your outer envelope or had your addresses calligraphed I highly recommend that you take your envelopes into the post office and request hand canceling. Hand canceling means that the post office will not run your envelopes through the machine that stamps them with the local post office mark on the front of your envelope. Instead, a postal worker will individually cross out your stamp with a pen. Hand canceling also prevents your envelopes from potentially being mangled by that little canceling machine! Pro tip: Hand canceling will likely slow down your drop date by a few days, so take them in a few days early to ensure your invites go out on time!
Real life example: Recently I tested an envelope addressed with gold ink through the mail. I addressed it to myself and popped it in the blue bin outside my post office (which was extra risky, but I was curious and couldn’t help myself!) To my surprise, the lovely people at the Stadium Boulevard post office in Ann Arbor actually hand canceled the envelope without my request. There was a couple of day delay, but otherwise it came back to me totally unscathed. I wouldn’t count on this being the case everywhere, but there are great humans out there protecting hand addressed envelopes that deserve a shout out!
3. Be careful of super glossy stamps. I have heard through the grapevine that some custom stamp printers have a glossier stamp material than traditional stamps. While these custom stamps are amazing, sometimes they do cause a bit of smearing on your envelope from the canceling machine. If you request your invites be hand canceled, then no worries here!
4. In a bulk mailing, some invites are going to go missing. It’s just the way it is. Even with typed perfectly post office approved envelopes, bulk mailings just always mean a few may not make it. Have some extra invites on hand in case of bounce backs, and make sure that your return address is crystal clear so you receive them quickly!
5. If you’re a nervous nelly, choose a darker ink! Especially when choosing calligraphy, if you are short on time or are especially nervous about your invitations, a darker ink is always a safer choice. I have never had any trouble with metallics (gold, silver, etc), but if you were hoping to use a light pink or yellow you may want to reconsider for a color that is a little more saturated and easier for the post office and their machines to read.
I would love to hear about your experience or answer your questions about sending your invitations. Leave a comment below so we can chat!
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Have a wonderful weekend!
This post and the new envelope design post are both super timely for me – I just got my envelopes to start addressing and we are sending invites off to the printer today… fingers crossed! Thank you for the inspiration!
I’m so glad to hear that!! Best of luck with your envelopes 🙂
I had no idea invitations could be hand canceled – thank you for the tip!!
Yes, they can! Though there are a lot of post offices that will give you some resistance, though technically they are supposed to offer the service. I think it’s well worth the effort though!