Jan 25

How to Hand-Cancel Your Wedding Invitations

Most people are familiar with the wavy lines and dates that get stamped over top of a postage stamp between a letter’s source and its destination. However, what some do not know is that this is done by a machine in order to “cancel” the stamp so that it cannot be reused. This is very important to keep in mind once you are ready to send out your wedding invitations.

You see, the more pieces that make up your invitations, the more complicated sending them out can become. Adornments and luxuries such as ribbons, wax seals, printing on thick paper, and the like can quickly make your invitation envelopes uneven or bulky. Accordingly, this can cause the post office machines to bend, rip, tear, stain, or even reject your invitations in the process of trying to “cancel” them.

While this may sound like a good reason to just go with the cheapest, thinnest invitations possible, there is a way to have the beautiful, embellished invitations of your dreams and to have them reach your guests successfully. To ensure your invitations are delivered in one piece, simply have them hand-canceled at the post office.


Wedding invitation suite by Turnage and Watts


What is Hand-Canceling?

Hand-canceling entails the postmaster canceling each individual envelope by hand, rather than with a machine. The technical USPS term is “non-machineable”. As of February 2024, there is an extra fee of $0.44 per envelope. That is in addition to your postage.

Why Would I Want or Need to Hand-Cancel?

Wedding invitations that are particularly delicate, bulky, or even just larger in size are likely to be ripped, torn, or stained by mail sorting machines. If you have even an inkling that your invitations may fall into that category, then it’s better to be on the safe side by hand-canceling them. This is not the time to take a risk!


why you should hand-cancel your wedding invitations


Who Hand-Cancels the Envelopes?

Your local post office employee will most likely be the one to hand-cancel your mail for you. Do keep in mind that most post offices are understaffed these days, and you may be asked to hand-cancel your envelopes yourself. If this happens, then be sure to have an employee check your work before you mail your invitations. You will be given a stamp with which to cancel each postage stamp.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some postal offices may refuse to hand-cancel altogether. If this happens, you have two choices. You may either ask to speak with the branch manager or go to another branch.

Check With Your Post Office

It is always a good idea to speak with a post office employee before purchasing your postage. Try to go to the post office at an hour when business is slow, and then ask them about the process, what you’ll need, and if hand-canceling is done at that location.

When you go, take your invitation suite (with all inserts and embellishments) to be weighed and checked by the postmaster. This will enable them to check to see if your envelope is too thick to be canceled by a machine. They can also let you know how much postage is needed based on the weight of your suite.


how to hand-cancel your wedding invitations at the post office


I hope this post has helped to clear up any confusion you may have had about hand-canceling! For more information on wedding invitation postage, see our blog. And get in touch to learn about the custom and semi-custom wedding invitation suites offered by Turnage and Watts!


Photography: Social Squares; The Styled Stock Shop