A space to learn about wedding invitation etiquette and stationery history
This is parteleven of a series called One a Day in May, where we will review one wedding stationery term every day in May!
Every envelope that is sent through the USPS is processed through a machine that takes a photo of the envelope, reads the address, calculates the correct amount of postage, and adds a postmark over the postage. Due to this automated process some embellishments that stationery designers add to the envelope or suite, can be too bulky for the machines, which is what we call “non-machinable” and these items will need to be “hand canceled.”
Hand canceling is when a human being processes the envelope instead of a machine and ensures that it has the correct postage for the size and weight. They use a stamp with the current date and the zip code of the post office to ‘cancel’ the stamps and apply a postmark.
Hand canceled mail goes into a different bin and gives your beautiful invitations their best chance at bypassing the machines that can sometimes destroy wax seals and bend rigid papers.
Despite hand canceling, envelopes sometimes still make their way through the automated machines. If you are using wax seals on the outside of your envelopes, and you want them to arrive in one piece, you might want to put them inside another envelope to ensure their safe arrival!
Also worth noting: hand-canceling can sometimes cost about $.20 extra per envelope but it’s not always enforced. Ask me about it!
This article was written in May 2021, a one-ounce forever stamp was 55¢.
May 11, 2021
How hand canceling envelopes works
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Knapp Design Co. is a luxury wedding invitation studio in Denver, Colorado. We serve couples worldwide.
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