Paper 101 - Mailing

Postage Costs

Both the size and weight of your finished product will determine the amount of postage necessary to mail it out. 

This may be an important consideration if mailing a large volume of pieces, such as announcements, invitations or holiday greeting cards.

TIP: Mailing a piece with its own special envelope?  Be sure to keep in mind the following size requirements for standard letters:

 mailing letter requirements

To be eligible for mailing at the price for letters, a piece must be ...

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 6-1/8 inches high x 11-1/2 inches long x 1/4 inch thick
  • Weigh 1 oz or less


  • Square envelope
  • Non-machinable - special handling required
  • Each additional oz. will increase the cost per piece

You may be unpleasantly surprised with extra postage costs when, for example, you mail a square greeting card.

The Postal Service charges extra postage when mail pieces are non-machinable. Pieces that are rigid, extra-thick or unusually shaped, can jam postal equipment and be difficult to process. This costs the Postal Service time and money—and may also damage your mail piece.

First-Class Mail letters that have one or more non-machinable characteristics require special handling as these pieces cannot be processed using automated equipment and must be processed by hand. This is referred to as "hand-cancelling", which stamps a mark on your postage stamp so it cannot be reused. You will pay a non-machinable surcharge for this service.

TIP: Before purchasing your postage, take a completely assembled piece to the post office to have it weighed and assessed for postage and handling.

For complete information and pricing, check USPS.COM or your local U.S. Post Office. 

Hand Cancelled Invitations

image via Huffington Post

When in doubt, don't chance it.  You spent a lot of time designing and creating your beautiful pieces and dropping them into the corner mailbox may cause them to be ruined by postal equipment.

TIP: Some post offices may provide hand-cancelling at no cost if they are not busy, or may allow you to hand-cancel them yourself if you arrive during a non-busy time. Some even have special cancel stamps for bridal invitations.  Ask around ~ being polite and mentioning that they are your wedding invitations may help you score some brownie points. 

Consider hand-cancelling your beautiful invitations if they ...

  • have drop-dead gorgeous calligraphy
  •  have ribbon, twine or other embellishments on the invitations
  •  are adorned with custom-designed stamps
  •  are sealed with wax

Last but not least, hand-cancelled invitations increase the likelihood that they will arrive in mint condition!

TIP:  Assemble a test invitation and mail it to yourself to see how it fairs.


When should you mail your wedding invitations?

Traditionally, wedding invitations are mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding. This allows enough time for guests to pen your wedding date into their calendars and make any required travel arrangements. 

TIP: If yours is a destination wedding, or your home town wedding competes with holiday travelers or other popular local events, you may want to send sooner to allow guests enough time to make travel arrangements.

Need help with proper invitation addressing?

Check out THE KNOT's guide to addressing wedding invitation envelopes correctly and according to etiquette.


Happy Mailing and Happy Wedding!