Anytime an envelope is mailed it is canceled. Canceling, is when the post office checks stamps to ensure enough postage is paid based on weight to mail out the particular envelope and in turn the stamps are visibly marked as paid. Typically, envelopes are canceled, or marked, by inserting the envelope into a machine. So when and why would you need to choose hand canceling over machine canceling?
Wedding stationery often contains many pieces such as an rsvp card, rsvp envelope, details cards, and other inserts which means bulky envelopes. On top of that, wedding invitations also often contain beautiful details like ribbons, wax seals, belly band and other embellishments which can make an already thick envelope also uneven. If an uneven or bulky envelope passes through the canceling machine it can tear the envelope or even pull at the embellishments. For this reason I always advise that my brides and grooms get their wedding invitations hand canceled. When hand canceled the postmaster them self physically marks each envelope as canceled.
Stop into your post office to ensure you know what your wedding invitation postage costs. Bring one invitation suite that is assembled and stuffed exactly the way you plan to mail it out to guest. Your postmaster will tell you if they recommend you use hand canceling for your particular wedding invitation. They will also weight it and be able to tell you how much you money you will need in stamps to mail out the suite according to the weight. Since hand canceling costs an additional fee, if they do recommend you use hand canceling, ask them to calculate the total cost to mail your suite. Leave your post office knowing if you should hand cancel, how much it costs to mail your suite in weight, plus how much it costs to hand cancel your suite.
When you get home apply enough stamps so you reach your total cost to mail out your suite. Remember, if you are hand canceling you need to pay for the weight and the hand canceling through stamps. For example, an envelope that is light enough to be mailed using a $0.55 first-class stamp (up to 1 oz.) would require $0.76 of postage stamps if it needs to be hand canceled.
Arrive at the post office ready, with your envelopes already stamped according to the total cost. Check with the postmaster available as some post offices might allow you to hand cancel each envelope yourself. If they don’t allow you to hand cancel them yourself they will do it for you. I recommend you go at a slow time during the day so you can ensure each one is hand canceled.