Picking/designing the perfect invitation for upcoming nuptials can be an important part of the wedding planning process for many a bride and groom. Not only is it a way to tell your guests the who/what/where/when of your ceremony, but it's also the first chance to show off your wedding aesthetic and prove to everyone that this isn't about a free dinner and an open bar — it's about time and effort and talent and money. (And also, ideally, love.) Too bad the post office then goes and ruins everything.
Whenever you send mail through the US Postal Service, it goes through the process of being canceled. This is what they call it when they recognize that you've paid the appropriate postage to send your letter and mark it with the wavey lines that look like this. These days, most cancellations are done through machines that leave a less than pretty mark on your envelope. It's not a problem to most, but it's a big problem for brides who are sending out wedding invitations and have strong feelings about the look of the invite's packaging.
Enter the small defunct logging town of Bridal Veil, Oregon. Technically a ghost town, Bridal Veil has one post office that, thanks to the charming town name and the promise that they will cancel your mail by hand, processes approximately 150,000 wedding invites and save-the-dates between March and August.
Grantland's Katie Baker, herself a soon-to-be bride, discovered Bridal Veil and its post office through her own wedding research. Curiosity piqued, she visited the town and learned more about its peculiar and (not-so-thriving) industry:
"...The little post office, has been kept barely alive — in an era of Postal Service downsizing — thanks almost entirely to an annual army of finicky brides who covet its picture-perfect postmark for their wedding invitations. Bridal Veil, Oregon, 97010, is the name of the town, and [Geri] Canzler is one of its only employees. She may well wind up being its last.
In her piece, titled "Love Letters," Baker adds that "Canzler personally processes every piece of wedding mail, one by one, marking each with a custom postmark and cancellation she designed to honor a place she has long fought to protect."
From March to August, Canzler processes about 150,000 pieces of wedding-related mail, for about half of which she also sells the postage. That amounts to roughly $40,000 in stamp sales, she says. In general, wedding-related work (and the odd Valentine) accounts for about 80 percent of the Bridal Veil post office's income.
Unfortunately, the wedding industry might not be enough to keep the Bridal Veil post office alive. It was recently announced that office hours will be limited to 4 hours a day (as opposed to the current 6) and Canzler suspects that she will soon be transferred away from the 10 foot by 10 foot USPS branch where she has treated wedding invitations with such loving care for so many years.
Read all of Katie Baker's piece here.
Image via the AP.