Can You Send Dark Colored Envelopes in the Mail?

Post Date : June 17, 2024

In the recent months there has been some controversy over whether or not you can use dark envelopes for your wedding invitations. Today we wanted to clear up some confusion and share some of our top tips and tricks for mailing your invites!


colored envelopes printed in white ink by LCI Paper

Can You Send Dark Colored Envelopes in the Mail?

To put it simply, yes you can! Using colored cards and envelopes for mailing has no interference with reading information or postmark, even if you are sending black envelopes printed with white ink.


According to USPS you may use colored cards and envelopes for mailing, along with different ink colors, as long as they do not interfere with the readability of the information or postmark.


This means it is essential that:

    • The mailing recipient’s information is clear and legible
    • The color contrast between the written/printed address and the envelope color is sufficient
    • There is no reverse printing (where the background color is printed but the actual text or graphic is left unprinted)

For more information on colored cards and envelopes, including printing guidelines, refer to the Mailing Requirements section at your local Post Office™ facility.


Addressing Tips to Ensure Your Wedding Envelopes Get Delivered

Regardless of envelope color, there are some steps you should always take to ensure your envelopes arrive safely in your recipients’ mailboxes. Keep reading to learn LCI Paper’s tips and tricks for envelope mailing!


Choose a Font that’s Clear and Legible 

When addressing your envelopes you will want to be sure to select fonts that are clearly legible and easy to read. You will also want to make sure that the font size you selected is large enough to be readable when printed.


Select a Print Color that is Distinct from the Envelope Color 

If you are using light colored envelopes you will want to use a darker ink color, and for dark envelopes, use white or another bright, opaque ink that contrasts with the envelope color.


try hand canceling your colored envelopes for that extra sense of security


Additional Envelope Mailing Steps You Can Take

There are few additional steps you can take to ensure your envelopes arrive the same condition that you mailed them in. We will explore some of our best tricks to sending your colored envelopes below.


Stay Away from High-Gloss Envelopes 

You may want to steer clear of high-gloss envelopes, as when mail processing equipment applies a postmark it may smear on the glossy surface, thus making it difficult to read or ultimately unmailable. High-gloss envelopes have a highly shiny, reflective coating not to be confused with shimmery metallic envelopes.


Ask for Your Envelopes to be Hand-Sorted

Many automated sorting machines are only calibrated to recognize dark ink on light surfaces, so you may want to have your envelopes hand-sorted, or hand-cancelled. Hand-canceling means that, instead of being processed by a machine, each envelope is canceled by hand with an ink stamp/postmark.


By requesting hand-canceling for your invitations, you can avoid the risk of tearing, smudging, or other damage. We always recommend calling or going in person to your local post office to personally ask for your invitations to be hand-cancelled.


Please note that hand-cancellation may add an additional 2-3 weeks of processing and delivery time.


Use Non-Machineable Surcharge Stamps 

Hand sorted stamps, also known as non-machineable stamps, are a type of postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS) specifically designed for mail that cannot be processed by standard automated sorting machines. These stamps account for the extra handling required for such mailpieces.


Nonmachineable surcharge stamps


It’s easy to use one of the non-machineable postage stamps listed above, which cover both the standard rate for a 1oz letter and the additional non-machineable surcharge. The non-machineable surcharge ensures that these items are sorted and handled manually to avoid damage and ensure proper delivery.


However, some couples might not like the appearance of the butterfly stamp on their invitations. Fortunately, you don’t have to use non-machineable postage stamps for your non-machineable letters. Instead, you can use other postage stamps (including multiple stamps) as long as the total postage is sufficient to cover the current base rate (based on your letter’s weight) plus the current non-machineable surcharge.


When mail-pieces deviate from the standard flat rectangular shape, the United States Post Office classifies them as “non-machineable” and applies a surcharge. Examples of letters that the USPS considers odd-sized or non-machineable include:


    • Unusual shapes, such as square or odd-sized envelopes
    • Rigid or bulky envelopes that do not bend easily
    • Envelopes with clasps, strings, buttons, or other non-standard closures
    • Fragile or delicate items that need special handling


In Summary, You CAN Mail Dark Envelopes but Double Check with Your Local Post Office

At LCI Paper, we’ve printed thousands of dark wedding envelopes in white ink and have not heard from our customers that it’s an issue. However, we ALWAYS recommend checking with your local post office first, as all jurisdictions may vary. We also recommend bringing one complete invitation to the post office prior to mailing to 1) determine correct postage and 2) send yourself a test to make sure your invites will arrive safe and on time.







You May Also Like:

Colorful Invitation Envelopes  |  6 Creative Ways to Tightly Seal Envelopes  |  Wedding Envelopes  |  Printed Envelope Sampler Kit  

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