Mailing something should be so easy. You put a parcel together, you address it, stamp it and send it on its merry little way via the post office or a mailbox. That parcel is picked up, sorted and brought to its location by whatever mailing service you are using.
Unless it arrives 2 months late...if it arrives at all. And during that time, you’ll likely spend hours trying to track down someone in customer service using website contact forms that likely go to the same black hole that your mail does.
Finding a phone number buried on a mail provider’s website is basically a scavenger hunt. Once you’ve found that number and pressed 579 different prompts while listening to hold music that makes you want to murder someone, you get connected to someone that is oh-so-polite but isn’t helpful at all.
Maybe you’ll get to hear about how mail service isn’t guaranteed. Maybe you’ll be given the same tracking information that you already had, showing that your package is 9,000 miles away, instead of, I don’t know, two towns away from where you mailed it. Maybe you’ll file a report.
Maybe you’ll punch your fist through a wall.
While the paperless movement is very powerful, the wedding industry is somewhat immune to it. I personally cannot imagine a time when it will ever be acceptable to send an online invitation for a wedding. Maybe that day will come, but hopefully I will be dead and my kids will already be married and have thus sent out their “real paper send in the mail invitations” by that point.
Planning a wedding can be stressful enough without wondering if your invitations actually made it to your guests. I mean, why wouldn’t they arrive? If addressed properly and sent with the correct postage, every couple is going to assume that their invitations will wind up at the correct final destination. Most of my couples rely on their stationery designer to send the invitations, or they take them to the post office themselves and speak to a real person while handing everything over to be mailed.
No one is dropping off a stack of wedding invitations in a rubber band at some random street-side mailbox here.
So, if you’re taking that kind of care (not to mention spending a fair amount of money on the paper goods and postage), then it damn well better show up where it is supposed to.
Apparently, that request is frowned upon.
Assuming your invitations are going to show up at the correct location is naive at best. That’s not an insult to the engaged couples out there; it’s reality now. The Washington Post recently did a story that centered around billions (with a “b”) of delayed mail to facilities and stated that there was some inside job foolishness going on. Between the time manipulation, and the inaccurate reporting of delayed mail, this isn’t just human error.
It’s done on purpose.
And what’s worse, is they don’t care.
For years, my couples have complained to me about invitations never being received or being destroyed in the mail and arriving late. It frustrates me to no end because as their wedding planner I want to put out any fires that start. But, in this case, it’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a sprinkler.
Actually, that’s not true. The sprinkler would at least be effective.
There is no recourse here. There is no one you can talk to. There is no way to find out what the hell happened or who made what mistake and thus, no one is held accountable. One of my brides told me that she was told by customer service that they couldn’t tell her anything other than the invitations were “processed and should be en route.”
To add to the frustration, it’s not like you can scream at the person on the phone (I mean....I would) because they had nothing to do with it and they don’t have any other information. But that salt in the wound is the manner in which that news is delivered: without sympathy or concern. There’s no effort, no “let me look into this for you”, no “hey did you read that Washington Post article about how we are deliberately screwing with the mail for funsies”?
FedEx is currently on my “you had one job” list. They have re-routed wedding invitations a dozen times already as you can see from the tracking information above. These invitations were going from Philadelphia to Northern New Jersey, which is a drive I could make in a day, more than once. That drive does not include stops in Maryland, Tennessee or Texas though. This isn’t "Road Trip".
Despite multiple calls made by the stationery designer I am working with on this wedding, she has been met with nothing but location confirmations. You know, the stuff you’ve already looked up on your own because you know how to read....
Once in awhile she was reminded how the next day service isn’t guaranteed because it’s ground shipping.
IT’S. IN. TEXAS.
Employees are handling this package, with the “To: New Jersey” address on it, and slowly moving it to somewhere in Argentina. How does this package get scanned constantly and no one, not one person, stops and tries to fix the problem? It doesn’t strike anyone as a little odd that the package that was supposed to travel a little over 90 miles up I-95, probably never even touched that highway and is chillin near Dallas?
This is the care that is being given to wedding invitations. The combination of intentional tampering, zero customer service, a general “too bad so sad” attitude from the postal service and the total lack of anyone trying to fix the problem at any point along the way is absolutely ridiculous.
You do everything right. Right postage. Right address. And then it can still all go wrong.
So what is the answer?
I honestly can’t offer anything other than to mail invitations earlier than you think you should. That’s not always possible, I get it, but anything you can do to add some extra time into your planning to fix the mistakes that other people make, is worth it. Because, don’t forget, guests still have to mail back their RSVP card...which will be done at the last possible minute (because RSVP’ing is a challenge for most). If your guests are typical, and send their RSVP out late, you do not need the mail delaying those responses even further.
Even if your invitations get to all of your guests, you might not receive all of their RSVPs since the mail is about as reliable as Titanic. It’s important to establish a tracking system for yourself to figure out which response cards are missing so you can reach out to those guests before time runs out.
But really, it’s frustrating to have to add one more thing to the to-do list during the wedding planning process, especially when it’s not your job. I can’t wrap my head around how ridiculous this entire situation is and how nothing can be done. Mistakes happen, sure, but this is a serious situation now with people purposely screwing things up. Being a wedding planner and not being able to fix this for my couples puts a knot in my stomach...so why doesn’t that feeling happen to anyone on the postal side of things?
“Ma’am, I can only see what you can see on the screen and there are no additional updates.”
Gee, thanks Susan.
You had one job postal people.