n Bridal Veil, about 30 miles east of Portland along the Columbia River, lie the remnants of a once bustling logging community. The mill, the school and the church, which all once served some 150 residents, have long since closed; only a cemetery remains and, surprisingly, a post office. This 10ft by 10ft wooden outpost is one of the smallest post offices in the country, but still does big business, catering to thousands of engaged couples each year who send their wedding invitations for a coveted cachet of the bridal veil.
“Before leaving, we were getting invitations from all over the world to hand stamp – China, Bolivia. I can’t believe people who would bother to put double hearts on this“, says Geri Canzler, who served as Bridal Veil postmaster from 2006 to 2017. While people can certainly walk by with their invitations and watch them receive the Bridal Veil postmark in person, Canzler says the process involves usually to receive a bundle of invitations, hand-stamp each one, make sure they’re properly postaged, and ship them to their destination.” You never know if you’re going to get 100 [invitations] that day or 5,000,” Canzler says.
At 77, Canzler continues to volunteer for the job office, which celebrates its 135th anniversary this year, as part of its role as bridal veil chair Historic Preservation Society. While she was postmaster, Canzler herself designed several bridal veil postage stamps, the most enduring of which is an image of two interlocking hearts. With the town named after the nearby Bridal Veil Falls, a trail of misty white water reminiscent of the traditional wedding play, Canzler says the romantic moniker has helped the post office thrive through thick and thin.
Despite buoyant bridal business, the Bridal Veil Post Office is struggling to stay open. The regular break-ins and vandalism have required intensive repair efforts that Canzler says are often spearheaded by his part-time workers and a cohort of local volunteers. And apart from wedding invitations, the only major activity of the post office is the quarantine of post office boxes paid for by those who are determined to keep the post office alive. These days, the USPS does not fund a postmaster position at this small outpost. But that doesn’t mean the iconic Bridal Veil spot isn’t supported.
“We took care of it. We put a new roof on it. We put gutters in it, we put new doors in it,” Canzler says of the local volunteers who remain invested in Bridal Veil’s claim to mail fame. “It’s a fight. But it’s worth it.”