Define your style
Your invitations and stationery are a reflection of your personal style and your wedding day style. Look for inspiration in your favorite color schemes, the theme of your wedding, and how formal your wedding reception is.
Save the Date
If you have lots of out-of-town guests, are getting married on a holiday weekend, or you are having a destination wedding, save the date cards should be sent six months to one year before your wedding. Invitations should go out four to six weeks before your wedding day.
Do your homework
Turn to bridal magazines and visit Brides.com's Invitations & Stationery Gallery to find stationers that suit your needs or tastes. Once you've made a list, find out whether friends or brides in your area can recommend any of the stationers you like.
Interview the stationer before you sign a contract, and ask to see examples of his or her work. If you love a stationer's work but don't have a friend that used him or her, ask to check references. If your request is denied, move on—that's a red flag.
Surf the Web
Log on to an online directory to locate mail-order printers. Check out catalogs.com.
Make sure the stationer has experience in creating the kind of invitation you desire. Bring photos of invitations you like, fabric swatches or other props to convey your style.
Large stores offer a wide variety of standard styles that are often less expensive than smaller, specialized shops. Upscale shops have unusual papers and designs.
Read the fine print
If you're purchasing stationery through a mail-order catalog, pick a company that will correct slipups for free. Mistakes are common when orders are placed over the phone.
Don't forget to consider postage costs for RSVP cards and inserts—as well as the invitation itself—when you map out what you can spend on stationery.