Many, if not all, companies that provide stationery services will offer samples and proofs, usually for a fee. This may seem like an unnecessary step and expense. All printers will have different ideas of shades of colors and ways to describe textures. There are some very good reasons to always order samples and do trial runs.
Nothing will be true to color or size perception on a screen- The only way to get a look and feel for an invitation is to get a proof or a sample. Many companies keep misprints or blanks as samples to send out to possible customers upon request. For do it yourself projects, order samples of a few shades of the color that is desired and try the card stock sheets and folios in different combinations before placing a large order. The small fee may save a fortune spent on supplies and lots of time.
Get a second opinion- Ordering prints and samples allows side by side comparison for anyone helping in the decision making process. Something tangible will always be easier to judge than thumbnail photos on a computer screen.
Proofreading- Samples give an idea of the quality of the invitation. Proofs are a great tool to check for errors in time, spelling and spacing. Call customer service for help in getting the spacing and punctuation right the first time and then order a proof. The company will most times hold the order for immediate printing upon approval of the proof.
Practice makes perfect- Ordering sample supplies lets you try a few different configurations and add different sample touches until you find a design that is perfect. The idea we have in our heads when starting a do it yourself project is not often exactly what we choose to do.
Ordering samples and proofs and doing practice runs is the best way to make sure guests see exactly what we want them to when they open their wedding invitation. Completely assemble and address a sample invitation and then open it as if you just received it. This will help decide if you have found the perfect wedding invitation or invitation suite.