Local stationers talk trends, paper stock and the pros and cons of DIY wedding invitations.

After months of selecting myriad wedding details, choosing your invitations may feel like just another decision. But for your guests, the invitation is the first taste of your wedding-a little preview of what's to come.

Finding the right stationer for you is the key to getting an invitation you love. When Courtney Zeune was planning her Nov. 3, 2012, wedding to Scott, she knew what she wanted. But she had a hard time explaining it to Sarah Wadas of You're Invited, so she shared various details of her wedding. Wadas did the rest.

"She kind of ran with it," Courtney says. "I remember that she sent me a proof of maybe 30 or 40 different invitations." And thanks to Wadas' varied designs, Courtney and her fiance were able to narrow down the selection to just a few favorites.

Like Courtney and Wadas, you and your stationer should work together to design an invitation that is both on-trend and within your budget.

For spring and summer 2014, it's still all about vintage-inspired colors and designs. On Paper store manager Michelle Lawrence is seeing many of her clients stick to fairly neutral palettes or those in a singular color family. Pinks, peaches and corals, along with grays and taupes, have been very popular. Occasionally Custom Correspondence co-owner Britanee Lancione has noticed many couples pairing golds and silvers for an ultra-luxe feel.

Brides are personalizing the overarching "vintage" theme with graphic elements that lend a little twist to tradition. Lancione has seen many brides combine modern and vintage fonts and graphics. Wadas, on the other hand, has many customers who favor the "vintage-glam" or "rustic-vintage" styles. For the former, she says lace, damask and chandelier patterns printed on the invitation are popular, as well as adhesive pearls, rhinestones and shimmery metallic cardstock. For the rustic-vintage styles, she's noticing brides favor burlap, baker's twine, Mason jar designs and Kraft cardstock, which has a paper-bag feel.

If you're on a budget, beware of three-dimensional invite additions. Not only do they add an inherent cost, they can also send your postage through the roof. Thick bows and other elements can result in parcel rates, which can cost as much as $2 per invite. Square envelopes and full reply sets can also bump up your costs, so talk to your stationer about your invitation shape and consider RSVP postcards instead, which utilize less-expensive postage.

Crafty brides may be tempted by the DIY route via a craft-store invitation kit or a design from an online retailer like Vistaprint. Danielle Nanda and husband Paul had three wedding celebrations, including their official Nov. 17, 2012, wedding in Columbus, and they experienced both the professional and DIY sides of invitation design.

Danielle went to Paper Occasions with a unique "tie the knot" invitation idea. When guests opened the invite, a string attached to each end of the card pulled taut, literally tying a knot in the middle. She was thrilled with Paper Occasions' work and willingness to try something new, but Danielle also loved her Vistaprint invitations for a separate wedding celebration. While this plan worked for the Nandas, Lawrence cautions brides against assuming the quality of kits or online retailers will be as good.

"I'm always trying to get folks to be cognizant of paper quality," Lawrence says. "Many of the kits that I've seen, they're not heavy cardstocks. And the quality of the materials isn't as great as what we could help them piece together here." She suggests that if a professionally assembled invitation is out of your price range, ask what DIY options are available at local stationers. That way, you get a professional design and quality materials, but you save money by tying your own belly bands, gluing your own envelope liners and assembling your own invitation pieces before placing them in the envelope.

Another disadvantage of DIY is a lack of etiquette guidance. While some invitation traditions are fading away, others are still widely recognized as major faux pas territory. A professional can guide you through all the quirks of verbiage, letting you know which traditions are OK to buck. For example, the standard practice of listing only a bride's parents' names on the invite is disappearing as couples are also including the groom's parents or leaving parent names off altogether.

Another big deviation from tradition is the addressing of the outer envelopes. As more couples eschew the inner-outer envelope in favor of an outer only, informal names are beginning to appear on the address lines. And the addressing itself is evolving, too. Professional calligraphy is falling by the wayside in favor of more affordable laser-printed calligraphy or even wraparound address labels, which are very popular with Lancione's clients. She says a lot of brides also request a design printed on the envelope itself, which is a new and fun way to help set your invitation apart in the mail pile.

Of course, one tradition still reigns supreme: timing. Start your search early, as much as three to six months before your wedding, and allow a couple weeks for printing and assembly. Invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks prior to the wedding, with out-of-town or out-of-country guests receiving theirs as far as two months in advance.