Vistaprint has excellent prices, but I would suggest getting invitation/paper samples from them before ordering. I was very disappointed in the quality of their product, but I know lots of ladies here have used them and love them. I just received my invitations from weddingpaperdivas, and I love them. However, they’re significantly pricier…almost six dollars an invite (including outer envelope, inner envelope, invitation, response card, response envelope, accommodations card, wedding website card, belly band, and printing of return address labels.) This with square borders (they charge more for rounded) and standard paper. I got samples from minted too, and they were beautiful, but cost even more than weddingpaperdivas. I should mention that our invites aren’t even letterpress or anything, just a beautiful watercolor floral design.
I actually saw a “print it yourself” wedding invitation kit at Joanne’s crafts the other day that was quite reasonable, like $25 for 25 invites, and they looked a lot nicer than some of the purely diy invites I’ve received. My advice is to get online and start ordering samples from everywhere you can right away, as they take a while to ship, while you more clearly define what exactly you want and what your budget is.
As far as your timeline goes, you’ve gotten some good advice so far…I am having a destination wedding, so the typical timeline doesn’t apply for us and I’m not an expert anyway!
What do you mean by little cards and envelopes? If you’re referring to enclosure cards/response cards, it’s really up to you. If you’re not having a formal event and wish to forgo some of those formal elements, that’s your prerogative. We have more enclosure cards, because there is more information to convey- with a local, backyard wedding (just for example) none of that would be required. Personally I’d raise an eyebrow at totally eliminating the response card, but you could, if you wanted to, and just do an online only or telephone RSVP. I’ve seen people send out invites that were just the outer envelope with the invite itself and a response postcard, too. That would certainly save some money, while still adhering to the “traditional” response. Do whatever you want, though! Really, it’s your wedding, your invites, your day.