According to Matthew Oliver, when a sample is shown to the couple they can check to see that all information is correct. He also asks for them to sign off on the final proof. This shows that the couple was happy with the sample and that is exactly what they were asking for.
Melissa Ward will always offer a complementary sample if there is time. If the couple wants additional samples they can be provided (again, as long as there is time) but you may be charged a nominal fee. Even before a sample is created, local clients can view already printed samples from past couples and see all paper swatches that are available.
Because certain methods of printing require custom plates to be created before even one sample can be printed, Whitney Perry says that the sample that you will see before your invitations are printed will be a digital sample. This allows the couple to verify that all information is correct as well as make slight adjustments to the design, change colors, etc.
It is always important to see a sample of your wedding invitations, even if only digitally, so that you can get an idea of what they will look like when you have all of them in your hands ready to send out to your guests. If you have concerns about viewing samples, you should discuss this with your printer before you sign a contract with them or even discuss paper types, designs, or timelines. It won’t get more real for your guests that you are getting married until they get the invitation in the mail – make it a memorable one.