The part of wedding planning where I really put my heart and soul was invitations. Dress - whatever. Location - good enough. But the invites had to be perfect

I know that they were going to have to be custom, so I asked my mom (a graphic designer) to do them. I wanted something that would fit with the historical nature of our location and was not botanical. I had a surprisingly difficult time describing what I wanted and changed my mind on the design a million times. In the end, I apologized for over-working my mom, took the reigns, and finally found one that had the right mix of femininity/masculinity and modernity/antiquity. I love them, my FI loved them, and my mom loved them. Done! ...or so I thought!

Turns out printing is  actually the most difficult part of DIY invites. I didn't want to pay to get them professionally printed, since we are having a small wedding and only needed about 40 invitations. I got the perfect, ivory, linen paper at PaperZone and headed to Kinkos. Let's just say it was a mess. One big, ugly, and emotional mess. But then on my make-up trial, I passed by a DocuMart store! I had never heard of the chain, but after a short chat with the manager, I felt confident that this was the right place. I returned with my file and paper, and in a few minutes walked away with exactly what I had pictured!

DIY Tips:

-- Buy more paper than you think you'll need. Buying an entire ream of paper may be close to the same price as buying per-sheet - and you get lots of room for error.

-- Color varies from screen to screen and from printer to printer. If the color of your invitation is important to you, then create copies of your invitation in slightly different colors and a document with test strips of the colors. Bring all the files with you to the print shop, have them run the test doc first, and then select the color that prints as you want it.

-- Copy shops will do cuts for you, if you don't want to do them by hand. The price is typically per cut, but reasonable for a small number of cuts.

-- 80lb cardstock will work as reply postcards, but I would suggest not going any lighter. Most printers don't take more than 100 or 110 lb stock.

-- If you're not looking for something specific, then price standard invitation companies. Doing them yourself won't necessarily be less expensive.