Shannon (I think. The bar is getting to me.) commented that the purchasing of paper is what freaks her out about DIY invites. This was my favorite part, although I made it more complicated than I had to, so I figured I would write in a little more detail.
I originally wanted to use an online printing company to print our invites for us, but after ordering a number of samples, I was disappointed. The online printing companies I found all used very "high gloss" techniques and didn't deliver a nice matte finish like I wanted. (Note: when it comes to this part of the invite process, I means I. I doesn't mean "we". I means "I micromanaged and obsessed." I'm not proud of it, but this was the thing that I cared about more than anything else.)
I ordered samples from www.cardsandpockets.com and almost went with them but ultimately didn't because they didn't have a recycled paper option and if we were going to order the paper ourselves, it was cheaper to get them printed locally.
I looked into several places for paper, but would up getting samples from only one - www.paperandmore.com. I almost went with www.thepapermillstore.com which has a wide variety of eco-friendly paper and uses renewable energy but I felt daunted by their selection and couldn't find a flat recycled navy cardstock to use as a backer. Plus, Paper and More had flat rate shipping, which was very important to me.
www.paperandmore.com lets you purchase individual sheets of cardstock so that you can test run them through a printer. I ordered 3-4 types of cardstock and ultimately decided on the Recycled Bright White Cardstock for the invites. I used the recycled cardstock for the backing, and sold out my environmental side to my aesthetic side and ordered regular cardstock (which turned out to be 30% postconsumer recycled just like the other papers anyway) for use with our table numbers, place cards and other wedding related projects.
There are a few things you should understand before you go and order paper. I'm not a paper expert, but this is what we found:
80# pound cardstock was easy to run through a printer but still had a good heft to it
100# pound cardstock was difficult to use with a cricut and probably would have been even more difficult to fold.
A linen finish means the paper has a texture to it in kind of a fabric-y/crosshatch pattern. Smooth means the paper does not have texture to it.
You should make sure you have extra paper in case Staples prints 25 sheets of your rehearsal dinner invites, instead of the 10 they asked you to. (Did I not mention this in my I hate Staples post? No, we didn't get money back or new paper. I hate Staples.)
I obsessed over the paper because I was unreasonably concerned about our invites looking like a cheap craft project. Our invitations will be people's first view of the wedding and I didn't want to look cheap, or boring, which is why I didn't just order lovely plain invitations. I was afraid that cheap looking invites (which I have never received) would say, "we will serve lousy food but still expect gifts."* I wanted our invites to be creative and quirky, but still classy.* If you are also unreasonably concerned about this, I think that the most important thing is to pick the right paper. The easiest way to pick the right paper is to order samples and test print - which means start your paper search at least 2-3 months in advance of your invite printing and assembly process.
*Nobody I know would think this. I don't like people that think this. Hence the unreasonable concern. Regardless.
**I'm none of these things. Isn't it funny how weddings make us want to be totally different people?