Take some time to consider the overall look and feel of your wedding. Will your day be vintage, Traditional, Sophisticated, or Romantic? Do you see a small intimate group in a cozy restaurant or a huge bash in a ballroom? Will you be wed in a church, on the beach, at home? If you’re not sure exactly what your vision is, look through some pictures at sites like The Knot and Project Wedding or blogs like Style Me Pretty and Snippet & Ink. (Take a look at la Belle Bride to see a great example of vintage theme wedding with the help of Ambrosia’s Wedding Catering.) If you find pictures that reflect your vision, be sure to save them for reference.
Sit down with your fiancée and figure out how much you want to spend on your wedding. If family members have offered to assist you financially, incorporate those funds into your budget. While talking about money can be uncomfortable, it’s important that everyone providing funds for the wedding is on the same page. Once you’ve determined your overall budget, use an online budget calculator to break the costs down by vendor category. Keep in mind that prices vary depending on where you live and the time of year you’re getting married. You can also adjust your budget based on where you want to splurge and where you want to save.
Before you can book any vendors you need to choose a date, or at least a general range when you want to get married. May through August is considered “wedding season” and is the most popular time of year to get married. Choosing a date in the off-season will give you a larger variety of vendors to choose from and may enable you to score some deals. Once you’ve picked a date, you will need to secure your ceremony and reception venues, photographer, and ceremony officiant. After booking these vendors, move on to caterer, florist, musicians, cake baker, transportation and other major vendors. Ideally, all vendors are booked at least four months before the wedding.