@dreamwedding4us: What a pretty ring! Congrats!
The first step is budget. I’m not sure how you guys came up with your 12.5k estimate, but it might be a good idea to go over it again. 🙂 There are two ways you can do this. You can either come up with your budget based on your guest list (in which case your guests are your priority, and you budget is secondary) OR you can come up with your budget based on how much money you are able to put away each month for the purpose (in which case your guest list may need to be amended to fit into your budget, and your wedding date/season follows your savings scheme)
For some people, they are able to choose based on their personal preferences. For me and my fiance, we knew we wouldn’t have a ton of money to throw at our wedding, so we went with the “how much can we save each month approach first, then went over our geust list second. In that way, we were able to make our VIP guests a consideration, but not going into debt for our wedding was a priority.
This is how we did it. I left my job in Oklahoma to move with Fi to Kansas, to follow an amazing oportunity in his field after he graduated from college. So money is pretty tight. We determined that we could save X amount each month. We knew we did not want an engagement to last more than a eyar and a half, so we used simple addition to determine what out total budget could be for each month during our engagement. My parents also offered to help, and are (coincidentally) matching our budget. While it is pretty low as far as wedding budgets go, we figured that between us and my parents, we could have a wedding in September- exactly one year after we got engaged.
After that, we put together our guest list. We’re only inviting extremely close friends and family. Fi is not wanting to invite all of his extended family for various reasons, so our guest list is topping out at about 70 people, which is totally reasonable! Thank god it was a number we could manage!
After we put together our budget and our guest list, we used The Knot’s and Real Simple’s budget guides and amended them to our priorities and circumstances. We compared the numbers we came up with (based on percentages of our total budget for each line item) with wedding prices in various areas, and determined the best region to host our wedding with cost as the main consideration (for example, even though we don’t live there, w’re having our wedding in Oklahoma. Everyone is havign to travel anyway, so we went with a budget friendly but beautiful lcoation)
So the first vendor/wedding item we decided to tackle was our venue, after we determined our budget and guest list. 🙂
I hope that wasn’t garbled up gibberish!