Hi and congrats!!
Fiance and I are both full time students so I tried to get as much done as possible this summer. We are marrying spring break 2011!
I am using weddingwire’s online planning and budget tools. I’m sure others will recommend other sites or programs but this one is free and has suited me just fine. It also includes month by month “to do” checklists.
I don’t think you need a coordinator.
I think your budget is do-able. We started out with a similar budget. We’ve expanded it a bit, up to around $7000 but we are marrying out of state so that figure includes rount trip airfare for Fiance and I and our 3 kids, plus lodging for a week in Iowa (we live in Texas), plus a minivan rental. So yeah, $5000 can be done!
I started first with the guest list, budget (entering all the various figures into the online tool helped me a lot), finding a venue for ceremony and reception, then the dress search. The dress search was the biggest headache for me by far. I would HIGHLY recommend narrowing down what you want, going to try it on in person, then searching ebay and/or the used wedding dress sites to save a bundle. I got my dress (with shipping, veil, and crinoline) new with tags for $106 on ebay.
I don’t think you need save the dates unless you will have a lot of out of town guests. Since we are marrying out of state, all but about 5 of our guests are also out of state so I did the STD thing but I let go of my need to be super creative to just get them done. I used printable boxed ones I found at a thrift store for $4.00 and printed them at home.
I have also bought printable invites from wal-mart for $1.00 a box on clearance (no kidding!!), 50 in a box, and I bought 2 boxes. We have a small guest list but I wanted the extras for practice.
I can give you a ton of tips (and you can find a ton here) on saving money. If you’re okay with second hand things, for example, we have purchased FI’s entire outfit at thrift stores, some never used boxed champagne toasting flutes at a thrift store for $2, our daughter’s flower girl basket at a thrift store for $2, 2 veils (one to maybe wear, one for the fabric) at a thrift for $5.. you get the idea. It just takes some searching. 🙂