FIRST thing, figure out your budget. Next thing, figure out about how many people you want to invite, just a ball park estimate… if you know yall both have big families then you’re going to need a venue that accomodates a larger wedding. you would hate to find the venue of your dreams and find out it is at capacity at 100 people, when you know you want to invite 200… so either you have to scratch half of your guest list off, or you’ll have to walk away from your dream venue. After that, start looking for a venue… you can’t book anything else until you have a date hammered down, and a place to have the wedding.
when looking for a venue, keep in mind things that are important to you. like do you want to pick out your own caterer, would you rather it be all in house. if it’s in house, how do they serve? buffet, sit down, or both. do you want to bring your own alcohol – or is that not a priority (you can save A LOT of money by being able to bring your own BTW), do you want to have the whole day rented out, or are you okay with there being a wedding in the morning and you having one in the evening, or vice versa, DO THEY ALLOW CANDLES (this was my biggest – if you didn’t allow candles we did not need to talk!!!), etc etc etc
After that, start booking vendors that are most important. I have been told a million times that you shouldn’t be cheap with your photographer or your DJ. the only thing you’ll have when the day is over is pictures, and the only thing that can make a party happen is a DJ, so my advice would be to start there.
I would also start looking for a wedding gown, it can take 6 months to get some, and then you have to have alterations and time for a couple fittings and stuff.
I would say put the petal to the metal, and dive head first into planning. OH! and go to bridal shows!! It’s so much fun!! this is usually the time of season for wedding shows (january, february) I guess because this is engagement season. you can win things at these bridal shows, talk to vendors, get ideas, EAT CAKE, so much fun!!
As for it being a popular date and more expensive, I doubt that. i read a million times when i was doing my research for my wedding, that places have discounts for off-season times, and i really never found that. i just found that if you wanted a popular time you needed to move fast, because it’ll be booked up the farthest in advance.
good luck!! happy planning!! message me if you need any help. sorry this is so long!!