First off – congratulations on your engagement!
I was exactly the same as you – within 24 hours of being engaged, I was creating a guest list, looking online when the next wedding expo was, and starting to think about how much money I was going to need. 🙂
As the PP have said – don’t forget about enjoying your engagement. Being married is going to last years and years; being engaged won’t. 🙂
The first thing I did was sort out my budget. Once you know how much you want to/can afford to spend, everything flows on from there. There’s no point looking at venues that are going to run you $10k – $15k if that’s what you need for the ENTIRE wedding.
Sit down with your fiancee and work out how much you want to spend. Remember, “wanting” and “affording” are too different things. I’d like to spend $100k on a wedding – I could do it! But I can’t afford it. For us, we came up with a number we were both happy with and then added 10% to allow for additional funds.
For us, our wedding budget is $40k AUD. Using that figure, we then worked backwards on what we were going to need. I’m sure there’s 101 lists online not to mention WeddingBee itself but we made some assumptions and went from there.
Venue – 10k
Dress – 4k
Suits – 1k
Rings – 5k
Car – 1k
Decorations – 5k
Bridesmaids – 1k
Celebrant – 1k
Stationary – 1.5k
Photography – 5k
Music – 2k
The above comes to $33,500.
We could then go from there and work out how much everything was actually going to cost us as we checked out photographers (went roughly $300 over), venues (correct), celebrant (came under), suits (came under), dress (came under), etc.
The budget is going to lend itself to everything like I said earlier. No point planning a 150 person event when you want an event at $150/head ($22,500) if your budget isn’t going to allow it.
But also don’t stress about it. This is meant to be fun.
It’ll be hard, and for me there has been wedding-mares (wedding based nightmares), tears, tantrums, weight gain instead of weight loss (damn my stress eating) and many a headache going through everything. But it’s also been a heap of fun.