You’ve got plenty of time to plan a 2018 wedding if you want to still! But waiting is OK too! My fiance and I are in the same boat. I started grad school at the same time as you, but he started after me & we were torn about what to do. We were going to wait until he finished school (2019) but we decided we did not want a 4 year long engagement, so we decided to get married while we are both still in school with the understanding that he probably can’t help me plan much. As far as what everything will cost, that is totally dependent on what kind of wedding you want and your budget. Consequently, My advice is to sit down with your fiance and do the following, which will help you decide what your priorities are, and then go from there. Here is a handy step by step guide to help you start:
1) sit down with everyone who is paying. how much are you all willing to spend? Ideally? Max? Putting it all together, what’s your total budget? Also, WHERE is the wedding taking place? And what time of year do you prefer?
2) download an app like WeddingWire that has a built in budget estimator and will estimate the cost of everything you could possibly want and create categories for everything for you if you put in your total cost.
3) rough out a guest list. The idea is to estimate how many people you think you may need space for in your venue. (E.g. small and intimate, everyone you know invited, eloping…Etc)
4) You and your fiance (and potentially anyone else who may be paying) should each make a list of your top 3 priorities for what you want at/for your wedding. Then sit down together and figure out where you can compromise and what you absolutely have to have. This will help you figure out what kind of venue and services you need, and what you don’t, which will help you for step 5…
5) Go through the template budget you made in step 2 and customize it to match the priorities you came up with. Use a website like http://www.costofwedding.com to look at average costs for wedding services in your area as a guide. Delete anything you don’t need from the template and assign that money elsewhere. Shrink the amount to spend on things you don’t care about as much and add more money to things that are important, if necessary.
Once you’re done with all of these steps, you should have an idea of what you want your wedding to look like, and a rough idea of what you can spend on everything. Keeping this in mind, it’s on to step 6:
6) Research possible venues in the area you are getting married. Use websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire to make it easy. Look at pics and websites for any that interest you. If you’re interested, write the place down. If not, move on. Once you have a list of places you’re interested in, contact each venue on the list. If there are a lot, elicit help from family and friends. For each venue find out how many people they allow, their price range, food and beverage rules, and any other info you can about hosting a wedding there. Rule out any that are outside your price range, don’t fit your guest list, or don’t fit your priorities (ex: it was important to my fiance we get married during warm weather. So any venues not open during summer I eliminated). Go visit any venues that are left after this round of cuts. Take your fiance or other people with you who can help you make decisions when you visit.
7) With your fiance, narrow down the venue list to your top 3 based on all the info you’ve collected and what you thought during your visits. Sit down and price them out. Then it’s time to make a decision! Rank the venues in order of preference.
8)Come up with potential dates and call the venue to book. If vendor #1 doesn’t have any dates available for you in your preferred range, either decide to move your date or move on to vendor #2.
9)Repeat steps 6-9 for every other vendor you need to book. I suggest downloading the LadyMarry (my fav) or WeddingWire app to help you create a timeline and stay organized. Then every month just make it a goal to check off each thing it says you have to do and voila, you should be good to go!
I really hope this helps! I totally get that planning can be overwhelming, especially with school, but you got this!!!