Congratulations!!! You are engaged and now you are looking to start planning your wedding day. The more time you give yourself to plan, the easier it becomes to identify bargains and help make them into a reality. Since so many wedding features are expensive, investing more time yourself can cut those costs down quickly.
Book your venue first because your photographer and the rest of your vendors will need to know the distance they need to travel and they will have to account for this when they send you a quote.
Book your photographer second. As a full time photographer, I specialize in small wedding, meaning anything under 100 people. I like to know the location of your venue and the time of your ceremony and how many hour of coverage is wanted. A lot of brides want to have photos from the moment they are getting ready, the first look, ceremony and reception. If you are eloping these traditions are a lot shorter. I advice my brides to hire a good photographer because you will not have a second chance to capture your special again. Photography will be something that you will look back for years to come and you will be able to pass those photos to your future children.
The cake, according to wedding experts they say the average nothing special wedding cake costs $350. If you go to your local grocery store and you know they do a great job, it might save you a lot from your budget.
Depending on your budget, hire a day of ceremony coordinator. I just completed a wedding that had a family member do this and nothing was being coordinated. It made for bad planning and they wasted their money printing day planner, the guests did not know what was going on. They had no first dance, no speeches, and as the photographer I was left confused until I had to coordinate because everyone was just seating around. A day coordinator is not that expensive and if you find a good one she will keep the party going and let you know enjoy your day.
Shop around for a catering service or even better contract a location that provides the food maybe a restaurant or even a brewery. This is huge savings and make sure to try their food ahead of time.
Flowers can cost north of $900 if you don't have the budget for them, consult with your florist and get whatever is in season.