SETTING A BUDGET
Before you begin ANYTHING, be sure you and your partner sit down together (with parents, too, if they're contributing) to determine what your budget should be. Don't forget to include all the "little" things that add up, such as ring sizing, tipping your vendors, hair/makeup, marriage license and so on.
There are plenty of sources online that can help you set up and track your budget throughout the planning process. Check out Wedding Wire, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, Your Wedding Company, or just google it to see what pops up!
After you've determined how much you can spend, try breaking it down into general categories, keeping in mind what your PRIORITIES are (see my last blog post). And remember, to HAVE FUN! If you don't have a big fat wallet, it certainly isn't the end of the world. There are so many things you can do yourself if you're a handy DIY bride...and if you have talented friends/family members, they're usually willing to pitch in to help, too! Remember, it's more important to have a fantastic marriage than to have a fantastic wedding...don't stress.
And if you DO have a big fat wallet...well, we're all just a little jealous! ;)