I get asked this all the time. With good reason if you've never done this before!
I meet so many brides-to-be who are newly engaged who tell me that they are feeling overwhelmed and shocked that they have to book so far ahead for their big day, so I thought I'd put together my tips when starting out-I'm not an expert but having seen more than my share of weddings I do have a few ideas to pass on;
Get a wedding book/spreadsheet/app-however you like to do it, and decide with your intended what sort of wedding you both want, because trust me-once you start looking on Pinterest, you will love 10 different sort of weddings! Not only will you be able to refer back to what you really wanted at the beginning, it will help you decide what sort of venue you need to look for. For example, If you want a DIY /rustic/festival type wedding then a stately home is probably not for you, but if you want a classic, grown up affair then a village hall may not cut it!
Once you have decided your style of venue & budget, then start looking as soon as you can-go to wedding fairs & open days as you may have to book up to 2 years (eek!) in advance if you are set on a certain date. You can, however save some money by having your wedding mid week or out of season.
Ok, so once the venue is decided, start looking for suppliers-photographer/food/decor/music-check their prices and decide what your priority is budgetwise -also, a little tip is to not ask for discount but let your supplier know your budget, they will appreciate that. If you attend open days/wedding fairs speak to your suppliers-that way you will know if you both have the same vision, I am a big believer in booking people you like or just take too and who understand your vision.
Before you book, check with your venue if there are any restrictions such as noise after a certain time/noise limiters/using your own caterers/decor etc and get in in writing or put into your contract. Also its wise to check what time you can gain access to set up the wedding and to take down-this is vital to ensure you can get your decor looking just how you want.
All of that sounds like hard work doesn't it? So enjoy yourself on Pinterest-when I planned my own wedding, Pinterest was invaluable-if you pin everything you like, you will soon start to see a theme/common trends standing out and the big bonus is you can find some of your suppliers from the images you love.
I hope that helps you if you are at the planning stage-what are your tips for wedding planning?