After the glee of being engaged has totally sunk in and you have chosen a wedding date there are three vendors to book first. Venue, Videographer, and Photographer. Before anything can really happen you need to lock down your location. Some venues book two years in advance. Bust out your browsers and bookmark everything available. Be aggressive in booking your venue. Book your room based on the number of guests. A palace is too large for 30 people and a cozy cottage is to small for 300. Many venues give you the room for "free" when you book their catering. Beware of up-charges for things like video projectors, microphones, and other electronic equipment. Most DJs will have all of these things included or at a cheaper price.
Of course we are going to discuss video since that is what we do. Put it in your budget. At the very least match your video and photo budgets. Both are equally important. Watching and hearing your wedding is priceless. The vows, speeches, little kids, and grandparents. Preserve this moment for future generations. Set aside $1000-$3000.
When it comes to photography choose your photographer based on the fact that you like their end product and that you can afford them. Expect to pay in the range from $1000-$3000. Ask questions. Get to know their personality.
When the big three are booked first. Everything else is easy.
3 - Buffets: More choices and keeps the party on time
Buffets are the perfect scenario. Multiple choices, people eat what they like, and everybody is happy. Why choose between chicken or fish when you can have both? You also get the best value out of the food.