So it turns out that actually there is a very obvious place to start planning your wedding. Before you work out the who, what, when and how much, you need to work out what your priorities are.
This is best described by Sara on her blog 2000 dollar wedding. Hindsight Bride also covers it well, on her podcasts with Rogue Bride -The Bridal Koolaid Cocktail Hour. Lindsay at Frugally Wed focuses on authenticity; slightly different but with the same logic behind it. Your wedding should be about you. Who are you as a couple? What are the important things in your life, and who do you want to share them with?
With this in mind, you can then go on to work out your priorities for the day, and how much you're prepared to spend to make them happen.
So I sat down with Inspector Gadget, and we did a sort of mini-mindmap. After that our priority list looks like this:
1 - Fabulous honeymoon.
2 - Church ceremony, with Dad giving me away.
3 - Venue with character. We're big on character in buildings, but not of one specific kind.
4 - Classy. We would rather do less things, and do them properly, than more things and end up with half hearted tat.
5 - A cheesy disco.
6 - Fun and light hearted, with minimal stress.
7 - Lots of photos. We like photos. We have been known to take over 3000 photos on a two week holiday (yes there are three zeros in that number).
We also had a list of "no way" items:
1 - Wasting money on silly things. More on this later.
2 - A cookie cutter wedding. We are not doing anything just because "that's how it's done."
3 - Chicken. It's not that we don't eat chicken, but it's safe and boring and standard function food. Bring on the red meat!
4 - I'm keeping this one quiet for now, you'll see why later.
With this at the front of my planning thoughts (and physically at the front of my wedding folder), I felt confident that we could make this day exactly what we wanted.