A good wedding planner will have all the sections you need to keep you organised from start to finish and being organised massively reduces the stress, trust me! I bought mine on Ebay - this one. It had a couple of sections I didn't need but I just used them for ones I did.
I put EVERYTHING in my book.. Guest list, favour ideas, wedding gift ideas, table plan, menu choices, questions for the venue, all paperwork (venue, photographer etc), a list of things to remember to take to the venue (I'm staying there the night before), budget planner/tracker, list of things I need to get/track purchases and a section with a whole bunch of cut outs from magazines of things I liked from dresses to hair and make up, cakes, favours and monthly and 24 hour wedding check lists.
Set A Budget!
Even roughly. There is no point in going to look round/contacting venues and suppliers until you know what you can afford and how many people you need it/them to accomodate. Venues will ask how many people you're expecting and the price of feeding your guests is one of the largest bills you'll pay.
It's not just your wedding!
Discuss with your other half the kind of wedding you'd both like. Small and intimate with a handful of those closest to you or big and bold with every family member and friend you can think of? (This will help you know the kind of size venue to look for) Don't be disheartened if your other half doesn't want to talk decorations and favours.. As long as you can agree on a colour scheme, they will be happy to leave the decor to you!
It's also worth thinking about the time of year you plan on getting married - this can sway your mind on venues. When you have an idea of numbers you can start viewing venues. If you're searching local venues online, I'm betting you're looking up 'wedding venues in...' this will usually only bring up the venues that have paid to be on the websites listing wedding venues. If you're after a hotel for instance, try searching 'hotel in...' - we found ours that way - they have weddings on all year round and don't need to advertise so they don't come up in wedding related searches.
When you find a venue you love and have a date in mind you'll need to check with the local registry office that a registrar is available for your chosen date - don't just assume! Most venues will hold your chosen date for a week to enable you to make sure a registrar and suppliers are also available.
More wedding posts to follow :) Are any of you brides to be? xxx