My third tip is putting together a guest count...why, because if you have a budget of $5,000 you can not have a guest count of 400 which would mean you DO NOT need that big ballroom. Now I am by all means not saying sit down with a pen and paper and start writing down every family member you know. But I am saying come up with a rough idea. This will come in handy when starting to look at ceremony and reception space.
This is something that you will need your fiance to par take in. This also might bring out some tension in the family. Dad wants to invite his golf buddy....mom a co-worker. Couples you will need to stand your ground especially if you two are footing the bill. If your parents are willing to help this is the time to talk about who will paying for what.
Make sure you both are being open and honest about what you are envisioning your wedding to be. If you are wanting more of a small town feel but he is wanting a grand reception you will need to discuses that before going much further. This is where merging the two ideas into one can get tricky and need careful planning.
After this tip you can start your guest count! Congrats on to the next step :).
~ Happy Planning