You'd better get started! Wedding gowns can take up to 6 months to come in once ordered, for example. Venues and officiants book quickly, too, as do florists and photographers, so you don't have time to waste.
I suggest that you go to your local bookstore and pick up a wedding planning guide. This will give you a ToDo list and timeline to guide you through the process. They will also no doubt have a book on planning a wedding on a budget, which would be a good investment, as well.
As for less costly venues, I would suggest that you start by reading the following posting by Reverend Ann Fuller who frequently monitors these forums: http://www.eventective.com/forum/topic1410-ideas-for-inexpensive-venues.aspx
The time of day you plan your wedding can have a big impact on cost. A morning wedding followed by a brunch buffet will be alot less expensive than an evening wedding with a full meal. Or consider an early afternoon wedding followed by high tea. You can also have an evening wedding with just a dessert reception (be sure to indicate on the invitations that's the kind of reception you're having, so your guests know to eat before the wedding).
If you plan to serve liquor, limiting it to beer and wine with a champagne toast will save money. If you have a morning reception with a brunch, you can just serve mimosas (champagne with orange juice) and Bloody Mary's. With a high tea, you don't need to serve alcohol at all.
Holding your wedding on a Friday or Sunday can net a significant savings, as well, not only with the venue but also with other wedding vendors like DJ's, caterers, photographers, etc.
You can save money on flowers if you choose simple bouquets (a single rose with babies breath and ribbons; or a single, dramatic calla lily, for example). Talk to your florist for advice on what's in season, too. Out of season flowers will cost alot more than what's readily available.
You can save money on photography by contacting a local college that has a photography major or classes in photography. Talk to the instructor; s/he may do photography for hire on the side, or may be able to recommend a talented student.
If you're computer-savvy, you can purchase invitation papers from places like OfficeMax and Staples, or online from http://www.paperdirect.com
and print your own and save BIG money.
If you're crafty (or know someone who is), wedding supplies and favors can be found at your local party and craft stores, or online at http://www.orientaltrading.com.
Think creatively and I'm sure your wedding will be lovely and won't break the bank!
Marti Barton, Wedding Officiant http://www.joyfulpromises.com