As soon as you've picked a date, start to look for hotels in a wide variety of price points. Many hotels allow you to reserve rooms for guests under a special wedding block and a reduced rate. You can then release any unbooked rooms a month prior to your wedding. If the hotels you contact insist upon contracts with cancellation penalties, just say no—you don't want to be responsible for rooms you can't fill.
When it comes to bartenders and waitstaff, and parking, bathroom and coatroom attendants, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it's not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
Finally, and most importantly, there are no rules! Want to have a BYOM (bring your own meat) picnic on blankets in the park? Do it. Don’t care for cake? Do without it. As someone who has worked in the wedding industry, I’ve seen it all too often become just that—an industry! Don’t buy into it if you don’t want it. Pick what is most important to you and prioritize based on that, not on convention or expectations. Don’t get so wrapped up in everything else that it takes away from being there in that moment." —Sophie and Bobby