Congratulations! You have a lot on your plate for this wedding! My first suggestion to you would be to make out a budget. Once you know how much you are able to spend, you can start searching for the right places in your budget.
Keep that idea journal going! That is a great place to start with your ideas. Then later you can weed out the ones you still don't love.
Once you have your budget down and start the great search for the perfect vendors, find a list online (marthastewart.com is a great place to start ) of questions to ask. Asking the right questions can rule out some vendors that don't fit with you. Also, trust your gut. You want to be able to communicate and get along with the vendors well for your big day. They can be the most reputable firm in town, but if you don't click.. it might be more challenging than it has to be.
Do you have a friend or family to help you out in Canada? If not I am sure there are many planners who can help you with the long distance planning. Sometimes planners have a list of vendors in the area they will share with you. They can be of huge help to you, especially in your long distance situation.
Celeste is right - budget will determine everything for your event. That said, planning long distance (particularly given that you understand the need for using event coordinators) is really going to be a whole lot less stressful for you if you book with a planner as your first step. A good planner makes sure that their fees won't take you over budget (they work their fees into your budget), and is going to get you the direct line on the best and most budget conscious vendors for your big day. Moreover, they can help to corral your local help, and give traction to all the local details.
Good luck, and again...Big Welcome from Canada, EH.
BWB, absolutely! A good coordinator will work with what you have and get you as close as humanely possible to your dream wedding.
What BWB said about fees worked into your budget is very important. A coordinator should not have their fees on top of your budget. A good coordinator will know how to get the most out of the budget and know where to find the best vendors for your dollar.
LOL, corralling help. Funny. So true. I am envisioning a lasso.
yes, the guest list is so important to your budget. If you are feeling like things are just out of your price range, cut the guest list. Most people have guests on their list that are obligatory, you may cut them if it seems your wedding will not be what you want.
Wonderful that you have family-in-laws to help you! Enjoy the process, it should be fun!
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!