Buying 'as forked' if your first scope may prove to be all you need for a good while. The autostar is great for helping get to know your sky, and learn what/how your OTA will deliver wrt your expectations. Just dont turn power on if the OTA is 'locked' in the fork
. You mention getting a wedge, but that isn't mandatory, they work fine without them. The Meade fork mounted AutoStar controlled OTA is made to be an out of the box all in one visual solution.
Is imaging desirable from 'the get go' or a possble long term goal? As mentioned it is 'possible' to image with fork mount, but there's some things to get to know first. And here you'll find the wedge quite useful, but the good one(s) is $$, and pretty heavy, and will make the GEM alternative seem a bit more attractive?. There also used to be field de-rotators, don't know if they are still available. A thing to consider about fork mounts is the can limit what you can attach on the back of the OTA 'fork clearance' wise.
Many folks find the supplied fork mount all they need for visual. Used to be the Meade fork mounts were pretty well made and had all metal gears and etc where it mattered. Worked fine and lasted a long time. Meade sold parts and etc and had great tech / phone support for you to fix when problems came up. I can say that's NOT the the case as of 2003 and later (LX200) and I do not know about the ACF forks... Don't know how that all plays into the picture. It might be good to check support options for whichever you choose. Some folks love the Losmandy brand GEM's for this reason (and others! - but this one specific to repair / support)
I agree to get the best mount you can buy, but, how big is money bucket for purchase(s)? You can easily spend more on a sepirate mount than the scope OTA will cost (even many times the cost), and not worry about being 'mount limited'. My recommendation is that after knowing scope weight, if going with a sepirate mount, get one that has that weight in the middle third of the mounts payload capacity or rating, should be a safe bet.
As Leigh suggests, having a GEM allows some flexibility and ease of use, but that is 'if you need them'. If you decide to get a refractor or try imaging 'down the road', you'll already have a mount (unless you go for a whopper) depending on initial GEM chosen. Most GEM's have a goto capability and nearly all can be equipped with tracking gizmo's.
The good thing is you have a lot of options available - and some will seem more credible costwise once you decide exactly the OTA you want to get, and what you want to do with it in near and long term.
I was a fork mount SCT/MCT visual only astronut for many, many years and was quite happy. Trying imaging changed all that.