What Have You Done So Far?

Besides “How did he do it?” I think the title reflects the question brides hear the second most during their engagement.

Every couple has their own timeline…or goes off online planning resources (from theknot.com or brides.com, for example). However, I always like to hear from real brides when they booked/scheduled everything, so I thought I’d share my timeline with you all!

Before I jump into it, want to mention that all these comments/thoughts are my own and based on my experiences as well as those of friends who were/are to be married in the Philadelphia area. It’s also worth noting that things may be different for those not booking in a major city or during a peak month.

WARNING: this post is heavy on info…if you just want a quick look at timelines, skip to the bottom!

Engagement: February 18, 2011

Venue: Kimmel Center Rittenhouse Hotel

Booked: 14 months before the wedding (original); booked under seven months before the wedding (current)

Tasting: Under one month from the wedding

This timeline is a little tricky since our first-choice venue cancelled on us. We were VERY lucky to get our current venue seven months ahead of time, as they are normally booked over a year in advance (thank you to the person/people who canceled the original hold). This may not be common in other places, but in Philadelphia, many venues are unavailable at peak times of year unless you book 12–14 months in advance (based on our experience and that of other couples we know).

Church: St. Patrick’s

Booked: 13 months before the wedding

Pre-Cana: five months in advance

Music selected: four months in advance


Personal photo of St. Patrick’s on Easter Sunday

Now, we did things a little bit backward by not checking with the church before booking our venue. However, we thought we were OK booking when we did but, despite such a long time frame, the only time available for the wedding was 6:30 PM. Ironically, in the end, we found out we are now the only ones getting married in the church on our date. In addition, I have heard from others who panicked about booking their Pre-Cana session. At five months out, we were among the “earlier” couples in our group—some were getting married the next weekend!

Band: Jelly Roll

Booked: 14 months before the wedding

And, believe it or not, we originally weren’t able to get them! Thankfully the couple who had the hold on the date decided on a destination wedding, freeing Jelly Roll up for our date. Phew—we would have been VERY disappointed.

Photographer: Philip Gabriel

Booked: 13 months before the wedding

Engagement photos: seven months before the wedding


So excited to work with Gabe again!

Videographer: Blossom Productions

Booked: nine months before the wedding

Flowers/Event Design: Evantine

Booked: nine months before wedding

First meeting: 12 months before wedding

Second meeting: seven months before the wedding

Final meeting: Under three months before the wedding

Makeup: Cheekadee

Booked: nine months before the wedding

Trial: seven months before the wedding

Hair: Bella Angel

Booked: nine months before the wedding

Trial: two months before the wedding

Although Bella does both hair and makeup, I chose to separate the two functions. I know it’s a personal preference, but my thought was to not put all my eggs in one basket (just in case something went wrong). In addition, I had heard from some brides who used the same company for both functions and had trouble with timing because they found themselves with fewer attendants than might be best. Call me paranoid, but I hope dividing up the tasks works out!


I’ll see this fancy style again soon!

So, I’ve covered all the “big” stuff, but what about all the other details, including attire? Ask and you shall receive.

Dress: TBA :)

Purchased: 11 months before the wedding

Arrived: three months before the wedding

First fitting: less than two months before the wedding

Second fitting: one month before the wedding

Pickup: one month before the wedding

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

Purchased: 11 months before the wedding

Arrived: eight months before the wedding

Groom’s/Groomsmen’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

Reserved: four months before the wedding


The Fashionable Five rocking their dress styles (in the wrong colors)

As you can see, attire for the women took precedence in terms of timing. However, I would recommend reserving your tuxes/menswear earlier rather than later. We did have some delinquent delayed groomsmen who took almost two months to get fitted! Also, for what it’s worth, the bridesmaids’ dresses arrived almost three weeks before the original date we were given.

Save the Dates: Two Paperdolls

Sent: six months before the wedding

Invitations: Two Paperdolls

Sent: two-plus months before the wedding

Requested return date: one month before the wedding


Our save the date & invite on display

The paper products were a very important part of the wedding (to me), and so I started the browsing process early. However, my first meeting with Two Paperdolls wasn’t until late summer. Our development process didn’t take overly long (two to three rounds of revision on both invites and save the dates), but doing things early did allow us some flexibility (for calligraphy, early mailing of invites, etc.).

Finally, the “other” events. These were pretty nicely spread throughout our engagement, which meant we had many occasions to celebrate throughout our 14-plus-month engagement!


How our fridge looked at one time—we had a LOT of celebrating to do.

Engagement Party

Celebrated: 12-plus months before the wedding

Bridal Shower

First one (PA): seven months before the wedding

Second one (NY): Under two months from the wedding

Bachelorette Party: Florida

Celebrated: Under one month before the wedding (recap coming!)

So, to sum it up, how did everything break down? I used the online planning resource “buckets” and put an asterisk next to some of the details I have not discussed:

12-plus months out

Between 6 and 12 months out

Between 3 and 6 months out

Between 1 and 3 months out

Under 1 month out

I realize that this might be WAY too much information for many of you, but as mentioned above, when I was in my early planning phases, a breakdown like this would have been very helpful! You know I love (and need) organization.

In addition, you can see that a lot of our bookings were done 6 to 12 months prior to the wedding (many around nine months out). Was this too early? Potentially. But I had the benefit of half-day Fridays, and having these details squared away early really helped from a time-management standpoint. I can say, pretty honestly, that with things spread out, wedding planning hasn’t been all that bad (venue hiccup aside)!

When did you book/schedule everything?


Mrs. Turkey

Wedding Date:
May 2012
Win Your Groom's Look from Black Lapel!
A Beautiful Contract
Add a comment


  1. unicycle Member
    unicycle 476 posts, Helper bee @ 1:46 pm

    I love your organization so much. This post didn’t help me since I’m already almost married, but it did brighten my day :)

  2. Member
    Mrs.Mittens 2427 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:10 pm

    Miss Turkey! I saw these and thought of you!

  3. coyote Member
    coyote 1963 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:19 pm

    I love this breakdown T! I aspire to be this organized. 😀

  4. Member
    Jshedrick84 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:19 pm

    Wow, this was an incredibly helpful post! It’s great to see a timeline of the planning process from someone who had a similar length engagement as I will have. Sometimes I feel silly trying to plan things when I have a little over a year to go, but im in baltimore and things book up early here too. This post was great to read, thanks for sharing!

  5. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:55 pm

    Even though I’m married and obviously don’t have to worry about this stuff anymore, I find this so interesting, especially when I consider my own timeline for these things.

  6. Member
    gonnabeMrsHH 466 posts, Helper bee @ 3:07 pm

    Thanks for this great post!!
    Wow..you are really organized….:)
    I have five more months to go until THE DAY and still alot to do..really need to step it up :)

  7. beanstalk Member
    Mrs. Beanstalk 770 posts, Busy bee @ 3:19 pm

    This was very interesting!! Like you, we booked most of our big vendors way in advance…. It works out nicely doing it that way because you can then spend time on all of the tiny details! By the way, You have great orginization skills!

  8. boaconstrictor Member
    boaconstrictor 397 posts, Helper bee @ 3:30 pm

    I wish I could have followed this timeline! I’m one month out and having my first fitting on Saturday!

  9. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 4:43 pm

    I tried really hard to follow the typical timeline checklists but mine went right out the window, fast. It’d be interesting to go back at the end of this and see what I did right and what I veered off from!

  10. Member
    StacyM 55 posts, Worker bee @ 4:48 pm

    Miss Turkey. I seriously love reading all of your Philadelphia stuff. I also love your timeline. So on top of things. We were engaged 24 months before our wedding date. Had everything booked between 20-8 months left. Just sorta waiting and designing my invitations. Great job on everything!!

  11. Member
    Anesya 53 posts, Worker bee @ 4:48 pm

    Miss T, thank you for your post. I just started planning and this helps greatly with trying to finish my timeline and checklists.

  12. Member
    mrswtd 752 posts, Busy bee @ 5:11 pm

    Love how organized you are! I started planning immediately after we got engaged. We got engaged in August 2011 and are getting married in October 2012. We had booked all our vendors by September 2011. Everyone was sooooo shocked how quickly I got everything booked, even with all the research and bargain shopping I was doing!

  13. Member
    ShennaB2b 391 posts, Helper bee @ 5:18 pm

    Whoa and I thought I was organized. I only had a 9 month engagement, but I did book my venue after our 1st month engaged. Dress at 7 months to go, Photographer at about 5 months to go, DJ at 4 months, florist @ 2 months, bridal shower @ 5weeks, officiet @ 4 weeks (yeah- my officient was like “when?”). I go to finalize everything with the venue next week.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Christina, Guest @ 5:42 pm

    We booked our church, reception site (included catering), DJ, and photographer over a year out….but we’re a little north of Philly and it was a holiday weekend, so that’s pretty much the norm!

    Flowers were booked about 6 months out, but we went with a referral to the florist the church uses, so he was more than happy to work with us, and we got a great deal, too!

  15. Member
    msllamaface 198 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:23 pm

    Thank you so much for this! We’re over 14 months out and have booked venue (ceremony and reception), DJ, flowers and half of our catering! My best friend got married in a small town and thinks I’m crazy for being so far ahead, but when you’re dealing with a large city in mid-July, you have to act fast!

    Thanks again for sharing!

  16. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:45 pm

    I picked all the big stuff over a year out. But certain bridesmaids took forever to order their dresses. Oh, and, at the moment, we don’t have groomsmen. We’re six weeks out.

  17. archer Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 12:41 am

    such a useful post, turkey- i would have been trilled to come across this when trying to oganize my

  18. archer Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 12:42 am

    * sorry- when trying to organize and begin planning!

  19. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 11:06 am

    Miss T, this is SO beyond helpful! I am so glad you shared a ‘real’ timeline. As a fellow organization freak, I appreciate ALL of your posts like this (and screenshots of your spreadsheets :) ).

  20. Member
    cicijapan 263 posts, Helper bee @ 7:02 pm

    Yay! So informative, thank you. I’m curious about other people’s timelines too.

  21. Member
    Miss Ariel 83 posts, Worker bee @ 8:42 am

    People are always asking me, “How is wedding planning going” and I never know how to respond, because I’m not sure how detailed they really want the answer to be.

    But as for the post itself, I love it. I am at the point where I’ve taken care of most of this already, but when I started planning seeing a timeline like this from an actual bride would have been amazing. (And I have to say, I’m a little surprised that you haven’t had more comments with this post.)

  22. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 4:44 pm

    So happy to hear that this post was helpful!

    @mittens111211: You know me too well…

    @Jshedrick84: Glad to help! And I can promise you…when the time gets closer to your wedding, you’ll be VERY glad that everything is done.

    @gonnabeMrsHH: Good luck finishing up your planning!

    @StacyM: Thanks! And glad you’re enjoying all the Philly references.

    @Anesya: Glad to help! Congrats on your engagement and enjoy all the planning!!

    @Future Army Wife: Good luck sorting things out!!

    @StephK527: :)

  23. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 4:45 pm

    @Miss Ariel: Comments don’t matter to me – just hope that some of the planning brides found it helpful!

  24. Member
    cmvmph 404 posts, Helper bee @ 11:57 am

    I have to say, I’m not the type of girl who ever really gushes over another bride’s plans or what they’ve done with their wedding planning (I’m really picky about wedding-related things since I’ve more or less been engaged for 2+ years and I’ve seen my share of the spectrum) but I LOVE what you’ve done with everything! I love Amsale, your hair looks fantastic, the venue seems awesome and I love your bachelorette party idea. I’ve been stressing like mad from school and wedding planning that I’m thinking of hopping down to Florida for a weekend once the semester ends. We’ll see if I can get some cheap last minute tickets!! Thanks again!

add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors