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
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  1. 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.)

  2. turkey Bee
    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: 🙂

  3. turkey Bee
    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!

  4. 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!

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