If you thought coming up with a trendy wedding hashtag, using only e-vites and having charging booths at your wedding meant you were having tech-filled nuptials, you've just nicked the tip of the iceberg. Heck, a couple just got married in virtual reality last summer! Tech can be infused into every part of the wedding including the planning, all the events surrounding the big day, the attire, the actual wedding and, of course, documentation. Plus, your guests can totally benefit from some of these new platforms as well.
Whether you're just starting your wedding-planning adventure or checking off the very last things on your wedding checklist, here are our favorite digital tools for planning the wedding you want while still having a life.
1. Best for the bride who doesn't know where to start: WeddingWire
This venue and vendor database is a one-stop shop, with more than 200,000 local listings and 2.5 million reviews by real brides. So if you're clueless about where to wed and who to hire, do a quick search and narrow results by type, location, price or rating. When you're done with the big-ticket items, you'll find checklists, budget templates and etiquette tips.
2. Best for inspo you can actually use: Carats & Cake
Ever see a wedding photo and think, “Who made that centerpiece?” Or “I have to have those shoes!” Carats & Cake eliminates the guesswork, providing a rundown of all the vendors used in its real weddings (caterers, florists, photographers, etc.). Check out full portfolios and reviews, then book them on the site.
3. Best for finding a Versailles-worthy chateau in the South of France: The Venue Report
With “reporters” who research the latest event spaces, this directory has the hottest hotels and party pads, plus off-the-beaten-path locales like, say, a glamping venue in Montana that can accommodate 250 guests. The experience is seamless: Filter results by region, price and capacity, review essentials like site fees and curfews and then contact venues directly.
4. Best for planning without the planner: WeddingHappy
Think of this free app as your personal assistant. It's preloaded with tasks to guide you through your to-dos, and it even alerts you as you approach deadlines for things like “mail invites” or “pay deposit for the band,” the same ways a planner would do in real life. Share your “event” with your fiancé, mother or hands-on MOH so everyone has access to the same info.
5. Best for color coordination: myPantone
Did a certain teal nail polish strike your fancy? Fire up myPantone (from $7.99) and snap a photo, and the app will identify the exact color. For anyone struggling to pick a palette or who's letting her bridesmaids choose their own dresses “as long as they're seafoam green,” this is a must.
6. Best for fab invitations that won't break the bank: Minted
Minted works with indie artists and graphic designers to offer chic ready-made invites, save-the-dates, ceremony programs, escort cards and more. Templates can be customized, down to the card size and paper stock. On a tight budget? Print your suite at home or take the file to a local copy shop. Minted also offers bespoke invitation design (from $234 per 100 invitations) in case you don't have an illustrator on speed dial but still want a hand-drawn map of Nantucket or a watercolor rendering of you and your fiancé.
7. Best for a wedding website that looks totally different: Riley & Grey
Riley & Grey is where design-minded brides go to create their wedding hubs ($35 per month). Modern templates are added every few months, so you won't accidentally use the same one as your BFF who's getting married six weeks after you. Your site will be not only gorgeous but also user-friendly, with zero clicks required; simply scroll down to toggle between tabs like “People,” for bridal-party bios and “Place,” for tips on where to stay, eat and drink near your wedding venue. You can even embed links to Kayak for flight bookings and Google Maps for directions.
8. Best for tracking your spending in life, and on the wedding: Mint
While not made specifically with weddings in mind, Mint is a popular free money-management site for a reason. It's easy to use, syncing with your bank account and credit cards so you can monitor your spending and move funds around as needed. (And it probably will be needed.) Create a wedding budget and stay on track, thanks to weekly email summaries and text reminders when payments are due.
9. Best for organizing hotel-room blocks: Skipper
Your Maui destination wedding will be epic. Finding hotel rooms for 150 guests? Less so. Let Skipper do the work. Plug in your wedding location, dates and the number of rooms needed, and the site will populate nearby hotels at a variety of price points. Smaller parties can lock in discounted rates at one hotel directly through the site (in most cases, 15 percent off). Brides who need more than nine rooms can pick up to four hotels, and a Skipper booking agent will negotiate deals at each on their behalf and email contracts to secure the group rates.
10. Best for keeping your planning crew informed and on point: Google Drive
Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, photos—anything and everything can be uploaded, stored and shared in Drive for seamless viewing and editing by anyone with a Gmail account. (So, anyone.) Want to pull up your guest list, budget, vendor contacts or decor inspo during a venue walk-through? The mobile app is there in a pinch. Need to share important dates with your fiancé, parents and planner? The hub links directly to Google Calendar, so no one gets to complain about being out of the loop.
11. Best for anyone who loves a to-do list more than life itself: Trello
Forget that massive notebook, organize your entire wedding on Trello's virtual pin board. Line up each “card” in a column (which you can name for a category like Venue or Photography) and drag and drop as the task is completed or pushed back. You can attach photos (place-setting mock-ups) or documents (final contracts for review) to cards, then give them color-coded labels—to indicate things like “vendor paid” or “follow up later”—and set deadlines, which the auto-generated email reminders will help you hit on time.
12. Best for registering for what you really want: Zola
We love a blender as much as any kale-juice-obsessed bride-to-be, and Zola has that standard department-store stuff, like Matouk bedding and Waterford-crystal stemware. But you can also request specialty goods, like a Sonos sound system or a BioLite camp stove, or set up a honeymoon or charity cash fund. Bonuses: Guests can easily go in on pricier items together with group gifting, and you also get 10 percent off all items on the site for up to one year after your wedding date.
13. Best for registering for experiences: Newlywish
Kitchen already stocked up? Check out Newlywish where you'll find an incredibly diverse list of registry activities. Dance lessons, cooking classes, massages, concert tickets, sporting events—the list goes on and way on. You can even register for interior-design consultations and OpenTable gift cards.
14. Best for getting cash, the classy way: Tendr
What to do if you'd rather get money toward a down payment than gifts? Register on Tendr, which lets guests electronically send funds (by wire transfer or credit card). You can specify where the cash will be allocated, and it's delivered via beautiful artist-designed e-cards.
15. Best for a registry that's as easy for guests as it is for you: Amazon
If you've been saving items to an Amazon Wish List, it will be easier than ever to get started on the mega e-tailer's registry site. All the staples are there (KitchenAid appliances, Le Creuset cookware), plus spruced-up sections like a list of the top 100 most popular items, curated lifestyle collections (minimalists will flock to the Scandinavian-inspired edit) and “boutiques” for products by Jonathan Adler, Michael C. Fina, and the MoMA Design Store (a.k.a. Narnia for cool kids). It's also a gift for your guests, since most just have to log in to shop.
16. Best for on-demand beauty: Vênsette
Have the experts come to you with this VIP beauty booking app. Reach out at least three months before your wedding to book a custom package (from $200) that includes two trials and day-of hair and makeup by editorial-worthy artists (currently available in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, plus wedding hot spots like the Hamptons, Napa Valley, Palm Springs and Palm Beach). Pick pros who fit your price and style, and they'll show up at the time and location of your choosing, making it easier than ever to find a crack team for your engagement photos, shower, bachelorette and big day.
17. Best for crowd sourcing bridesmaids' dresses: Weddington Way
Need to rally your girls from coast to coast? Skip the stress (and the travel) of a group shopping trip with Weddington Way, which lets you browse styles using a variety of filters (color, length, body type, price) and share and comment on selections in a virtual showroom. Plus, the site has more than just bridesmaids' get-ups, you also can find attire for the groomsmen, flower girls and yourself.
18. Best for nailing your venue layout: AllSeated
Having trouble visualizing how to organize tables at your reception? Send AllSeated a photo of your venue and it will deliver a 3-D rendering of the space so you can digitally arrange tables, chairs, bars and other furniture and assign place settings as RSVPs roll in. Share the graphic with your vendors (caterer, rental company, DJ) to make sure the room is set up right, because there's always that one cousin who shouldn't be within arm's length of the bar!
19. Best for painless thank-yous: Postable
You're back from the honeymoon, convinced the stresses of planning are behind you. Not so fast. It's time for thank-you notes. If you just can't even, try Postable. Choose a design, type a heartfelt message and add the recipient's address (manually or imported from a spreadsheet) and the site prints a card, puts it in an envelope and mails it ($3 each, plus postage). Will guests know you cheated? Likely not. Postable uses “smart fonts,” so repeat letters are slightly different from one another. Handwritten cards are ideal, but our etiquette experts sign off as long as each note is personalized.
20.Best alternative to shuttle busses: UberEVENTS
Uber has made getting to and from almost anywhere so much easier. Now, use it to get your guests from ceremony to reception in style. UberEVENTS lets you manage how, when and where guests ride through a promo code. Plus, you’ll pay for only the rides that are used, and the bride and groom can set a budget for how much they would like to cover. It will totally put you at ease knowing that none of your wedding guests will need to hitchhike or risk driving inebriated. Plus, guests don’t have to feel restricted by a shuttle schedule. FYI: The UberX option is up to 40 percent cheaper than taxis and significantly less than shuttles, valets or parking.
21. Best way to play matchmaker (both romantically and friendly) with your guests: Guesterly
If you loved your high school yearbook, then you will be a big fan of Guesterly. It is basically a who’s who for your wedding guests and a great way for everyone to get to know each other. This can be especially great for those long destination-wedding weeks or weekends. The bride and groom can simply choose questions, email them via custom link, track responses and design a Guesterly mag for printing or digital sharing.
22. Best way to include guests who couldn't make it: WebWed
If your wedding wasn’t streamed on social, did it really happen? For those of your loved ones who can’t make it, consider a company like WebWed. Through the app, you can send an invite to your guests who couldn’t attend and let them get a 360 degree view of the whole day right on their phones.
23. Best way to find hidden gems: Facebook Recommendations
Yes, Facebook has been around for what seems like forever, but now, with its new Recommendations tool, guests can tap their network of friends to find cool stuff to do in your wedding location. When you write a Facebook post looking for advice on local places or services, you’ll have the option to turn on Recommendations. Your friends can comment with suggestions, and you’ll see all of them mapped out for easy access and saved in one place. Best of all, you're getting recommendations you trust. For example, if you're looking for things to do while in Napa, simply ask your friends!
24. Best way for easy communication and sharing: Burner
This is a great way to collect all your wedding photos from guests as well as organize your RSVP list without any paperwork. The Burner app creates a temporary phone number that guests can text to accept or decline the invite or maybe even leave a sweet audio greeting. Plus, guests can also send questions here, as the app acts similar to a chatbot.
25. Best way to plan your wedding/bachelorette weekend outfits, stress free: Finery
Even with the Rent the Runway wedding shop, women still often have those “I have absolutely nothing to wear” moments. And when you have to plan days of outfits for a big destination wedding, that feeling becomes overwhelming. Cue Finery, a site that literally shows you that you do, in fact, have some amazing outfits, and if you don’t, it will help you find exactly what you need. Founded by actress Brooklyn Decker and Whitney Casey, the (free) app analyzes your wardrobe, then categorizes and presents it to you. Women spend two hours a week planning outfits—a number that no doubt (at least) doubles for planning wedding outfits. The software syncs with your email, automatically accounting for any online wardrobe purchase you've made; then, you can manually add items you've bought in brick-and-mortar stores. It can help the bride or a guest plan out every detailed assembly for a wedding week or weekend leaving you completely stress free!
This article was written by Molly E. McHugh and Meredith Lepore for Brides.com.
Photo: Allen Clark Photography
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