A selection from Bride publications
If you thought coming up with a trendy wedding hashtag, using e-vites, and having charging booths at your wedding meant you were hosting tech-filled nuptials, you’ve just nicked the tip of the iceberg. Tech can be infused into every part of your wedding, including the planning. Plus, your guests can totally benefit from some new platforms as well.
Whether you’re just starting your wedding planning adventure or checking off the very last thing on your wedding checklist, here are our favorite digital tools (besides Brides.com, obvs) for planning the wedding you want while still maintaining a life.
For the couple who doesn’t know where to start: WeddingWire
This venue and vendor database is a one-stop-shop, with more than 250,000 local listings and 3 million reviews by real newlyweds. So if you’re clueless about where to wed and whom to hire, do a quick search and narrow results by type, location, price, and rating. When you’re done with the big-ticket items, you’ll find checklists, budget templates, and etiquette tips.
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 through the site.
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 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 contact venues directly.
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 way a planner would do in real life. Share your “event” with your fiancé, parents, or hands-on maid-of-honor, so everyone has access to the same info.
For color coordination: Pantone Studio
Did a particular teal paint color strike your fancy? Fire up Pantone Studio (from $4.99/month), snap a photo, and the app will identify the exact color. For anyone struggling to pick a color palette or thinking of letting their wedding party choose their own looks (“as long as they’re seafoam green”), this is a must.
For registering for what you really want: Zola
We love a blender as much as any smoothie-obsessed to-be-wed. For house essentials and all that standard department store stuff, Zola has it all from Matouk bedding to Waterford-crystal stemware. But you can also request specialty goods, like a Sonos sound system or a BioLite camp stove, or even 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% off all items on the site for up to one year after your wedding date.
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, and escort cards. Templates can also 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 a bespoke invitation design 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.
For a wedding website that looks totally different: Riley & Grey
Riley & Grey is where design-minded couples 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. Scroll down to toggle between tabs like “People” for wedding 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.
For tracking your wedding (and life) budget: Mint
While not explicitly made 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 required.) Create a wedding budget and stay on track, thanks to weekly email summaries and text reminders when payments are due.
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. 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 can complain about being left out of the loop.
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. You can expect to see familiar houseware staples (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.
For crowd-sourcing bridesmaid dresses: Weddington Way by Adrianna Papell
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 various filters (color, length, body type, price) and share and comment on selections in a virtual showroom. Plus, the site has more than just bridesmaid get-ups: You can find attire for groomsmen, flower girls, and yourself too. (Check out the LWDs.)
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 3D rendering of the space so you can digitally arrange tables, chairs, bars, and other furniture and assign place settings as your RSVPs confirm. 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.
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 (from $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.
For an alternative to shuttle busses: UberEVENTS
Uber is here to make transportation for your wedding guests—from ceremony to reception to the after-party—a cinch. UberEVENTS lets you manage how, when, and where guests ride through a promo code. Plus, you’ll pay for only the rides used, and the bride and groom can set a budget for how much they would like to cover. It will 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.
For including guests who couldn’t make it: WebWed
If you didn’t stream your wedding online, did it really happen? For those of your loved ones who can’t make the ceremony, consider a cross-platform mobile app like WebWed to provide guests with a 360-degree view of your big day from the convenience of their mobile device. In fact, WebWed promises to handle the entire wedding process—from obtaining the marriage license and scheduling a wedding officiant to posting a video of your ceremony through its app or website. You can even send out invites to all your guests. Once the wedding video is finished, it’s archived for 30 days for download. (If you just want the video streaming option, it is available without committing to their wedding license and officiant services.)
For finding 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! It’s likely your friends will recommend places like the Model Bakery for the best English muffins or the Carneros Resort for a place to stay.
For easy communication and sharing: Burner
The Burner app is a great way to collect all of your wedding photos from guests and organize your RSVP list sans paperwork. The app creates a temporary phone number that guests can text to accept or decline the invite or even leave a sweet audio greeting. Plus, guests can also send questions here, as the app acts similar to a chatbot.