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 (besides BRIDES.com, obvs) 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 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 guess-work, providing a rundown of all the vendors used in its real weddings (caterers, florists, photographers, et cetera). 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 contact the venue 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" — same as 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), snap a photo, and the app will identify the exact color and point you toward others that 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 web site 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 (hiskipper.com) 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 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 décor 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 Gcal — 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.
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 new 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: Vensette
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 can find attire for the groomsmen, flower girls, and yourself. (Check out the LWDs.)
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.
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