These days, wedding planning is mostly all done online. About 80% of those newly engaged (and 1 out of every 3 forward-thinking Millennials prior to their engagement) use wedding planning software, tools, and websites to make the process more efficient. You might have even stumbled across this article when you searched for “how to start planning a wedding”, which only helps prove that wedding planning software is really important to the modern planner and DIY bride.
Most wedding planning tools and websites lists include these basic programs. We’ve dug a little deeper than that for our curated list of best wedding planning software, but they’re still worth mentioning. Here’s what they are along with how you can use them to plan your wedding:
- Etsy. Handmade and one-of-a-kind wedding decor, gifts, table settings, signage, dresses, and just about everything else you might need to add that personalized touch to the affair.
- Pinterest. Every Millennial with a beating heart and a vague interest in planning a wedding probably already has an account on this platform. But if you don’t, it’s time to start searching for some #weddinginspo.
- Google Docs. It’s free and has word documents and spreadsheets you can easily share with collaborators via email.
- Spotify. Wedding playlists are hard because you want to please everyone and still have music you actually like. Create your playlist manually (there are both free and paid options) or, if you’re really stuck, grab a premade one.
- TaskRabbit. It’s like Uber for handy people. This work-for-hire app allows you to select professional electricians, designers, and other types of craftspeople for specialized help setting up your wedding. You can even hire people to help run errands the day of or write thank you notes. The sky’s the limit.
- Evernote. This popular note taking app makes it easy to sync your wedding planning memos and reminders with all of your devices to keep things neat and organized.
How to choose wedding planning software
These general tools are great. But when searching for wedding planning websites, you’re going to want to use software that is specifically designed for this complex process. Look for wedding planning tools that are in your budget (a lot of them are free!) and make the most sense to you. No matter how pretty it may look, the important thing is that you understand how to use it and can quickly adapt to all its great features.
Whether you’re an experienced wedding planning professional or a first time bride-to-be, here are 20 great wedding planning tools you can use to make the experience more efficient and fun.
10 helpful wedding planner tools
The Knot is a digital planning tool as well as a blog filled with advice and tips for the modern bride.
What You’ll Use it For: Wedding websites, registry, guest lists, and checklists.
Why We Love It: The Knot has been popular since 1996 – and for good reason. Their articles are endless and their personalized tools make the whole process that much easier.
Social Tables is an industry leading event planning tool used by professional wedding planners and DIY brides alike. Check out free 3D wedding design software to get started!
What You’ll Use it For: Finding the perfect venue, create detailed seating arrangements, collaborate with caterers and vendors, and much more.
Why We Love It: Well, we’re a bit biased. But users like Wedding Designer Kate Turner say they love that Social Tables helps her team of 18+ event professionals deliver exceptional service and wedding magic every single time.
Joy is a free wedding website creation tool with other useful related features that eco-friendly planners love.
What You’ll Use it For: To create your wedding website, registry, guest list, and paperless invitations.
Why We Love It: 47% of wedding organizers spend 1-9 hours a week planning the affair. Another 40% spend 10-15 hours per week on wedding related activities. Joy’s built-in wedding website templates help speed up the process for first timers or wedding planning companies with a lot of clients.
WeddingWire is a website and app that covers all categories of the wedding planning process.
What You’ll Use it For: Wedding websites, checklists, budgeting, vendor management, guest lists, seating charts, hotel blocks, cost guides, hashtag generators, snapchat filters, and more.
Why We Love It: It’s fairly comprehensive, includes a vendor search engine, and offers some unique social media wedding tools.
Carats & Cake help connect you with top-rated local wedding vendors.
What You’ll Use it For: Finding vendors you can trust to hire for your special day.
Why We Love It: You can search by location, category, or through one of their inspiring real life wedding examples crafted by the artisans featured on their site. You can even hire entire teams of planners who have worked together before.
LaddyMarry is an all-inclusive wedding planning checklist app for Apple and Android.
What You’ll Use it For: Sourcing vendors, organizing and tracking your to do lists, and collaborating with loved ones.
Why We Love It: It’s well designed interface walks you through the process step by step and was made with the newbie wedding planner in mind so you’ll feel more confident about what you’re doing.
A blog and digital magazine about the latest and greatest event spots for weddings and other niche event types.
What You’ll Use it For: Finding the perfect spot for your engagement dinner, wedding shower, bridal shower, ceremony, and reception.
Why We Love It: Their highly curated city guides and event venue experts showcase exquisite properties based on what they’re best suited for. You’ll also find info on the most recently opened or trending places in most major U.S. cities.
A task organizer for all things wedding related.
What You’ll Use it For: Keeping track of every little wedding task you and your team have to complete.
Why We Love It: It’s literally a Type-A wedding planner’s dream come true. There is a visual representation of how many tasks you’ve done and how many you have left to do. You also get bubbled checklist items, a wedding countdown timer, a space to coordinate vendor info, and an inbox for all wedding related messages.
Honeyfund is a honeymoon wedding registry site where guests can search for your event and gift you cash in the most secure and classy way possible.
What You’ll Use it For: Crowdfunding your honeymoon.
Why We Love It: There are no fees (not even hidden ones) and the site is completely customizable. They even have destination guides and example honeymoon itineraries you can browse. Because after your wedding is ready to go, you won’t feel like planning anything else for a long, long time.
Zola is a comprehensive wedding registry and wedding planning tool.
What You’ll Use it For: Creating and sharing your registry, creating your wedding website, sending invitations and other paper goods, and planning the wedding itself.
Why We Love It: Their wedding goods and registry search engine includes the most popular wedding related brands including Birdy Grey, The Dessy Group, and Flora Vere. Their shop includes wedding attire, accessories, jewelry, decor, gifts, favors, and intimates. It’s basically a one-stop shop for all the things you’d want to buy for the wedding, including all the events leading up to it.
How to use Social Tables to plan your wedding
Timing is everything with wedding planning. Certain tasks must be completed at different intervals throughout the year or more you have to get everything together. To create a wedding event planning timeline, make sure you include anchor items (tasks with strict deadlines) and vendor due dates (for decision making and deposits).
You’ll also want to make multiple drafts and run them by other decision makers to make sure things are realistic and everyone is on the same page.
The 3D Wedding Design Software helps you create a professional and accurate diagram in minutes. It’s also super easy to use. Just pick your venue or add space dimensions. Then choose your seating chart, arrange your guests, make note of extended family along with any dietary restrictions, find great caterers, and keep track of your budget, all at the same time.
There’s a map version, a spreadsheet version, and a 3D diagram generated for every project you create, so you can always look up and check specific info in seconds.
First things first – you have to decide how you’ll plan your wedding layout. Once that’s established you can decide who sits together, what seat or table they’ll be placed in, mark whether or not they’ve RSVP’d, and what meal they’ve chosen, among other things.
You can even connect their social media accounts and share your collaborative file with catering and other important vendors.
As we’ve already mentioned, Social Tables is really great for getting wedding teams of vendors and/or family all on the same page. It’s a great place to store and share all your relevant wedding info.
So whether your excited mother-in-law wants to feel like part of the action or you’re managing over a dozen wedding professionals all at once, having digital wedding plans that automatically update, sync, and share with interested parties ensures communication is sent without a hitch.
Wedding notebooks are great and you should totally still have one. But practically speaking, for an event as complicated as a wedding you’ll want to use Social Tables to organize your files in a cloud-based storage system that is both easy to navigate and highly accessible.
Event teams and venues use it as a central hub for all relevant wedding information. And if you’re planning your own wedding, you can definitely also use it to keep everything (including your sanity) in one designated place, right where you can see it.
In conclusion: The best free wedding apps make it simple
To recap, there are lots of great tools out there. When it comes to planning a wedding of your own or for a client, you’ll want to choose software and websites that are specifically designed to help with the wedding process. Not only will the tools provide general guidance, they can also streamline things like vendor communication, file storage, and catering info. At the end of the day, it’s important that you choose a wedding planning tool that you understand and love to use.
Ready to learn more about wedding planning? Check out 15 simple steps to creating the best wedding seating chart, and get the complete wedding planning checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything important for your big day.