Wedding Planning Apps and Websites: Gadgets of Love

Newsflash: Weddings are stressful! I’m 22 years into my marriage and I still have flashbacks about all the planning and bickering. First, there’s the menu—lamb chops or spring rolls, Cabernet or Merlot? Then there’s music—band or DJ? Photographer? Video guy? Gown and tuxedo? The ring?

Good God, I need a drink. And this is before they hand over the bill!

If all this stress hasn’t scared you off, and you insist on getting hitched, then I have good news: you’re not in this alone. There are scores of websites, apps and gadgets that can help you deal with the incredible stress of the happiest day of your life.

Let’s walk down that aisle, shall we?

The Planner
Always start with the basics: you’ll need help to keep track of everything that’s going on. The Knot is probably the top wedding site out there, and they have a decent free smartphone app to help you get organized.

When you open the app, it immediately pulls up photos from actual weddings to provide ideas and inspiration for yours. Tap any photo, and the app digs deeper with additional photos and a list of vendors from that wedding. So it’s not just for ideas. You can instantly connect directly with a florist, band or juggler who catches your eye.

The app also has a budget function which helps plan and track expenses, and a guest list organizer with real-time updates on who’s making the scene and who’s busy. Other options include Wedding Wire and even Pinterest for more ideas.

Registry
Do you realize that way back in the ’90s, you actually went to a store, spent hours perusing the merchandise and had someone write down everything you wanted? And that the only way for friends and family to buy those items was to go to the store and read the registry? Crazy right? The concept of the wedding registry is sheer genius—an efficient eBay-style marketplace for lovers—and thankfully, technology has jumped in to improve the process.

Virtually all department stores and online retailers have their own bridal registry apps. Even better: there are multiple apps that let you create a registry that blends items from any store and tie them together into a single location. Wedding Registry costs $.99 but has a clean interface and a nice barcode scanner to help you breeze through the aisles and mark your favorite booty. The app also lets you add items from any website, so you can sit on your couch right up until the Big Day. It’s also social. Your guests receive a code and can access your items in a private area.

Instawish and Giftster are other popular apps that cater to weddings and all occasions.

Because nothing says “I love you” like efficient gift flow.

The Band
Most wedding bands now post their performances online. So at the very least you won’t need to waste a dozen perfectly good Saturday nights crashing other people’s weddings to scout talent.

Even better: check out gigmasters.com. It’s simple: enter the type of event, what kind of performer you’re looking for (band, DJ, clown, snake handler) and your location. Voila! You retrieve a custom list of local acts to start your search. Music to my ears.

The Dance
I fondly recall my clumsy version of the Box Step, though I think my wife’s feet are permanently disfigured from being stepped on. My advice to you: get some dance lessons. Even better: just use a video game to practice. Xbox, Wii and Playstation all have amazing interactive dance games. While they don’t focus on classic steps, it can’t hurt to bone up and get into the rhythm.

Honeymoon
Finally, it’s over! You’ve fed your friends, danced your dance and sent everyone home happy. It’s time to relax, unwind and enjoy some “us time.” This is why they invented honeymoons.

Modern technology is all over it. Travel sites can help you discover, plan, book and ticket your adventure, right down to your packing list, all from your laptop. Want a curveball? Check out travelersjoy.com. It’s like a bridal registry, only instead of giving you toasters, your guests contribute money to help you pay for that dream journey to those exotic destinations. Some might find it crass to give money, but I would have loved an extra day in Hawaii instead of that fourth serving plate.

Good luck with your upcoming nuptials. And remember, it doesn’t really get serious until the first kid comes along!

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