“I want my wedding to suck,” said no bride or groom ever in the history of time. Instead, when you plan your wedding, you’re basically trying to throw the best party you’ll ever host. That means that — for the days, months, and even years leading up to the event — you’re going to be tremendously busy undertaking all the planning and prep necessary to make that party happen.
Wedding planning is intimidating. “This is going to be so easy,” said (almost) no bride or groom ever in the history of time. (After all, even elopements and courthouse weddings require some advance planning.) Fortunately, here in the modern age in which there’s an app for almost everything, there are hundreds of mobile apps eager to play a role in helping you prepare for your big day.
Since wedding season is upon us, Distillery put together a list of the top five mobile apps to get you ready for your wedding day. To make our list, the app had to be free, well-reviewed, available on both iOS and Android, and validated for wedding use by someone on the Distillery team. We hope our list helps you make your wedding-planning experience less intimidating, less fundamentally exhausting, and more rewarding overall.
1. Honeyfund: A Flexible Registry for the Modern Couple
The traditional wedding registry concept was designed to meet the needs of the young couple just getting started on building a life together. Increasingly, couples who choose to tie the knot are doing so later in life, when they’ve (separately or together) already accumulated the trappings of life, including all the dishes, towels, pots and pans, and matching cutlery they could ever need. That’s why Honeyfund offers an attractive and highly flexible option. As a truly universal wedding registry, Honeyfund lets you register for cash, gift cards, money toward honeymoon activities, charitable donations, and literally any item for sale anywhere on the internet. Honeyfund offers easy integration with social media and other registries, starter registries, and personalization options that let you make your Honeyfund page your own. Honeyfund charges zero fees to gift-givers and can be free for couples, too, depending on how you choose to receive your gifts. If you want to keep things simple, however, and withdraw your funds, they offer industry-low rates for secure cash withdrawals via PayPal or WePay.
2. Wedding Planner by The Knot: All-in-one Convenience
After announcing the engagement, it’s time to start planning. If you can hire an actual human to be your wedding planner, more power to you and godspeed. If, like most couples, you need to plan a good portion of your wedding yourselves, a mobile app like Wedding Planner by The Knot can be a godsend.
Wedding Planner by the Knot is doing its darnedest to be your one-stop shop for all things wedding. Create and customize your wedding website. Make and manage your gift registry. Budget your costs across the board. Manage your guest list, tracking RSVPs, meal selections, and gifts. Create a personalized checklist or wedding timeline. Search a directory of more than 250,000 wedding venues and vendors, and make your bookings directly through the app’s messaging feature. Find and save photos of dresses or wedding ideas. Access helpful tips on nearly any wedding-related topic. This mobile app’s pretty much got it all. While there are a lot of wedding planning apps out there nowadays, not too many can point to more than 500k downloads and an average user rating of 4.6 stars, as this one can. With its whole-wedding view, it’s a genuinely useful tool that can help you stay organized and feel readier for your big day. That all being said, we’re not totally sold on the countdown feature — a feature offered on nearly all the wedding planner apps we reviewed. Do the already anxious bride and groom really benefit from a constant reminder of how many days remain till their wedding?
3. Shutterfly: Invites That Won’t Break the Bank
The costs involved in sending traditional paper-based wedding invitations can be surprisingly high. In The Knot’s survey of more than 13,000 couples who got married in 2017, the average cost of invitations was $408, with some couples reporting costs exceeding $1,000. And that’s exactly why Shutterfly’s app makes our list. Long embraced as an easy-to-use tool for ordering prints or making professional-looking photo books, Shutterfly is custom-made for brides and grooms looking to go a slightly less traditional and decidedly more affordable route. When it comes to designing your invites, Shutterfly’s interface design makes the process a no-brainer. Check out a diverse range of easily customizable wedding invitation templates to satisfy anyone’s tastes, including luxe-looking foil-stamped or be-glittered options. Upload your photo to quickly preview it on all photo-based designs. For couples who want to physically see the finished product prior to committing, they offer the option of getting free samples of your invites. They also offer added conveniences such as the ability to pre-print guests’ mailing addresses on the envelopes.
All in all, Shutterfly’s mobile app is a fantastic way to create polished-looking invites while keeping things budget-conscious. We’ve even heard of some couples taking the super-budget route of grabbing one of Shutterfly’s readily available coupon codes and using one of the non-wedding-themed photo card templates to create their wedding invites for under $100.
4. Pinterest: Inspiration to the Nth
Pinterest, a mobile app that allows users to “pin” ideas they’ve collected from across the internet (and on Pinterest itself) into curated boards that are shared with the wider Pinterest community, is simultaneously the best and worst wedding planning app on our list. It’s the best because it’s an inexhaustible geyser of ideas and inspiration. It’s the worst because… it’s an inexhaustible geyser of ideas and inspiration. Type in the phrases “wedding bouquet ideas,” “wedding themes,” or “wedding decor,” and you could literally spend days combing through all the airbrushed, candy-colored search results. With Pinterest, you have no choice but to scroll through an astonishing quantity of ideas left behind for you by other brides and grooms, trails of tasty-looking bread crumbs seemingly leading you to your ideal wedding. But there are just so many bread crumbs. Which ones should you follow? And in which direction? And do you think you can integrate a “summer camp” wedding theme with Art Deco-era decorations and some really clever “take a shot; we tied the knot” Jack Daniels wedding favors? No, you can’t. But, as any bride drowning in Pinterest can tell you, you can’t always see straight when Everyone Else’s Amazing Wedding Photos are all you can see.
In reality, you only need to find one or two good solutions for each wedding-related need. With Pinterest, you’ll quickly find a hundred. And so many of the ideas will seem great — each better than the next. So, brides- and grooms-to-be, definitely go armed with Pinterest. But go armed with a strong sense of what will genuinely work for YOUR needs.
5. Thumbtack: Real Bids from Available Professionals
Thumbtack offers an incredibly fast and easy route to finding — and getting bids from — locally based wedding coordinators, caterers, cake artists, photographers, videographers, DJs, florists, decorators, makeup artists, hair stylists, officiants, and event venues. Thumbtack’s smooth user experience makes it a cinch. Simply answer a few questions about your specific needs (e.g., if you’re looking for a decorator, they’ll inquire about the number of guests, venue, exact type of services and supplies needed, and your overall vision), and you’ll quickly receive actual bids you can sort through at your convenience. Communication and scheduling can all happen right in the app.
Using Thumbtack to find vendors saves you time because your bids represent vetted professionals who are available on the date you need them and serious about signing up to do the work. As a result, you can avoid getting your heart set on a photographer or makeup artist you can’t have, and save all your obsessive Yelp and Google searches till after you have bids in hand. Best of all, you won’t even want to delete the app until after you’re hitched, as you can keep using Thumbtack to find a landscaper, a plumber, a handyman, or whatever else you may need.
Want to learn more about what makes a great mobile app? Or have a brilliant idea for the next great wedding-planning app? Let us know!