Wed­ding Plan­ning Made Easy

Top Apps to Take the Stress out of ‘I Do’

iPhone Life Magazine - - Life & Tech - by Ken­neth Boshell

Wed­ding plan­ning can be dif­fi­cult, but you'll make it through by fol­low­ing this guide! When plan­ning our wed­ding, I be­gan notic­ing my then-fi­ancé seem­ing stressed all the time. I of­fered to help off­load the work, and soon learned she'd been do­ing most ev­ery­thing by hand. I knew there had to be a bet­ter way, so I started play­ing around with apps to see which ones I liked the best (spoiler, it's Trello!). Most other apps per­form about the same; it's just a mat­ter of in­vest­ing in one, whether that be the Knot, the Wed­ding Wire, or Pin­ter­est.

How I Used Trello and Google Sheets to Plan My Wed­ding

I wound up us­ing two apps: Google Sheets (free) to cre­ate a bud­get and Trello (free) for the plan­ning and check­lists. Some apps com­bine both, but my beau­ti­ful bride al­ready used Sheets for our reg­u­lar bud­get­ing, and I was able to im­port data from that bud­get into a wed­ding spreadsheet and keep ev­ery­thing up to date across all our de­vices. This is what worked for us.

We were orig­i­nally go­ing to use Sheets for ev­ery­thing, but I de­vel­oped re­ally neat board ideas us­ing Trello's lay­out, so we ended up us­ing it as well. Trello made it easy to keep track of things like ven­dors, venue de­tails, or­ga­ni­za­tion of the wed­ding party, and thank you cards to send out. The in­her­ent util­ity of Trello cou­pled with my prior ex­pe­ri­ence with the app en­abled me to cre­ate a setup that worked best for me. Your mileage may vary.

I cre­ated five dif­fer­ent boards. All of these boards have tem­plates avail­able on Trello for you to copy, and I rec­om­mend you do that. The first was ded­i­cated to the over­all timeline count­down, bro­ken down month by month with what we needed to do in that time­frame (for in­stance, the first month of the en­gage­ment we needed to pick a date, and the count­down con­tin­ued all the way to the week and even the day be­fore the cer­e­mony).

The sec­ond board was ded­i­cated to my wed­ding day timeline, bro­ken down by morn­ing, cer­e­mony, af­ter­noon, re­cep­tion, and a ven­dor-spe­cific sec­tion for who to con­tact. The third board was ded­i­cated just to the bridal party and had var­i­ous con­tact in­for­ma­tion and events, so the party was fully aware of what was go­ing on and at what time when it came to show­ers and par­ties.

The fourth board was for wed­ding seat ar­range­ments, and I set those up by ta­bles with a head count and other handy in­for­ma­tion. Ul­ti­mately, we de­cided to throw this out and let peo­ple sit wher­ever they wanted, be­cause no mat­ter what, we weren't go­ing to make ev­ery­one happy so we de­cided it wasn't worth it to bother try­ing. I rec­om­mend this cop­ing strat­egy to any­one.

The fifth board was ded­i­cated to the all-im­por­tant thank you cards. As gifts came in, we marked what was from whom, and then we marked which ones we needed to write and which ones we had al­ready writ­ten. That way, we didn't get over­whelmed at the end with a bunch of thank you cards to write. This is an­other cop­ing strat­egy I strongly rec­om­mend. It made our life so much bet­ter.

Best Wed­ding Apps and Web­sites

If you want to stick with a sin­gle wed­ding plan­ning app in­stead of two like we did, here's a run­down of the other two I wound up try­ing out be­fore fi­nally set­tling on the Sheets/Trello com­bi­na­tion.

First off is ma­jor wed­ding plan­ning web­site The Knot

and its app Wed­ding Plan­ner by The Knot (free). If I were to choose a sin­gle all-in-one app for any bride or groom plan­ning a wed­ding mainly by them­selves, I would choose this one. It in­cludes a lot of im­age-based in­spi­ra­tion and a cute lit­tle quiz to help you “fig­ure out your wed­ding style.” (Hint: your wed­ding style should be what­ever is within your bud­get.)

It also in­te­grates per­fectly with the Knot, en­abling you to set up your Knot web­site, con­nect your reg­istries, and en­gage in a host of other ac­tiv­i­ties. If you live in a ma­jor city, the Knot also helps you find spe­cific ven­dors, in­clud­ing food, mu­sic, and the per­fect pho­tog­ra­pher nearby. It will also help you to cre­ate check­lists, track con­ver­sa­tions with your ven­dors, and keep your bud­get un­der con­trol. Over­all, it's a gen­uinely solid app.

The next app is known as Wed­ding Plan­ner by Wed­ding Wire (free). This app is al­most ex­actly the same as the Knot, just with­out the tighter in­te­gra­tion into its re­spec­tive web­site. It has most of the same fea­tures, such as bud­get track­ing and some ven­dor in­te­gra­tion, but it also has 3D venue tours and a minia­ture Pin­ter­est clone sec­tion for when you want in­spi­ra­tion. Those lat­ter two things are the best part of the app, in my opin­ion. The venue tours are a killer fea­ture, and the Pin­ter­est-like sec­tion is es­sen­tially a cu­rated ver­sion of a top-grade wed­ding board on Pin­ter­est. It's

an­other solid choice to make if you only want one wed­ding plan­ning app.

Re­al­is­ti­cally speak­ing, you've most likely al­ready trav­elled the wed­ding route on Pin­ter­est (free). I rec­om­mend us­ing Pin­ter­est for in­spi­ra­tion, but don't go over­board with it. It's very easy to get sucked in and to pick out a lot of dif­fer­ent stuff and then wind up do­ing very lit­tle of it be­cause you were busy with so much pin­ning and not enough do­ing. Be care­ful kids! Learn from my mis­takes. Plus, who­ever is in charge of the col­ors has prob­a­bly got the rest of the wed­ding style planned (re­peat af­ter me: “Coun­try chic is not my en­emy”).

If, how­ever, you haven't gone down that par­tic­u­lar rabbit hole, I rec­om­mend start­ing out with some very spe­cific search terms. First, as­sum­ing you've picked a date al­ready (and if you haven't, you re­ally should get on that!), try the search term “wed­ding ideas” and then tack on the sea­son of your wed­ding. The in­spo ex­trav­a­ganza might get over­whelm­ing. That's OK. Just re­mem­ber to take a break and be­gin re­fin­ing your ideas.

You can also try ad­di­tional search terms like “[your state] wed­ding venue” or even get spe­cific and in­clude your city's name in there. These will nor­mally bring up some great re­sults to help you get even more ideas and a bet­ter gist of what's out there and what you can ex­pect.

Wed­ding venues can be hard to find, and some­times they're not avail­able on those all-in-one wed­ding plan­ning apps. This is where Wed­ding Spot (free) comes in and is amaz­ing. It's one of those niche apps that's very, very, very spe­cific, but is full-fea­tured and well-built for its niche. It fea­tures over 10,000 venues, with all the ma­jor leg­work fig­ured out for you so you don't even have to pick up the phone for venue in­for­ma­tion. It has pic­tures, pric­ing, and a whole host of other fea­tures. You can search based on your bud­get, theme, head count, and lo­ca­tion, and it gives you ac­cess to ex­clu­sive deals. I know this sounds like a shill ad­ver­tise­ment, but it's not. It's a gen­uinely great app that I highly rec­om­mend for fig­ur­ing out your po­ten­tial venues.

Speak­ing of venues, peo­ple need to know where and when to be for your mar­riage, so don't for­get you need to send out wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions! The phys­i­cal ones can be re­ally ex­pen­sive though and es­sen­tially wind up in the trash af­ter the wed­ding (or even be­fore). Peo­ple have started mov­ing on to other ways of invit­ing peo­ple, whether it's through Face­book, which helps you keep track of the guest list and com­mu­ni­cate quick up­dates with other peo­ple, or through other services.

My per­sonal fa­vorite way to send in­vites is through Hob­nob (free). In the app, you can de­sign wed­ding, birth­day, and var­i­ous other dig­i­tal in­vi­ta­tions, and then send them out to your con­tacts. I've re­cently started us­ing this one, and I re­ally wish I had known about it be­fore we sent out the in­vites through Face­book. You can send out re­ally cre­ative in­vi­ta­tions through email and text, and track your RSVPs. You can even have peo­ple up­load pic­tures you didn't take so ev­ery­one has a record of the pics of the event, and you can se­lect the ones you want to keep for­ever and up­load those to In­sta­gram and Face­book. It's a bril­liant lit­tle app with many uses out­side of just wed­ding in­vites. Wed­dings can be very dif­fi­cult, but you've also got the tools in your hand to make plan­ning one so much eas­ier. Thanks to apps, you can plan a wed­ding from the palm of your hand, and you can do it eas­ily. Fol­low this guide and take to heart the strate­gies I've shared, and you'll be won­der­ing what peo­ple are talk­ing about when they dis­cuss wed­ding plan­ning stress. Or, if you re­ally want to, just hire a wed­ding plan­ner and let them handle ev­ery­thing. That can be a bit ex­pen­sive though. Good luck, and re­mem­ber that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff on the day of your wed­ding. En­joy the mem­o­ries you make with your spouse that day. Ken­neth Boshell is a free­lance writer who lives in Florida. His finely honed skills in­clude find­ing great taco eater­ies, pet­ting ran­dom cats, and hunt­ing for the most de­li­cious choco­late bar in the world. He has a ridicu­lously large pile of books to read, which he'd get to if he could just put down The Black Com­pany and Harry Pot­ter for a mo­ment.

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