Before smartphones were ubiquitous, planning for your big day meant using paper calendars and handwritten to-do lists. But now, getting ready for your wedding is easier than ever thanks to technology.
Push notifications remind you to order stationery, schedule your dress fittings, and track down missing RSVPs. YouTube videos can teach you and your partner simple moves so you can nail the first dance. And it's likely your guests will rely on your personal wedding website for all the details.
But which apps are the most reliable in managing all these moving parts? Ahead, we've identified some of the best to help you plan your perfect day.
Julie Rogers contributed reporting.
HotelTonight This app is super-useful for wedding guests who are fed up with spending thousands of dollars on attending weddings. You can find unsold rooms at nice hotels at the last minute (starting at a week ahead, until the same night), with prices that are on average 17% lower than on other travel-booking services. But couples can use it, too — it might sound risky to leave your wedding-night hotel until the week before, but you're almost guaranteed to spend less on it. Read our detailed review of the app here.
AllSeated Once you've booked your venue, you can use this free VR app — which requires goggles to experience, but it's totally worth it — to design and tweak your floor plan. If you have a wedding planner, he or she can help you place the furniture and decor around the venue and make any changes through the app. AllSeated has tens of thousands of scaled floor plans for venues across the country. You can also make a seating chart and guest list, manage RSVPs, and create a timeline through it. The best part? It's collaborative, so your vendors and bridal party can help you out in real time.
Paperless Post If you're not the paper-invitations type and would rather track your wedding RSVPs digitally, this is the perfect app to do so. The designs are so cute that you won't miss "the real thing" — especially not the price.
ThredUP ThredUP — the online fashion-resale shop that lets you send off your old threads in exchange for $$$ (or as donations) — has a new venture cooking, and it's precisely in step with the times. The recycling retailer has just launched its first-ever bridal shop, The Mismatched 'Maid, for brides and bridesmaids who don't give a crap about matchy-matchy dresses (and want to save up to 90%). The shop is divided into 30 different "curations," from Bridesmaid Blush to Classic Black to...David's Bridal. Oh, and prices start at $10.
Thumbtack Thumbtack lets you hire experts for all types of tasks — very much including wedding planning. Aside from a wedding planner, you can use the app to find a hairstylist, makeup artist, floral designer, DJ, band, and many other wedding-related vendors.
The Glam App Founded by Insta-influencer Cara Santana, The Glam App — available in most major U.S. cities and London — is the procrastinator's beauty fairy godmother. Have you booked your caterer, your DJ, your florist, and finalized your guest list, but haven't even thought about hair and makeup for your bridal party? This could be your savior.
Mint Weddings are an expensive endeavor — you'll be burning through a lot of cash without some proper budget planning. Mint lets you monitor your spending on an easy-to-use interface. After link your debit and credit credits to the platform, your key spending categories will be spelled out to you in the form of pie charts. You'll be able to set up budgets in individual categories, and receive alerts when funds are running low. Check out this post on the app's official blog to see how you can obliterate spending remorse.
Etsy Is there anything Etsy can't do? Apparently not, because pretty much anything wedding-related that you can't find through other vendors is here. Looking for Scrabble cake toppers, custom-made place cards, custom-made marquee lights, an Art Deco mirror, footless jeweled sandals, or basically anything else you can dream up? It's all at your fingertips, and will get delivered to your doorstep in a jiffy.
GlamSquad GlamSquad makes it super-easy to book hair, makeup, and nail services on the fly. You can book right through the app, and an army of pros will come to your house — or hotel — to make you wedding-ready. If you have special requests, you can also contact one of the company's reps and they'll get back to you speedily. There's even a catalog of bridal inspiration to peruse on the website, in case you're stumped for ideas.
Veri Cofounder Angela Kim wanted an easier way to gather photos from guests at her wedding — and hashtags just weren't super-useful. She wanted an app that doesn't require manual uploading, and there weren't any. That's how she came up with Veri, which allows guests to use their regular phone cameras to upload images in real time to a shared album set up by the couple. Check out Veri.com for more info on how it works.
The Knot Wedding LookBook If you're way too overwhelmed to visit a bunch of salons in person, do your preliminary dress research through this app. It makes it super-easy for you to narrow down the style of wedding dress that you want. Plus, you can look up listings for wedding-dress salons when you're actually ready to go try stuff on. The app even lets you send messages directly to shops to request your appointment. You can also search for bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride, and flower-girl dresses by style, shape, and price. And if you're looking for accessories, you're all set here, too — plus, you can bookmark your favorites for later. If you still can't find the perfect dress, the app will give you even more inspiration by introducing recommendations based on your favorites.
iWedding Deluxe With this all-in-one app, you can make to-do lists, budgets, guest lists, and more. It even includes a live countdown to your wedding day. You can also keep all your favorite inspiration in one spot, adding photos from your camera. (P.S. There's a special pin-code feature that lets you "lock" pics of your wedding dress from prying eyes.) The guest-list feature is super-detailed: You can track guests' RSVP status, record their meal choices, and even make seating charts for your reception and rehearsal dinner. The app notes that it supports same-sex weddings — because everyone should be able to have their wedding plans at their fingertips.
Pantone Studio One of the first wedding-planning decisions you're likely to make is what your color palette will be. After all, with all the choices out there, "I like blue" is just not going to cut it. Pantone Studio will let you do just that and more. Did you find the perfect shade of, say, periwinkle bridesmaids' dresses? Take a photo, and the app will identify that exact color, matched from its library of over 10,000 hues — and show you others to help you out with your palette-creating. Perhaps the key part of the app is that it also helps you create a palette sourced from your Instagram or Pinterest accounts. Pantone Studio also makes it easy to share your creations on social media and via email (so you can update your mom, sister, and fiancé ASAP every time new inspiration strikes). A basic version is available for free download, and there's a paid monthly subscription model with more advanced features.
TaskRabbit TaskRabbit lets you outsource your tasks — say, bouquet-making or buying last-minute supplies — to (background-checked) people in your area. "Taskers" can also help you do your initial research, which makes the planning process so much easier, and even help with those super-involved DIY projects. All you need to do is post a job you need help with — within minutes, you'll be matched with a qualified and vetted Tasker. You'll be happy to cross one more thing off that checklist.
Wayfair Wayfair is a great place to find furnishings for your own apartment. But the site also offers a wedding registry, and it's easy to access your registry through the Wayfair app. If you're not sure what to register for, the app offers "ready-made" registry ideas to inspire your picks, too. Lists like "modern mix" and "farmhouse chic" will help you find place settings, appliances, and more to go with a theme that works for your style.
Shutterfly You might already think of Shutterfly as a handy app for ordering prints or holiday cards. But you can also use it during the wedding-planning process. You could create your own save-the-date cards — which would be cheaper than ordering them from a fancy stationer. Or, you could create custom gifts for your bridal party — because really, who wouldn't love a mug or magnet printed with a photo of your squad?
LadyMarry This wedding-planning app gives you a personalized timeline for what you need to do when. Just put in your wedding date and location, and you'll have a checklist of what you need to do. The app can also help you find and connect with local vendors to get price quotes for your wedding day, thanks to an integration with Thumbtack.
Crate & Barrel Wedding & Gift Registry You're engaged! Now comes the fun part — registering for gifts. Crate & Barrel's registry app makes things super easy. You can browse the store's offerings through the app and add items to your list by scanning in-store, or by searching the website. If you don't know what you want yet, you can also use the app to browse "registry inspiration guides," like "Party Must-Haves," to find items you'll love.
WeddingHappy Wedding Planner WeddingHappy offers one of the best all-around wedding to-do lists. The app helps you plan out your tasks, from researching florists to hiring photographers, and allows you to sync events and contacts with your phone's calendar and address book. One area where WeddingHappy really excels is in its payments tracking. It's easier to stay on budget when you have all of your vendors and costs in one place — and the app will automatically adjust your balance, cost per guest, and remaining budget when you enter a fee. The last thing you want to do is end up way over your budget when you still have a DJ to book.
Joy Joy's desktop websites and wedding planning app work in conjunction with each other. You can create your guest website online, and keep planning through the app. Your guests can access the app, in addition to the website, too. So instead of texting you about the schedule of events, or where you're registered, they can just check the app for the info. One of the best parts of Joy's wedding website is that guests can RSVP online (guests can do this through The Knot's wedding website, too). That means you won't have to track down the college friends who "forgot" to send their RSVP cards, which will save you time (and stress). On the wedding day itself, guests can upload photos directly to the app, so you won't have to search Facebook and Instagram for your hashtag to find all the photos they took at your event. They can also create their own profiles within the app — so if your wedding will include a lot of guests who won't know each other beforehand, Joy is a useful way for them to find each other's social media profiles if they want to stay in touch.
Loverly Virtual Wedding Planner If you want to talk to a wedding planner without having to meet in person, you might like Loverly's app. Some of the app's services are offered for free, or you can choose one of Loverly's paid wedding planning packages for virtual advice. The app will help you find local vendors, like florists, caterers, and photographers, but you can't search for them yourself — you have to go through the virtual concierge. You can play a flat rate for the "signature package," which includes thinks like vendor recommendations and a budgeting sheet. Or, you can pay a la carte for smaller services, like creating a custom hashtag and Snapchat filter. In addition to chatting with a wedding planner, you can also use the app to read Loverly's wedding content and find plenty of inspiration for your big day. You can save articles and photos, too, which is useful if you want to keep everything in one place.
WedPics If you want a wedding app to keep all of your photos in one place, but don't need to create a wedding website, WedPics is a good option. You can create a simple wedding profile and link your registries and hotel information, but it doesn't have the details you'll find from The Knot or Appy Couple. Still, if all you want to do is share and download pictures, that's not a bad thing. You can invite wedding guests to the app using a custom code, and they can see the photo albums you've created, as well as upload their own images. Plus, you can also order photo prints right through WedPics, which will help make your wedding photo album a breeze.
Wedding Spot If you don't know where you want to hold your ceremony and/or reception, Wedding Spot is a great place to start. Just enter the city and state you'd like to get married in, and the app will find a variety of venues in your area. You can also filter by the type of venue and your price range. When you do find a venue you want to check out, you can make appointments to see the space (and get a price estimate) right through the app.
WedSocial by WeddingWire If you want a more organized way for your wedding guests to share photos — other than just searching your hashtag on Instagram — WedSocial is a great option. (Plus, guests will need a code to access your wedding on the app, so you won't have strangers seeing all your photos.) In addition to sharing photos, the app can serve as a one-stop shop for your wedding guests. You can add your events calendar and information about local hotels into the app, through an integration with your free WeddingWire website.
Style Me Pretty Style Me Pretty has long been a favorite website for brides looking for inspiration, but now the company has a wedding app, too. The app is great for inspiration — it features everything from gorgeous real-wedding photos to stories about real brides. Plus, you can save real-wedding pictures you love, whether that's a black-and-white photo you want to recreate or a cake design you want to show your baker, all in one place on your profile. The app also lets you follow specific vendors, like caterers and photographers. If you're looking for local vendors, or just following vendors whose style you like, there's no shortage of inspiration. And if you do want to get in touch with local vendors, you can send them an email right through the app. So if you see photos you love, you can contact, say, the florist featured in the photos right away.
Evernote Evernote isn't officially a wedding app, but it can still be a huge help during the planning process. You can organize to-do lists, notebooks, and even sketches in the app — and you can choose which ones to share with your partner, family, and wedding party. Plus, you can search the notes for keywords, so even if you're not the most organized, you can still find that random note you made during, say, your fifth cake tasting. You can also sync your notes across devices, so if you're on your laptop, you can still access notes you made on your phone while going to planning appointments. Evernote's basic plan is free, and offers most of the features with limited monthly uploads. Evernote Plus is $34.99/year, and comes with additional features, like the ability to access your notes while offline.
Appy Couple Appy Couple isn't free, but it is by far the most customizable app of the bunch. It coordinates with your wedding website, which you can set up through the app or on a computer. The websites come in a variety of seriously beautiful and modern designs, so this is a great choice if you're looking for one that matches your aesthetic vision for the big day. Pricing starts at $39, with additional fees for "luxury" designs. In terms of planning, Appy Couple helps you manage your guest list (either by manually inputting the names or uploading a spreadsheet) and keep track of RSVPs. The app also offers group messaging for communicating with your bridal party and invitees ahead of the big event. Guests can also upload and view photos directly through the app, so even people who can't make it to your wedding can feel like they were there.
Wedding Planner by WeddingWire WeddingWire's app offers multiple features to help you plan your special day. You can search its database of more than 200,000 vendors, and you can also scroll through photos of real weddings for inspiration. Another feature from the app is the ability to chat with other couples who are planning their weddings, so you can get advice from people who know what you're going through. Plus, if you create a WeddingWire account, you can use the browser version of the website to access features like hashtag generators and seating charts.
Zola Wedding Registry If you're planning a wedding, you've no doubt heard that single-store registries are a thing of the past. Universal registries allow you to add items from any website, or create cash funds — basically, they're a lot more flexible. Zola is one of the most popular among such registries, and while you can access it through your computer, the app makes registering fun thanks to its Tinder-like gift-suggestion tool. Swipe left or right on suggested products to add them to your wish list instantly.
Slack Slack is a group-messaging program that is taking the corporate world by storm. But as Mashable explains, it can also be really useful for planning a wedding. Use the app to message other users and share photos, and choose who sees what, so private photos can stay private. It also allows you to sync Google calendars with other users and create reminders for tasks on your to-do list. Mashable also suggests creating a Slack channel for users to make song requests ahead of time, to be shared with your DJ before the big day.
The Knot Wedding Planner If you're on a tight budget, The Knot's free planning and wedding-website apps are essential. The Wedding Planner app offers checklists of tasks that need to be completed each month leading up to your wedding, while the budget tool helps you stay on track financially. If you've created your wedding website through The Knot, the Guest List app is also an easy way to keep track of invites and RSVPs. Guests can RSVP directly through your wedding website — though you may still want to send formal invitations and reply cards, since not everyone will opt to go digital.
Pinterest It wouldn't be a list of the best wedding-planning apps without Pinterest. Although there are a lot more digital wedding-planning tools now than when Pinterest first launched, it still reigns supreme among millennial brides-to-be. Wedding magazines, floral companies, dress designers, and decor retailers — you'll find them all on Pinterest. And then, there are the boards created by other brides-to-be, which can really help on the inspiration front. Prefer not to display your wedding style publicly? No problem, you can pin to secret boards, too.