If you’ve never organised a significant event any more complex than feeding five dinner guests on a Saturday evening or sourcing a catered lunch for the board meeting at work, planning a whole wedding’s worth of practical, creative and financial decisions can feel like a super daunting and altogether herculean task. Getting to grips with each aspect of your big day plans – especially if you’re a naturally chaotic person – is a little like orchestrating a complex piece of music. There’s many different elements, lots of potential for mistakes and a certain pressure to perform to the best of your ability. All whilst you hold down a full-time job and juggle life’s ever-increasing commitments!
Thankfully brides and grooms of the 2010′s are blessed with oodles of helpful assistance in the form of creative and practical technology to aid the wedding planning process. Connectivity, mobile apps and social technology can make light work of arduous and fiddly tasks, and are invariably accessible from multiple devices. Making plans has never been easier! Goodbye hefty wedding binder, hello digital planning dreamland…
Below are a handful of practical, tried and tested tools and apps ideally suited to the different aspects of wedding planning. It’s worth noting that each of these apps are free to use. I don’t believe you need to splash out on an array of fancy wedding planning apps to get organised; more that you might like to explore the benefits of the best personal organisation technology on the market, and work it to the max across your smartphone, laptop and tablet.
Let’s get this phenomenally successful and frankly drop-dead gorgeous tool covered first.
Pinterest (pronounced as in: ‘Interest’) is beautifully designed to help you collect and organise every angle of aesthetic inspiration for your big day. ‘Pin’ pretty pictures and appealing ideas to your very own ‘Boards’ and use to discover hip and happening wedding suppliers and their beautiful wares and services. Create Boards to house each of your inspiration areas: e.g. Favour Ideas, Honeymoon Destinations, Seating Plan Inspiration. Pin content from other people’s boards - you can follow whoever takes your fancy – or add content to your boards via the web using the Pinmarklet ‘Pin it!’ button for your browser. You’ll may also see ‘Pin it’ buttons when you hover over images on blogs and websites that are embracing the Pinterest revolution.
My top Pinterest tips:
- Create a manageable quantity of boards split by categories that reflect the theme, location and style of your wedding. If you stick to around 20-30 you can keep your pins and ideas under control – any more than this and you might start going Pinsane!
- Be selective about what you pin. Only pin things that really stand out for you and fit in with realistic plans. You can always choose to just ‘Like’ stuff instead of cluttering your boards with every pretty item in sight.
- Consider setting up a few boards to share with your wedding coordinator/stylist/team of wedding helpers. They’ll be able to pin interesting new things to your boards too and comment on new items you’ve added.
Why it’s fab:
Pinterest is the centre of the wedding inspiration universe. It has a gorgeous look and feel. The functionality is sleek, pinning is fun and rearranging your boards and pins is smooth as butter. I’m also a big fan of tools that allow you to ‘bespoke’ your content into whatever weird and wonderful arrangement you fancy. Pinterest is also available on Android and iOS for iPad and iPhone.
Warning: Pinterest is highly addictive!
Loverly is Pinterest’s lesser-hyped but more wedding-specific ‘cloud scrapbook’ cousin; another visual ideas engine where Boards are called Bundles and Likes are called Loves.
Loverly provides similar functionality to Pinterest by presenting images from the best wedding blogs on the web. Vendors (such as bloggers, stylists and suppliers) can also set up their own profiles and showcase their work in a more businesslike way, which means as a bride it’s easier to find inspirational content to suit your style of celebration.
My Top Loverly Tips:
- Use Loverly as your private planning space – Bundles are locked down by default.
- Search for inspiration relating to your colour scheme by clicking on the cute colour boxes on the top left!
- Take the Style Quiz under ‘My Style’ to receive inspiration that’s completely relevant to your big day plans.
Why it’s fab:
Loverly is soooo pretty. It’s like stepping into a magical love story that wants to know more about your wedding and how it can help you. As Loverly is ALL about weddings you can stay focused on the task in hand too!
If you find yourself frequently filling notebooks/post-it notes/scraps of paper with random lists you may like to explore the wonders of note-taking tool Evernote. Like a neatly arranged personal filing cabinet, Evernote enables you to file and organise every scrap of detail into bespoke sections. Create your own ‘Notebooks’ and within each, create a date-ordered list of ‘Notes’ containing anything from a quick shopping list to a web page screen grab. You can even add attachments and email your notes to others. Use the handy Evernote Web Clipper to add whole pages from websites to remember for later.
My Top Evernote Tips:
- Create Notebooks for each chronological aspect of your wedding process: Current To Do’s, 3 Months Prior, 1 Month Prior, 3 weeks Prior etc.
- Within each Notebook create Notes entitled with each aspect: Flowers, Venue, Wedding Dress
- Move your notes through each Notebook as you work through your timescales and update them as you go.
A couple of years ago I decided to ditch my beloved leather Filofax in favour of a purely digital diary (whimper, she now sits in my office windowsill for posterity). Although I’d kept reminders in my Google Calendar for years, I continued to pen – and therefore duplicate effort – important events onto my paper diary. Since making the switch not only is my handbag a hundred grams lighter but I can access my schedule from anywhere on all my devices. Google’s Calendar is easy to use, integrates with (most) mail clients and calendar apps seamlessly and will ultimately help you as a bride set up a gazillion reminders for every important milestone of your wedding planning process.
My Top Google Calendar Tips:
- Always ensure your calendar client (ie Outlook, iCal) is defaulted to your Google Calendar for new events, or you could be creating reminders that don’t sync properly into the cloud.
- Use the reminder settings to alert you well before the ‘due date’ – for example, if you have a deposit to pay, set the alert for yourself 48 hours before so you can gather the funds and pay on time.
- If you type ‘Meet Jane at 10am’ straight into the Event title, Google Calendar will auto-fill the time as 10am and set the Event title to ‘Meet Jane’. Neat!
Why it’s fab:
Like most things that hail from Google towers (with perhaps the exception of Google +) Google Calendar is fast, easy to use and very helpful for the forgetful. Lots of folks now use a digital diary to keep organised – if you haven’t yet made the switch getting organised for your wedding is a brilliant time to do so!
A huge part of wedding planning is of course, sharing the details of your day with wedding guests and encouraging them to reply (RSVP, sign up for the gift list, send us your favourite songs etc.) Appy Couple is a beautiful new tool from the U.S that helps you present all your wedding info using the latest social technology. With everything housed in a pretty smartphone app, your wedding guests can simply log on, check details and interact with you. Customisable templates and lovely details make this a VERY pretty gem of an app that packs a punch above the other wedding planning apps I’ve seen.
My Top Appy Couple Tips:
- Appy Couple is currently invite-only : you’ll need to obtain an access code via the website before you get going.
- Begin populating your app with the essential details and share it with a few key members of your wedding party, i.e. your best man or maid of honour – then roll it out to everyone once your full details are confirmed.
- Appy Couple is super social! Use it to pull together Facebook photos and share all of your wedding day news via your favourite networks.
I’ve saved this little beauty of an app until last. The reason? It’s a magical piece of kit that truly represents how us humanfolk want the web to work, ultimately. It’s so exciting and helpful! Busy brides and grooms – wouldn’t it be wonderful to reduce the amount of wedding ‘work’ ahead by enlisting the help of invisible robots? I can’t promise you miracles, but IFFTT is a great place to start…
IFFTT - pronounced as in ‘sift’ and short for ‘IF This, Then That’ – is a tool that helps you (in their words) ‘put the internet to work’.
Want to archive all of your tweets into Evernote, or send yourself a push notification of the weather forecast each morning? Create a ‘Recipe’ on IFFTT and hey presto! There’s over 49 ‘Channels’ to use as the building block ingredients for your recipes including all the mainstream social apps (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) as well as stuff like Date & Time, Pushover (sends you alerts), SMS and Weather.
My Top IFFT Tips:
- Save your Favourite tweets from wedding suppliers, bloggers and wedding contacts to a Notebook in Evernote for reference.
- Create a Recipe just before your big day to save any Facebook photos you’ll be tagged in to a dedicated folder on Dropbox.
- If you’re not so good on digital diary reminders (see the previous tool) use IFFTT to send yourself a SMS for those all-important milestones.
IFFTT is a digital workhorse designed to eliminate boring tasks from your day whilst reminding yourself of crucial events and information. It also helps deliver information between different services so that you don’t have to dig it out by hand. How completely awesome is that?!
I conclude my post today with a final thought: effective organisation isn’t so much about the fancy technology we use but our overall approach to planning. Consider what can help you save time, money and stress so you can spend your engagement and wedding planning time enjoying what’s important: a happy life with your true love!
Which apps have you used for planning your wedding so far? Which tools worked for you best when planning your wedding or event?