For most brides-to-be, gone are the days of hiring a wedding planner who oversees each and every detail of the wedding planning process. Modern couples are more involved than ever before, from creating their own invitations and favors to hand-picking playlists to launching social media hubs that showcase their big days. You'll notice we just said "couples" - that's because it's now becoming commonplace for grooms-to-be to take part in the planning too. (High five to the guys out there.)
If you're one of these hands-on couples, you know what a challenge it is to balance wedding planning with the rest of your life - sometimes it's difficult to keep from getting caught up in the countless details rather than focusing on the joy of being in love and the anticipation of the big day. Luckily, technology is keeping pace with the evolution of wedding planning: there are apps, podcasts, websites, online templates and more to help you sail smoothly into your wedding day.
These five tech tips and trends will help you plan your wedding with ease so you have more time to focus on fun, friends, family - and your future together.
Opting to send out digital save-the-dates and invitations will save you both time and money. Many wedding planning sites now offer customizable templates you can use to design your save-the-dates, as well as the platforms to send them out to your guest list.
Still longing to see your names together in print? Consider mailing printed invitations to just a portion of your guest list, like the wedding party and immediate family, and send email versions to the rest. You'll still save plenty of money, and you can rest easy knowing for sure that your invitations were received rather than wondering if any were lost in the mail.
Another benefit of taking the the invitation process online is that it's much easier to track RSVPs. According to the Brides 2014 American Wedding Study, 60% of the couples surveyed managed their guests' RSVPS online. Couples are quickly realizing that offering the option for guests to RSVP online often encourages quicker response times, saves on postage, and cuts down on time spent sorting and recording RSVPs or chasing down those last few guests you haven't heard from yet.
Take a cue from Amazon and rethink your gift registry. Sites like MyRegistry enable you to add items from any website to your registry, which means you aren't limited to a particular store and you can select items from across several stores in order to meet all your needs. In addition, guests will enjoy the convenience of being able to purchase their gifts online rather than having to visit a brick-and-mortar store.
If you're saving up a nest egg and you'd prefer to set up a cash registry, you can do so at Wedding.com or NewlyWish. NewlyWish also offers the option for you to register for fun newlywed outings like cooking lessons, dancing lessons, museum memberships and spa visits.
Or use your wedding to do some good in the world by creating a charitable donation registry with I Do Foundation. You can choose charitable causes that you're passionate about, and then guests can make a donation on your behalf as their wedding gift to you.
There's no shortage of wedding planning apps to keep you organized, on schedule and sane all the way from start to "I do." WeddingWire (our top-rated wedding planning site) offers a variety of apps to help you plan the details, partner with vendors, decide on decor and stay in touch with guests. And The Knot's Wedding Planner app fully integrates with its site so you can take all your tools with you and plan on the go.
These days, it's common for guests to take a few snapshots of your wedding and post an update or two on social media - so why not put their social savvy to work for you? Apps like Wedding Party and Appy Couple connect all your guests so they can share their photos with the group, comment on special moments throughout the day and provide you with a hassle-free way to get copies of those great candid photos. Plus, it's all done real-time during your wedding. This is also a great way for those who can't attend to stay connected and see your wedding day from the perspectives of your closest friends and relatives.
Of course, you'll want the focus of the day to be the celebration of your marriage, not everyones' cell phones - so make sure to let guests know when the appropriate times are to take pictures, such as on the dance floor, and when you'd prefer that they hold of a few minutes to post a comment, such as during your vows. Your guests will be thrilled to share in your special day and help you commemorate the experience once the celebration gets rolling.
Do you have any relatives or dear friends who aren't able to attend your wedding due to health or financial hardships? They can still see you get married - online. Use a service like My Streaming Wedding or I Do Stream to share your big day with those who can't be there in person. Streaming packages start around $199-250 and increase depending on what length of time you stream for, which equipment you choose to rent and who you choose as your videographer. If you're confident you can set up the video camera in one great location or you have a video-savvy friend who is willing to help out, you can opt to simply commit to the equipment rental and streaming setup to keep your costs at a minimum.