Hi everyone, newlywed Katherine here! Whether you are knee deep in wedding planning mode or are just wading in, let me share my top three favorite (free!) online tools to use to help out with the planning – two of which you may already be using! These were tools that I made full use of during my planning and I can’t sing their praises enough!
Ah, Google Drive. That glorious platform allowing us to create documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations, to access them from anywhere and any device, and to share them with anyone with a Gmail account. I cannot even begin to tell you how many documents and spreadsheets I made when it came to wedding planning! Let me clarify, I love planning anything (you should see my Disney World trip planning spreadsheets!), so I probably went overboard. But, ultimately, having everything in one place that was easily shareable was helpful. My husband and I had a huge master spreadsheet with a detailed budget, calendar, guest address list, vendor contacts, and bridal party contacts. I also used Google Drive to create a venue checklist, the guest list and addresses for my bridal shower, a bachelorette planning spreadsheet (to Disney World, of course!), honeymoon planning, and, probably my favorite discovery, a honeymoon planning map. Did you know you could create a trip itinerary using custom Google Maps?! This was a great tool to help us visualize our honeymoon trip to Italy.
I’ll admit that I was visiting Wedding Wire way before I was engaged to check out venues and other vendors. And when I finally signed up for an account once we were engaged, there were so many planning tools within the system beyond vendor reviews that I found incredibly helpful. My favorites? Hands down the seating chart and guest list/RSVP management. We input all our guests’ names into the system, grouped them by households, and were able to categorize them as my side of the family, his side, family friends, and our friends. When the RSVPs started coming in, it was so easy to go into Wedding Wire and check yes or no for their RSVP. When it was time to create a seating chart, having all the guests’ names already in there, plus their RSVPs, made things even easier. For example, Wedding Wire already knew who wasn’t coming and wouldn’t include their names as options to add to the seating chart. And if someone had to later change their RSVP from a yes to a no (we had a few of these happen), those guest names disappeared from the seating chart as soon as I changed their RSVP to no. It simplified the whole process!
Additionally, Wedding Wire makes it super easy for you to create your own wedding website, which can keep your guests informed on time, location, hotel room blocks, etc. I likely would have used this function as well if my husband wasn’t a web developer (he made our website!).
While not actually a wedding planning tool, Mint is the perfect tool to help you manage all aspects of the budget. It’s intuitive and easy to use, and can sync with your bank accounts and credit cards to help you monitor spending. You can set up a wedding budget, and track wedding-related expenses to make sure you stay within budget. You can also set it up so that you receive reminder emails for when a vendor payment is due! I liked using Mint more than the budget tracker on Wedding Wire because Mint already had my expenses synced from my accounts, so I didn’t have to input each expense.
What tools have you found helpful while planning?