How to Ditch Your Wedding Planner in 2019Wedding Planning
Planning a wedding is a big investment—in time, money, and your sanity. A wedding planner can help with the time and sanity part, but they’re definitely going to eat into your wedding budget.
Plus, it’s not like they enable you to be completely hands-off. You’re still going to have to be involved, responding to their calls and emails, fencing them back in when they ignore your dead-serious spending limits, and confirming you like everything they’ve picked out.
It makes sense you’d want to plan your own wedding, but how do you prevent the overwhelm from ruining the magic of your special day?
With the right DIY wedding planning tools.
Best DIY Wedding Planning Websites and Apps
Whether you’d rather save the money for the venue or you just like to be the one managing things, you can totally ditch your wedding planner this year.
Planning your wedding can be (relatively) stress-free with DIY wedding planning websites and apps that help you stay on top of everything—from your budget to the guest list. Below we walk you through planning your own wedding with the top wedding planning websites and apps to help you do it!
Stay on Budget with Wedding Budget Planning Tools
The first thing you need to do—after you share your engagement news with all your friends and Instagram followers, of course—is set a budget.
Weddings are more expensive than everyone thinks, so now is the time to have those tough conversations with your family and anyone else who’s willing to chip in. Once you know the total amount, knock it down by 5% to 10%. There will be unexpected costs, and that buffer room ensures you can cover it.
Once you know how much money you have to work with, start prioritizing. Your ultimate dream wedding may be just a tad out of your budget, so sit down with your partner and talk about what’s most important to the two of you: honeymoon, food, venue, big vs. small, DJ vs. live band, open bar? Also discuss what you're willing to give up. This conversation is key to ensuring you stay on budget.
Wedding budgeting tools:
- Mint: This money management app syncs with all your credit card and bank accounts. It’s a solid personal budgeting tool regardless, but we love it for wedding planning because you can create a wedding budget, and setup spending summaries. Save with these Mint.com promo codes.
- Splitwise: This app is like Venmo on steroids, and it’s essential for bachelorette parties. You can create an event (like your wedding) and then add people to it. Everyone spends money towards the total and the app keeps track of everyone’s contributions. At the end, the app splits up costs for even reimbursements.
- WeddingWire: WeddingWire is a full-scale wedding planning site, but their budgeting tool deserves special attention. This budgeting app is designed for weddings, so it helps you set a total budget and then divvy things up by category and priority. Just log in your expenses, and the app keeps you on track with deadline reminders and payment tracking. Save with these WeddingWire promo codes.
Be Inspired with Wedding Vision Boards
Enough about money. Let’s talk about the fun part: imagining your dream wedding! Go wild digging into bridal magazines and #wedding hashtags on social media.
As you flip through the visuals, put together a vision board of your favorites. What speaks to you? Hopefully, a theme starts to emerge. Are you a summer or winter wedding couple? Hippie or traditional? Casual or formal? With a theme in mind, you can decide on the time of year for your wedding, how you want the bridal party to look, and what kind of venue you’ll need.
Wedding vision board tools:
- Pinterest: Many wedding website builders will have some sort of vision board functionality you can use, but it doesn’t get better than Pinterest. This is the tool to use when creating your wedding vision board. Organize multiple boards with hair, wedding dresses, venue ideas, and table settings.
Get Organized with Wedding Planning Apps
Let’s set a date! Or, a few dates, more likely. It’s easier to choose a time of year for your wedding. That way, when you start speaking to venues, you’ll have a bit more flexibility.
Once you have your date and venue set, the planning really gets going. You can use spreadsheets and Google Drive if that works for you, but there are plenty of interactive, collaborative wedding planning apps that make this process a bit more special.
Wedding planning tools:
- The Knot: This popular wedding app is a favorite for a reason. The Knot wedding planner includes a wedding countdown, guest list manager, and budgeting tool. You can also create your website using The Knot (more on this in the next section).
- MyWedding.com: This wedding planning app is free and easy to set up, and includes default wedding checklists that make sure you thought of everything you need.
- Trello: If you prefer kanban over checklists, Trello is for you. This cloud-based productivity platform lets you move tasks through the columns as you get closer to the big day. You can customize it with a background and add color-coded labels for different events or task categories. They’ve even got some pre-built wedding board templates you can use to get started. Save with these Trello promo codes.
Build Your Wedding Website with DIY Builders
As far as your guests are concerned, your wedding website is Wedding HQ. They should be able to visit this website and get everything they need to know to attend your wedding. Make sure you include the essentials here, like:
- Date, time, and address (with directions to the venue)
- A detailed itinerary, including the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch, etc.
- Contact info for you (or, ideally, a dear friend who’s agreed to manage random questions on your behalf)
- Dress code and attire
- Social media hashtags
- Accommodations for out-of-town guests, such as your hotel room block and ridesharing discounts
- Your registry
Besides the important stuff, you can make your wedding website sweet, too, by sharing your story as a couple or sharing memorable photos of the two of you.
Best wedding website builders:
The great thing about the wedding website builders we’ve highlighted below is that they all boast large vendor directories, so you can find photographers, DJs, hair and makeup pros, tux rental companies, and more—all while you build your wedding website!
- Appy Couple: For less than $50, Appy Couple helps you build a gorgeous wedding website. Your website stays up as long as you want, and you can coordinate your print or digital invites to the template you chose for your site. Appy Couple also offers unlimited storage for guest lists, RSVPs, messages and photo sharing. Save with these Appy Couple promo codes.
- WeddingWire: If you liked their budgeting tool, go ahead and use WeddingWire to build your wedding website, too. In addition to their 400+ personalized templates, WeddingWire offers custom URLs, RSVP management, and special hotel rates with their hotel partners.
- The Knot: The tech behind The Knot is just as good as any website builder software, except that the templates and functionality were designed specifically for wedding websites. That means you can expect elegance and all the necessary pages, like a registry, event information, RSVP page, and more. In addition to their beautiful templates, The Knot also supports multi-store registries (along with charity donations), guest list management, custom URLs (i.e. bridenamegroomname.com), matching invitations for some templates through Shutterfly or Minted, and even custom Snapchat filters! Save with these The Knot promo codes.
Pro Tip: Whichever wedding website builder you choose, create a collaborative Spotify Playlist for your wedding and embed it onto your website. People can get in the groove before they arrive, and add their own songs!
Manage Your Guest List with Wedding RSVP Tools
Create your guest list. This is the part of wedding planning everyone hates. Fortunately, your budget and venue can make some of these hard decisions for you by dictating a firm upper-limit.
There’s good news, though: you can invite more than that number. Between 10% to 20% people won’t make it. If you’re having trouble thinning the crowd, consider making your wedding adults-only, or not allowing everyone a plus-one.
This is also a good time to finalize the wedding party and bachelorette/bachelor party attendees. The bridal party is there to support and celebrate the two of you. Avoid drama and attention hogs if you can help it.
Wedding RSVP management tools:
- Minted: Everything on Minted is created from an independent artist. You can order pre-printed wedding invites with extensive customization options, including paper stock, size, envelope design, and stamps. You can even order a wall print of your invite as a pretty memory for your new home. Save with these Minted promo codes.
- HotelPlanner: Score group hotel pricing and escure room blocks with the HotelPlanner website. You can put in your pricing range, how many rooms you’ll need, and the site searches for the best hotels in your area to save you up to 70% off. Save with these HotelPlanner promo codes.
- AllSeated: Once the RSVPs start coming in, you've got round two of hard decisions to make: the seating arrangements. Happily, AllSeated makes this a whole lot easier. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be, with 360 diagramming and 2D/3D floor plans. AllSeated offers mobile check-in for guests and vendors, the ability to manage meal types and RSVPs, and furniture rentals.
Let the Gifts Roll In with Wedding Registry Tools
Wedding planning is a lot of work! What better way to celebrate than by getting excited about all the gifts you’re going to get?
Most major retailers and Amazon offer wedding registries, and it’s easy to link out to these from your wedding website. If you’re looking for something a bit different, try one of these wedding registries instead.
Wedding registry tools:
- Zola: This wedding planning website shines for its registry feature, with the ability to add all the standard gifts (furniture, kitchen accessories, and more) from nearly 600 brands, as well as gift cards and honeymoon funding. Zola even lets multiple guests band together to purchase a larger-ticket item. Save with these Zola promo codes.
- Honeyfund: Have your guests send you on your honeymoon with Honeyfund. You can set up a simple cash registry or plan your honeymoon through the site. Select from “starter registries,” like an African safari or Asian cruise, and choose different activities. You can plan and fund your honeymoon at the same time! Save with these Honeyfund promo codes.
Choose a Day-Of Coordinator
This is our last, and potentially most important tip for you.
You’ve put in the hard work planning your wedding for months. You don’t want to miss your wedding—or be too stressed to enjoy it—because you’re running around trying to manage everything on the big day.
So, choose a friend (or two) who’s willing to be your coordinator for the day-of. Give them an event schedule to follow, and let them know what you’re worried about, so they can make sure to take care of it.