Do You Need Professional Wedding Planning Software?

While a quality planning platform can come in handy, there are several different low-cost (and even free) tools that you can use instead.

guests toasting at reception
Photo: Ashley Ludaescher Photo

When you start planning your wedding, the sheer number of details you need to monitor—budgets and bridesmaids, hair trials and cake tasting, payment due dates and seating charts—can feel so overwhelming that you might immediately start looking for ways to streamline the process. While it can be tempting to invest in a wedding planning software, which often promise to manage it all for you, it's important to really consider your needs first.

Do You Need Wedding Planning Software?

Ultimately, you need to consider your personal needs and planning style. Are you incredibly organized and love to focus on the little details? You can probably make do without a professional-quality service. Are you more of a big-picture thinker and often have trouble keeping track of things like dates, prices, and names? Some form of planning tool would probably be helpful for you.

You should also think about your big-day team. If you're working with a professional wedding planner, or else your venue comes with an in-house coordinator, you might not need to keep track of every detail yourself—ask the team what they recommend you use and go from there.

Consider Free (or Low-Cost) Options Instead

Instead of splurging on professional-grade organizing tools, consider the many free (or very affordable) alternatives available to you. There are countless different apps and tools that can help keep you on top of every element of your wedding—without a bunch of pricey features that you'll never use again.

Two Tools to Consider

Most couples find they need help with two main areas: Tracking wedding-related details, like budgets, payment due dates, and RSVPs, and making the seating chart. Luckily, there are free options to help you with these important aspects. We know professional planners who keep their clients' every note, from save-the-date addresses to last dance songs, organized in Google Drive, a free program that can be used to create spreadsheets and tabs that track response card returns, spending logs, to-do lists, and table assignments. (The Docs and Photos apps can organize inspiration pictures, rehearsal dinner speeches, ceremony readings, and other text and images, too.) Share the day-of schedule with your bridal party, the thank-you card addresses with your fiancé, your list of don'ts with the band, and the rehearsal dinner guest list with your in-laws. The program even offers a pre-set wedding planning template to get you started.

Pros rave about professional tools that let guests organize RSVPs and menu choices, then import them onto a drag-and-drop seating chart. AllSeated's 3D floor planning tool allows planners and couples to perfect their venue's setup, keep track of guest lists and meal requests, organize the timeline, and tweak final seating arrangements. A virtual reality option on the app lets you do a final walkthrough using goggles for a realistic day-of preview, giving you one last chance to visualize exactly how close to each other your never-got-over-the-breakup friends are sitting.

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