Planning any special event can be a nail-biting exercise, but planning a wedding exponentially increases the stress. Finding the perfect clothes, the perfect venue and everything else can gobble up hundreds of hours and turn planning your dream day into a nightmare. And professional wedding planners tend to be for those with deep pockets, leaving many of us to fend for ourselves.
But fear not - if you have a smart phone in your pocket, there's a way to cut down the wear on your nervous system. Your BlackBerry, Android device or iPhone can be populated with apps that will help you pull together the critical details. They won't make wedding planners irrelevant, but they may keep you from chewing your fingernails quite so much.
Brides Wedding Genius: From Brides Magazine, this free app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad lets you search or browse through galleries of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, jewellery and honeymoon destinations, and find stores carrying coveted items. A $2.99 upgrade to Brides Digital Wedding Binder adds access to a virtual inspiration binder in which to gather and organize images, a task tracker that lets you delegate tasks and e-mail them to members of the wedding party and manage to-do lists, and the ability to sync all the information from the app to a personalized page on the bridesweddinggenius.com website.
iWedding Deluxe: Also for the iPhone, this app offers a modularized approach to wedding planning. It includes components for anything to do with people (guest lists, seating plans, gift tracking), business details, suppliers, to-do lists, ideas on everything from dresses to mementoes for guests, and even integration with Twitter, TweetPhoto and Facebook so you can tell (and show) the world how planning is proceeding. Access to an iPod music library, a wedding blog and maps to local suppliers are icing on the wedding cake. According to the description, it even supports same sex weddings.
Wedding Plan-it: This one is for Android users and costs $2.99. It doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of Wedding Genius, but it does provide tools for managing such minutiae as arranging dress fittings and ordering the cake. It has task lists, a guest list manager that syncs with the device's contacts, vendor management and reporting. It even helps you keep track of that all-important budget.
Wedding Checklist: Also for Android, this one is a free app that does exactly what its name suggests: It provides a prepopulated (but fully customizable and searchable) list of tasks to be completed before the big day. You can set due dates for each task, and monitor critical items on the dashboard.
IBride: This one plans to cover all of the bases. It's a wedding directory, planner and guide that ultimately will run on BlackBerry, Android and iPhone, although only the iPhone version has been released so far.
BlackBerry users have a few options - very few, sadly, compared to the other platforms. Wedding Organizer ($2.99) provides categorized, customizable checklists of to-do items, including ideas on when each task should be started. Wedding Vows ($2.99) provides a catalogue of sample vows that can be edited or combined to create a personal affirmation for that special day.
When the stress becomes too much to bear, a little whimsy might be in order. Wedding Dash ($4.99) for the BlackBerry, is a game by the creators of Diner Dash in which you help a young wedding planner navigate the chaos of a wedding day, averting disaster and keeping the bride and groom happy through it all. There's also an iPhone version.
And if you're counting the moments until the big day, check out one of the wedding countdown apps (available for all three platforms) whose sole purpose is to tell you how long you have left to plan and prepare.