What a great world we live in, an app or platform for everything! As a planner, I rely on apps and digital libraries to keep me on track--if you are planning your own wedding, you'll (hopefully) discover some tools I use all the time that can help you. If you're a planner, compare your own tools and resources to the one's I prefer. I always love hearing feedback about new tools and companies making event planning, organization and streamlining easier! I recently participated in a business survey: 5 days of questions geared at apps and tools used for business. Blog post prompted: Here are the top 10 platforms I use on a weekly basis as a wedding planner.
What: Pixelmator is a free app that accomplishes the same goals as an Abode Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator and arguably InDesign).
Why: I had paid a premium for Adobe Suite for years, with the assumption that there wasn't a "knock off" that was effective enough to do the same work. I was wrong. If you need to make custom printable signs, graphic design projects, edit photos, custom PDFs, image boards, etc. This program does the trick. If you are familiar with Photoshop of Illustrator, the tools are the same—there hasn't been a moment where I am stuck in a rut because I use Pixelmator over Adobe. Sorry, Adobe, I still love you!
9) Apartment Therapy
What: Interior Design and DIY website
Why: Okay, no, it's not wedding related, but it is relevant. I get weary of wedding blogs and forums; they can be repetitive, trendy and at times uninspiring (as I write on my own wedding blog, smh)... Often, I need some kind of inspiration or guidance that can loosely be applied to weddings: cue Interior Design. Apartment Therapy is rich with unique and creative imagery, ideas and projects that I love to fit into weddings. And if you find no wedding help there, you'll probably learn about a new house plant, DIY project or life hack product.
8) CoCo by Venue Report
What: A program that finds hotels that fit your preferences and date, then gathers quotes and contacts for your wedding lodging blocks.
Why: I struggled to find an effective way to get my clients the best deals on room blocks. This platform has made it so easy! I enter my preferences, and wishing a few days I have multiple quotes and offers to work with, it's pretty magical. Customer service behind the wheel is incredible—someone always follows up with me to make sure I found a good option.
What: Stationary source from Save the Dates to Table Numbers + Wedding Websites
Why: Minted is a force, I recognize that, but I do think they deserve it. As a planner, you can apply for the wedding professional program and gain some great perks and savings for clients. But the real reason why I love them is their selection, modern aesthetic and they are always a crowd pleaser. I use Minted to build Save the Dates for my Full Service clients, then build a coordinated website in their platform with a free promo. + you can use a custom domain. Honestly, no one wants to print "www.johnandjane.someoneelse.com/weddings" on an invitation. Is that just me?
What: Image collection and visual boards
Why: All of my clients have a Pinterest, all of them. It's one of the first things I ask them to do, "please share your Pinterest with me". It's a great resource to gather a general idea of what your client is looking for, or find some particularly produced or "Pinterest-y" ideas. I have a lot of reservations with Pinterest (maybe a topic for another post) but I use it enough for it to be featured on this list, so, thank you Pinterest for your help & concept.
What: Online shop for handmade, unique & boutique items
Why: I have too many good things to say about Etsy. My main use is printable templates: escort cards, table numbers, seating charts and other signage. I used to do this all from scratch (see Pixelmator item #10) but the quality and user-frindliness of Etsy templates is incredible. I have a collection of about 10 templates I use all the time, and find it so helpful to have different styles on hand for different clients. Plug in content, send to printer and cut. It save so much time, and offers beautiful final products. In addition, I often send clients here to get wedding favors: custom matchbooks, coffee bags and bottle openers are some of my favorites. I also send clients to get guest books here. If you have a better place to get a custom guest book, I challenge you, but I think this is it! To summarize here is a list of what to get at Etsy for your wedding:
What: An open music source with ready-made playlists, collaboration options and playlist sharing
Why: I've been a Spotify subscriber for at least 5 years, and always need it. When you're thinking of "that song" and you pull it up on YouTube and then are saving a URL, it's just not conducive to creating a playlist of specific selections. Spotify allows you to search and listen to almost anything, that's just not terribly common. And when you do create that list of a few of your choices, Spotify will create a list of recommendations for you based on your taste. Truly, I think this is is helpful for any and everybody making a music playlist for parts of their wedding—it's how I did mine! If you don't know where to start, just search "Wedding Party Playlist" and you are off to the races.
3) Google Drive
What: A web-based document storage and sharing space
Why: I use multiple devices throughout the day, and it's a blessing to be able to pull them up and Air Print from my laptop, phone or iPad on the go. My planning system is based around a series of what I would describe as academically inspired forms; I use them everyday, and need access to them all the time. Google Drive does that. I also use Google Sheets to keep track of my business cash flow each month which is crucial for myself as a Sole Proprietor in an emerging, small business. I recommend new planners have a basic cash flow projection for the coming year, updated each month. I will make a blog post of my formula in posts to come!
2) All Seated
What: The premier event-driven floor plan platform
Why: I use All Seated to draw and plan reception and ceremony floor plans for most of my clients. It's also popular enough that many of the venues I work with already have an All Seated floor plan which can be manipulated per client. If not, I draw them from scratch, or, All Seated can take sketches or rendering and turn them into scale drawing to use over and over. Plug in you guests and assign seating directly in the floor plan, or go a step further and create detailed 3D renderings of your tablescapes.
1) Aisle Planner
What: Full service wedding planning software
Why: I don't know what I would do without Aisle Planner. This is the BEST wedding CRM (customer relations management) platform available. Track your leads: this is essential, a place to log and track the progression of leads from inquiry to completion. It's a place that can be branded as your business, and your clients will find it impressive. Collaborate on a timeline, calendar, budget, guest manager, contacts list, design space, notes page, website and more with your clients. + make all of your quotes, contracts and invoices in the space space. Electronic signature, payments and communication—what else could you want? Aisle Planner is working on a simple floor plan software witch, I think, would be a game changer for the company. At any rate, this is invaluable to my clients and my process.
Kara is a wedding planner, coordinator and event stylist in Portland, OR, Proprietor of Yours, Always.