Encore Blog

Which Online Wedding Planning Tools Should You Use?

When you first type the words ‘how to plan a wedding’ into Google, the results are overwhelming. From magazine articles to blogs to individual vendors selling their services, there’s no shortage of advice out there. And online wedding planning tools are there among the search results: websites and apps that promise to make your planning process easy, and your wedding day perfect.

But with so many on offer, how do you know which ones are worth signing up for and which ones will do nothing more than fill your inbox with junk mail? Encore Musicians has your wedding music covered — but with our experience in the industry, we’re savvy about the other elements of your celebration too.

So here’s our review of the UK’s 5 most popular online wedding planning tools, rated out of 10 so you can see which ones we think will make your life easier.

Encore Review the UK’s Top Wedding Planning sites and tools

Hitched

Hitched - Rated 10/10 by Encore

Encore’s rating: 10/10

Available on the web. Free app My Wedding By Hitched also available on iTunes.

Hitched is an elegantly designed web-based planning tool which covers…well, pretty much everything involved in a wedding day. The planning system is smoothly integrated with an online marketplace where you can find recommended suppliers all around the UK — it’s a one-stop-shop to find your wedding venue, dress, flowers, cake, cars, stationary, photographers, decorators…and much more. It can even find someone to help the Groom write his speech.

Planning Tools

The wedding planning interface is slick and organised. It includes:

  • To-do list
  • Budget planner
  • ‘Suppliers Saved’ list, which you can add to with one click when you’re scrolling through the extensive marketplace
  • ‘Ideas Saved’ list, where you can pin snippets of inspiration and beautiful images from the site’s in depth catalogue of wedding ideas
  • RSVP list
  • Seating planner

All of these tabs are easy to flick between and simple to edit, and tied together with your very own Wedding Summary to remind you of all the plans you’ve made so far. Hitched is brilliant if you want to avoid being overwhelmed by confusing lists and spreadsheets — you can keep everything in one place and your list of suppliers and service-providers will link directly to them.

It’s especially useful if budgets are not your area of expertise: when you sign up you enter your overall budget. Then the Hitched budget tool breaks it down into suggested costs for each area of your wedding day — for example, allocating funds to your dress, your caterers, and your venue. You can then easily use those budget guidelines when you’re looking for vendors.

Ideas & Inspiration

Hitched has an Inspiration drop-down menu with a huge gallery of photographs to inspire you as you refine the details of your big day, and help you figure out what kind of style and atmosphere you want to create at your wedding ceremony and reception. The image galleries are split into categories and themes (we’re loving the Autumn Wedding gallery right now!).

To the right of the Inspiration menu there’s a list of articles arranged by category, too — you can read expert advice on wording your wedding invites; whether or not your parents should help out with your budget; and how to create the perfect rustic wedding bouquet.

The website also has a forum on which you can chat with fellow brides and grooms, and with a community of professional wedding planners, about your questions and concerns.

Spam Review

In the first couple of weeks after signing up, Hitched will send you a series of welcome emails — but they’re actually really useful. They’re tailored to you and they’re full of handy tips and recommendations. If you don’t want emails, it’s easy to head to your Account Settings and switch them off.

UKBride

Encore’s rating: 6/10

Available as an app on IOS and Android, and on the web.

UKBride is a little clunkier and its aesthetic doesn’t exactly create a sense of calm serenity. With lots of capital letters and a panic-inducing live countdown clock, it is not the zen master of online wedding planners. Nonetheless, it has loads of useful tools for planning your wedding, and an extensive list of suppliers to equip you with anything you might need — from your wedding night lingerie to a mobile bar.

Planning Tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

The platform’s planning tools include:

  • Guest List
  • Table Planner
  • Scrapbook
  • Diary
  • Budget Planner
  • To-Do List
  • Suppliers List
  • Photo Gallery
  • Quotes & Brochure Requests

There’s a lot there — but the organisation of it all doesn’t feel entirely logical or smooth, and there’s overlap between some of the tools which can leave you feeling unsure whether you’re using it right.

Ideas & Inspiration

We love UKBride TV. It the platform’s extensive collection of beautiful, real wedding videos which give you a genuine insight into what a wedding can look and feel like. It’s easy to spend hours viewing them…and be prepared to shed an emotional tear if you do.

There’s also an active forum where brides connect and discuss their weddings. In fact, this wedding planning platform sells itself as the social media platform for UK brides. The website’s blog is regularly updated with new articles, but they’re hit and miss — some are really useful and informative.

Spam Review

UKBride asks for your home address on sign up. We’re not entirely sure why — nothing’s come through the post yet, but we have a feeling that wedding-related mail might be landing on our doorsteps soon.

Your personal data will be shared with numerous venues, photographers, caterers, etc., many of whom will email or call you directly. The process of taking yourself off all these lists will be long.

Bridebook

Encore’s rating: 8/10

Available as an app on IOS and Android, and on the web.

Bridebook has a simple, modern interface which has been intuitively designed to support the natural flow of planning a wedding. With a straightforward and interactive search function, you can filter through the depths of an impressive catalogue of vendors near you. It’s well organised and easy to use. The whole thing has a kind of humble confidence which makes you feel like maybe this wedding planning business isn’t going to be so scary, after all…

Planning Tools

Once you’ve signed up, you meet the Bridebook search tool: a drop down menu of categories, including venues, transport and hair & make up, which you can apply a wide array of filters to in order to narrow down your choice of services and suppliers.

Head back to your personal Bridebook homepage and you’ll find a thoughtfully put together range if tools to make wedding planning a breeze. These include:

  • Guestlist
  • Budget
  • Checklist
  • Directory of Suppliers with simple ways to contact and shortlist them

This platform doesn’t have quite such an in depth overview of planning tools, and you’ll probably find that you need back up in the form of your own spreadsheets. It won’t do everything. But the Wedding Summary feature offers a handy overview of everything you’ve booked or shortlisted to date, and the overall user experience is good.

Each tool comes with an instructional video — for example, when you open the Wedding Checklist tab you can choose to watch how the checklist works. It’s worth watching all of these videos before you get started with the service, because there are lots of nice little features that you might miss otherwise.

The Wedding Budget tool is very well designed. An algorithm allocates funds from your overall budget to different parts of your wedding, based on a combination of your preferences and data from thousands of other couple’s weddings. You can add notes and quotes to each budget entry, and manually adjust the algorithm’s results to suit your reality!

You can use Bridebook on your laptop, tablet or phone — and when you save items or make changes, the system will instantly sync on all devices.

Ideas & Inspiration

Bridebook’s ‘Advice’ tab takes you straight to a library of hundreds of blog posts written by expert wedding planners. You can find budget breakdowns; venue tips; ideas for alternative weddings; and decision-making advice, amongst loads of other original articles which will give you fresh perspective on how to get exactly what you want from you dream wedding day.

Again, the inspiration and ideas available here aren’t as extensive as on other platforms. But the inspiration that is available is of high quality — which makes up for the lower quantity.

Spam Review

Bridebook does quite well in the spam department. The emails you’ll received are personalised to you, and from a named member of the Bridebook team — which is nice. They won’t overwhelm you with offers and ads; but they send sensitively written newsletters with useful information and links to articles and services which could be instrumental to you as you go about preparing for your marriage. It’s very easy to adjust your email preference settings, or to unsubscribe completely.

 

The Best Of The Rest

Wedding Planner

Encore’s rating: 7/10

A nice planning platform, well designed with useful tools and not too spammy; but does have a smaller library of suppliers than some.

 

Confetti

Encore’s rating: 6/10

Less pleasing to the eye than our favourite wedding planning tools, this one does have some straightforward lists and planners to help you prepare for your day — and we love the Wedding Q&A section, too.

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Barri Coen

Barri Coen

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