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After the question has been popped, and YES is the answer, it's time to start the next step in your wedding journey: planning. Whether you're imagining a small, romantic wedding, or a huge church ceremony with every friend and family member in the address book, there's a lot that goes into planning a wedding.
Maybe you want an exotic getaway destination or a quiet ceremony in a meaningful location for your relationship. Either way, you've got to plan it out, and that can feel overwhelming, no matter the size of your wedding day. Thankfully, there is a wide range of websites offering to take the stress out of that process.
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As one of the free-to-use services on our list, Zola has an amazing user interface with a gamified quiz approach to wedding planning. There are vendor quizzes, guest-list builders, options for free invitation samples, and more.
Wedding advice for the bride or the professional
Zola also offers a wedding website and advice options. You can choose from professional or community advice depending on whether you want to see how the pro wedding planners put things together or if you want to find a couple just like you who made their dream wedding come to life with Zola. The best part is that the site is free. The only payments come through the registry when guests buy items through Zola's interface.
Personalization and quiz-based options
One of the things Zola does well is the gamified approach to personalization. To register, Zola has you complete a quiz that narrows down exactly what you need from wedding planning and guides. The quiz asks about your engagement, wedding dates, the year and season you'd like to get married in, whether you've booked a venue, and you and your intended's names, all before registration. These options help them provide you with personalized recommendations. And it helps eliminate what you don't need help with. If you've already got a venue picked out, you don't need to use that service.
Checklists for everyone
On top of personalized quizzes, Zola has a great checklist system to walk you through everything you need to do and help you manage your time. The checklists are customizable and you can update them to reflect cultural needs and religious traditions. Zola also offers a 5-star-rated app so you can access your checklist from your mobile device and keep on top of your wedding planning at any time.
Zola wedding community
Like most wedding planning guides, Zola has sections on the site where you can look for advice and inspiration. Covering topics as simple as your wedding theme and the attire, to more complex topics like invites and venues, the advice section offers couples a way to cross-reference their plans with other couples and even wedding professionals. With such a large offering of advice blogs and posts from past users, you'll find something to spark your imagination or guide you down the best wedding path on Zola.
Don't use the registry
While Zola is rated in the middle range by consumers (the highest it reached was 3.5 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews), most of the poor reviews about Zola have to do with the places users spend money. The complaints typically refer to issues when purchasing registry items through vendors offered on Zola. However, if you're looking at Zola as a wedding guide and not a place to host your registry, the company does well and provides a free guided service for couples.
Worth saying "I do" with Zola
Zola is a great site if you want a wedding guide combined with useful tools to support your wedding as you move through the different stages of planning. The quizzes and personalized touch to Zola make it stand out from the competition. While their registry option isn't top-rated, the rest of the wedding planning technology and tools merged with professional and community advice makes Zola the most balanced option of guides plus tools to support your wedding from start to finish. For these reasons, Zola makes it to the top spot as the best wedding planning guide.
Wedding Wire is a great option among online wedding guides. The site offers the best of both worlds: comprehensive wedding planning tools and a wide variety of ideas and advice on the Wedding Wire forum. The site offers almost everything that you could want, and their website and app access are completely free of charge.
Competitive tech and tools
When using Wedding Wire, you'll have access to a group of tools that are competitive with other options on our list. The technology tools available to help simplify your wedding include:
When using Wedding Wire, you'll have access to a group of tools that are competitive with other options on our list. The technology tools available to help simplify your wedding include:
Guides and forums for wedding support
For those looking for guides and tips, Wedding Wire has as much wedding inspo as competing websites. The Wedding Wire forums allow you to connect with other wedding planners and couples who are going through the process right now or have just finished their wedding. If you want ideas for your nuptials, you can head over to the ideas tab which covers wedding needs from planning basics, to dress ideas, to information about married life once the ceremony is over. You'll find tons of suggestions, including photos from real weddings.
Mixed reviews for Wedding Wire
Almost half of the reviews for Wedding Wire are 5-star reviews, so they have plenty of happy customers. However, after that, the reviews become decidedly mixed. Overall, Wedding Wire averages about 3 out of 5 stars, and most of the complaints are about vendors and venues that were untrustworthy and Wedding Wire didn't have them removed from lists of recommended vendors.
Vendors are not vetted
Several 1-star reviews noted that the customers were scammed by vendors that they used through Wedding Wire. Customers also noted that Wedding Wire didn't provide any customer service assistance with the issues they reported. While we don't consider these as issues with Wedding Wire itself, we wish they had a better handle on the vendors they recommend.
A good option for a balance of ideas and tools
Wedding Wire is still an excellent choice if you're looking for a one-stop shop for all of your wedding planning needs. However, if you're looking for a place to book venues or vendors, it might be better to look somewhere else. While it doesn't offer personalized quizzes, Wedding Wire does have a full range of tools and a full site and app to support your wedding planning needs. It's a decent choice for a wedding guide, and provides a range of inspiration options and active forums. For all these reasons, Wedding Wire earns high marks in our review.
One Fab Day is a blog-style site that provides comprehensive bridal-focused guides to get you through your big day, no matter how you want to plan it. While it may be lacking in tools or technology, it's still a good source of planning information.
The Ultimate Wedding Checklist
Advertised as the Ultimate Wedding Checklist, it offers a variety of guides, idea blogs, and inspiration pages covering every topic of a wedding you might be worried about. While the site doesn't offer wedding planning tools per se, it does offer tons of insight into the different aspects of weddings. As a blog-style site, the entire experience is free of charge, and there's no requirement to sign up for One Fab Day either.
All guides, all the time
If you're looking for ideas and guides, One Fab Day has got you covered. Some of the topics you can find on One Fab Day include:
From bands to play at your wedding, to city guides for an exotic honeymoon, the blog pages on One Fab Day are full of details to support your wedding day, and with the search feature on the website, you can look for specific options to cherry pick and design your ideal dream wedding from the ground up.
Real weddings with real couples
One of the best features of One Fab Day is the "Real Weddings" section of the site. You can find wedding inspiration for "mature" couples, LGBTQ+ couples, weddings by seasons, or even real weddings from different cultural backgrounds. The blog posts for each wedding type showcase photos from the day of as well as details for the proposals, venue details, make-up looks, and even the shoes the bride is wearing. No detail is too small, so if you want to know exactly how the wedding worked and how to model your wedding after a successful "I do" , One Fab Day has as many options as there are couples to look at for inspiration.
Not a lot of chatter, but the resources are great
There aren't a lot of reviews outside of the One Fab Day site, but as a completely free website there isn't a lot of worry about products or pricing vs. value. While there also isn't much space to discuss personal questions, like on a site with a forum, there is a Facebook page for One Fab Day which allows users to discuss the contents of the blogs more openly.
Most complete wedding guide, but no tools
This site focuses on being a wedding guide through and through. However, if you're looking for a site that will also help you with the toolkits and management of your wedding planning, One Fab Day isn't going to be the one for you. The guides, ideas, and lists of wedding rings, venues, and options are extremely comprehensive, but the site doesn't offer any toolkit to integrate learning with creating that beautiful wedding. Based on this, we have to rate One Fab Day a little lower than the top choice, but as a completely free resource for wedding materials and ideas, we highly recommend you check it out.
Here Comes the Guide was originally founded in 1989 when Lynn Broadwell was planning her wedding and couldn't find any key resources. This site is woman-owned and woman-operated and doesn't rely on commissions.
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The content at Here Comes the Guide is curated and displayed as a blog-style database. They are 100% focused on helping you with your wedding - there are no partnerships or money-related referrals. To use My Guide you need to sign up for an email membership, which gives you tips and discounts for wedding venues and vendors to your inbox. All of the services with Here Comes the Guide are completely free of charge.
Venues, vendors, and pre-built checklists
Here Comes the Guide offers a variety of services including:
With all these options, Here Comes the Guide also provides links to hotels that will give you a deal on room blocks for your guests, along with rehearsal dinner venues.
Real wedding examples to help you build yours
One of the things we liked about Here Comes the Guide was the "Real Weddings" section of Ideas and Lists. On this section of the site, you can take a look at wedding styles and ideas you might be interested in and see how real brides and grooms made it work. Whether you're looking for a beach wedding, a church, or a forest getaway, there are options on Here Comes the Guide to help you figure out the details of a specific wedding idea based on couples who have already done it.
Not so high-tech
Unfortunately, Here Comes the Guide doesn't have some of the tech tools offered by other options in our review. They don't have an app or tools to manage your wedding in real time like guest lists or registries. Here Comes the Guide is best for getting those initial ideas for your wedding and implementation. However, in-process management tools aren't their specialty. If you want those options, you'll have to use Here Comes the Guide in conjunction with other wedding tools, or switch to another guide option entirely.
Almost no customer reviews
Here Comes the Guide has a consumer rating of 4.25 stars and ranks 21st among Wedding Planning sites, according to SiteJabber. However, the guide site isn't frequently reviewed by users, so consider the rating with the fact that fewer than 10 consumer reviews are available for the site. Since it's free, however, you're not losing out on anything but time by checking out the Here Comes the Guide site.
Great first stop, but not comprehensive enough for all weddings
This free blog-style database site has a chill and friendly approach to wedding planning. Here Comes the Guide is a solid resource; however, it doesn't provide any management tools to help with the day-to-day minutiae of planning a wedding. With very few customer reviews, it's hard to say how helpful couples found the site, but as a first stop to check out ideas and start building the big picture of your wedding, Here Comes the Guide is a great free resource. However, if you want something that includes wedding tools, you'll have to check out some of the higher rated options in our rankings.
Wedding Planning Assistant is an online website tool that offers free wedding coordination across multiple devices. It is a tool-oriented, free service that focuses on taking care of all of the minutiae of wedding planning in one place. However, if you're looking for help options and guides, Wedding Planning Assistant might not be your first choice.
What the tool lets you do
In general, Wedding Planning Assistant is an ideal tool for couples looking to manage the entire event in one place complete with:
However, the toolkit doesn't offer any guides or how-tos if you're looking for a more in-depth information and inspiration site.
Everything about Wedding Planning Assistant is focused on technology. The site uses safe cloud storage systems to connect you and your guests to all the online tools you need. The goal of Wedding Planning Assistant is to integrate every step from design to venue choice in one place where you can work with it anywhere.
No sign up required
One of the things we liked best about Wedding Planning Assistant is that you don't have to sign up or create a user to join the platform. Anyone can start a new project and begin interfacing with friends and family. This site makes it easy to delegate tasks for wedding planning across different members of your wedding party. So, if you're looking for a way to task-manage and take some of the stress off your shoulders, Wedding Planning Assistant is a great place to get started.
Tools are great, but we're missing advice
According to review sites, Wedding Planning Assistant is all you need to plan your wedding. The site is a one-stop shop. With a 4.5 out of 5 stars average, customers like using the service. However, if you're looking for a more information-focused wedding guide site, Wedding Planning Assistant isn't the one for you. This site focuses on task management rather than wedding learning and idea-grabbing. So if you're looking for something more suited to ground-up work, you might want to look somewhere else.
Good stop for tech tools
For a free app, Wedding Planning Assistant has an amazing toolset, and users are excited about how easy the tech is to use. However, if you're looking for something more than task management and planning tools, such as a little more in-depth guide or advice for your wedding that makes the process more personal, Wedding Planning Assistant might not be the ideal stop. If you like the planning tools, but still want more guides, we might recommend using Wedding Planning Assistant in conjunction with one of our top picks in this review. However, despite its lack of guide materials, this wedding planning site is the top spot for tech-based resources, so it's still fairly high on our list.
The Knot is a free wedding planning site that supports your big day from step one. From wedding quizzes to guide you through planning your theme to style guides that help you pick your dress or ring, The Knot has collected everything for you, and the stuff they don't do (like hotel bookings) is offered through linked partnerships they have with services like HotelPlanner.
Similar to other options we reviewed, The Knot offers a place to design a wedding website. Intended to help you and your guests track your wedding as it moves toward the big day, The Knot is a dream for the design-focused couple. The Knot's wedding website lets you match up everything: your website, your wedding, and the invitations can all match in one cohesive style. If you're looking for a free place to explore what your wedding might look like, The Knot is a great first stop to get ideas.
Ideas and advice all the way through
One of the things we liked about The Knot as a wedding planning guide is that they have a dedicated section on their site called "Ideas and Advice" . This section provides a database of information from real brides, grooms, and guests on what they suggest or what they did for their wedding. Some of the topics include:
These advice pages cover a range of topics and perspectives, so you can see if a couple like you might fit in with the suggestions provided by The Knot.
The couples aren't so happy
Unfortunately, outside of the reviews on The Knot's website, most site users seem pretty unhappy. Both couples and wedding professionals complain about the lack of professionalism from The Knot. With respect to the venue and vendor suggestions, reviewers note that it costs more to book through The Knot than to go directly to the provider. The Knot averages 2-3 stars out of 5 no matter where you look, with couples saying that wedding vendors offered by The Knot are perhaps providing false reviews to seem more legitimate.
Good for guides, but not for hiring vendors
While free sounds great, sometimes you get what you (don't) pay for. As a wedding planning guide, The Knot is an amazing free tool to help kickstart and manage your wedding. If design is important to you, The Knot is worth checking out. However, if you're looking for a trustworthy place to book venues and vendors, reviewers of The Knot say to stay away. Overall, this wedding planning guide is great for idea generation, but when it comes to spending money on venues and hotels, you might find yourself paying extra if you go through The Knot.
Joy is a free online website designer created to help you centralize (and digitize) all your wedding planning needs. Joy utilizes a mobile app, integrated invitations, RSVPs, and guest lists, to help couples manage all the moving human parts of a wedding. However, as a guide for your wedding, it's not as helpful. While there is a blog option to look through some of the basics of wedding ideas, the goal of Joy is to give you a way to manage the wedding digitally.
A wedding website that's your design
The way that Joy helps you pull your wedding together is by building and hosting your wedding site. The site is constructed with templates and is customizable to create an online space that looks like your wedding. On the site, Joy integrates elements of wedding planning to centralize the process for you. These tools include:
Along with the mobile app, which helps you manage wedding details on the go, Joy does the work to create an online-centered space to put together the wedding of your dreams.
Easy to invite and track guests
One of the strengths of Joy is that it's guest-focused. Joy offers a guest list for the couple, but the guests can also use the "Find a Couple" feature to look up the wedding they're going to attend. Joy's guest features allow couples to send invitations directly from the custom wedding website and manage RSVPs, so you can track who's coming and who's not.
Streamlined but frustrating
Overall, the site is streamlined and tool-focused. However, there are concerns from reviewers who note that the customer service and user interface are "difficult to deal with." While you might not be surprised that a free website doesn't have the best customer support, it is important when choosing your wedding guide to make sure that it will make your wedding stress-free, not more stressful. Many couples gave up on Joy and managed their wedding elsewhere.
Does it spark Joy?
For a free tool, Joy is better than we expected. Despite complaints about loading times, bad customer service, and difficulty with the user interface, Joy is a decent option if tools are the main focus for your wedding and you don't want to break the budget. But for the best wedding guides with more features and more helpful tips on putting your wedding together, you might want to look at our higher-rated services.
LadyMarry is an online wedding planning site designed by self-proclaimed geeky and romantic owners. It's presented as project management software that was designed to streamline the wedding planning experience - but it's light on wedding advice or support.
Focus on the tool
LadyMarry focuses on wedding planning technology tools like checklists, vendor lists, and organizing and tracking software. However, it doesn't add much beyond the tool itself. The site's only guide and idea-generating content is its blog which, unfortunately, at the time of this review, wasn't working on the site.
Can't get access to anything without an account
To get started with LadyMarry, you have to make an account right away. Then you get access to their planning software. The site promises that you'll have a personalized wedding checklist in 3 seconds and then you're ready to get working on your wedding. You also get access to their "all-in-one mobile experience" which helps you track your wedding and all its moving parts on the go. One of the best things about this technology is that, like many competitors, it promotes connectivity and collaboration throughout the wedding party.
Decent reviews, but not many of them
LadyMarry doesn't have a lot of reviews for it yet, but the available ones are positive. LadyMarry has a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews. However, these reviews are from 24 individual reviewers, so there isn't a lot of customer feedback for LadyMarry yet. Users noted that they liked the app and that it was well-designed technology.
Positive reviews for managing large-scale events
Some of the customers were designing corporate weddings and large-scale events and noted that as management technology LadyMarry helped them through the process. Still, there aren't any resources on the site yet for guides, information, and ideas. So, if you're looking for the best wedding guide, this site isn't it.
Good tech, but it isn't a guide
LadyMarry is a great stop for a wedding planning and management tool, however, if you're looking for wedding guides and resources to help you through the questions that might pop up while designing or planning your wedding LadyMarry just doesn't have the resources to help at the moment. While there is a blog on the site, it wasn't working at the time of this review. With other sites out there that offer more comprehensive wedding options as an Online Wedding Guide, we can't recommend LadyMarry.
Online wedding planning guides can recommend vendors like photographers and caterers in your area as well as help you keep track of the event in calendar software. The best wedding planning guides include an array of tools for managing guest lists, RSVPs, budgets, and to-do lists - usually through a convenient app that you can access anytime, anywhere.
The best thing about online wedding planning guides is that the good ones will also give you access to advice and feedback from couples who've already tied the knot. Whether you're thinking of an on-the-beach wedding or a woodland experience to live out your childhood wedding dreams, you can get practical tips from people who've already tried those Pinterest-perfect weddings.
From ideas for keeping your guests from getting sunburned during the ceremony to setting up heating units to keep the wedding party warm at a winter reception, you can see how other couples made it work. You can even get tips on those tricky family members: who to invite, whether to allow kids and the best way to word wedding invitations. Most of these wedding planning guides have in-depth advice and answers to guide you.
You've got a lot of work to do, and a lot to decide on. So, how can you pick the best wedding planning guide on top of everything else you've got going on? Here are several factors to keep in mind as you and your significant other consider how to find the best support for planning your big day:
To help you make your special day a little easier, Top Consumer Reviews has reviewed and ranked the best Wedding Planning Guides available today. We hope this information helps you simplify your planning process and bring your dream wedding to life!
Statistics show that more than ever, couples are utilizing the services of wedding planners to help with the big day. Generally, brides and grooms are choosing to wait until they are older to get married. Statistics also show that couples are busier with their career and other life obligations. This, combined with the fact that weddings are becoming even more lavish than ever, means that wedding planners are playing a much greater role than before.
Traditionally a wedding planner would assist on the rehearsal night and on the day of the wedding. They would make sure everyone in the wedding party knew what to do and were on time to do it. No longer! Depending upon the bride and groom, wedding planners can be involved in everything from planning the bachelor and bridal parties to the honeymoon. Wedding planners can also be responsible for hiring the band, videographer, invitations, photographer, ordering the flowers, coordinating transportation and hotel for guests. This is just a small sample of some of the wedding planners responsibilities!
So how does a couple go about hiring a great wedding planner? Three keys things to look for in a wedding planner are experience, reputation and a calm disposition.
Now that wedding planners have a much greater responsibility in planning the big day, it is crucial that the bride and groom choose the right one. Look for experience, reputation and calm disposition and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful wedding experience.
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