(photo via http://www.appycouple.com)

Let’s face it, these days most of us use our smart devices in nearly every area of our lives. We have apps for finding directions, choosing a restaurant, banking, shopping, and so much more. It’s only logical that there are apps to help design, organize and plan a wedding.

Obviously the use of a planning app can’t take the place of a planner, just as guests who Instagram wedding photos do not eliminate the need for a photographer! But these apps can help busy couples with self-organization, to-do lists, budgeting, inspiration and lots more! Many also allow for virtual connection (via e-mail, Dropbox, Facebook, etc.) to easily share ideas and information with vendors, family, guests and of course, your partner-in-crime (a.k.a. your fiance).

There are quite a few useful apps available, so with some surveying, research and testing, I’ve compiled a list of the ones I felt were most worth checking out.

1) Wedding Happy: Think your classic ‘wedding binder’ digitalized. With a place for just about everything, Wedding Happy makes it impossible to miss a beat in your wedding planning. Organize all tasks wedding related – budget, scheduling, meetings, contacts, and more. Wedding Happy sends you notifications when tasks are due and allows users to send e-mails from within to vendors, wedding party members, etc. Personally, I like it’s clutter-free (and non-girly) interface and the ability to use it when not online (Hello, tackling tasks on the subway!).

2) Wedding 911 by The Knot: An interactive app where users can post their wedding planning questions and receive instant responses. You can also search it’s FAQs to see what The Knot’s experts have to say. It’s described as your ‘go to source for wedding planning advice,’ and I would agree. Users can also scroll through questions asked by others, sharing their own knowledge and experiences. The one thing I didn’t like, it’s not gender-neutral. This app is geared towards ‘brides-to-be’ and ‘brides-to-be’ alone.

3) The Seating Planner +: This nifty, award-winning app ($4.99) helps users create a virtual seating chart which can be exported as a PDF and printed. While the name might not suggest it, The Seating Planner will also keep track of your RSVPs, while allowing you to make notes about individual guests (i.e special meal requirements). Creating your guest list is simple, just import your contacts from Facebook or your iPhone address book. Then, with a drag and drop function, you can place them at tables, rearranging till you’re satisfied!

4) The Ultimate Wedding Planner: This free iPad app is a great resource for on-the-go friendly and honest information for engaged couples. Key features include style ideas, current wedding trends, great photo tips, nuptial know-how, and even honey moon planning tips. The Ultimate Wedding Planner has a magazine feel (see screen shots below) and serves more for inspiration and advice than an actual ‘planner,’ but the planning features it does include (i.e. worksheets, budget calculator, customizable wedding day schedule) are definitely useful tools.

5) Wedding Registry: I won’t lie, the capablities of this app totally overwhelmed me (in the best way possible). Wedding Registry eliminates the need to create a separate bridal registry at every store you like. When out shopping, scan the barcode of any item, in any store, and the app adds it to a cloud-based registry that your guests can access. Your entries are sorted and categorized, and include all of the important information, such as description, price, quantity and store name. Don’t have the time (or desire) to shop? Place the “Add To Wedding Registry Button” in your browser’s Favorites bar to add items directly from any website on the Internet. And if this all isn’t awesome enough for you, users can take the next step and make things completely goof-proof for guests, by manually editing registry items to include comments such as size or color preference, and even photos. I know, right?!

6) Wedding Budget: Budgeting is often a major challenge for couples planning a wedding, so having a dedicated (and free!) app for this particular area alone will definitely a useful tool for many. Wedding Budget is designed to simplify the tracking of wedding-related expenses. It includes a pre-defined, but customizable, budget list to help couples get started. From there, users can track each budget by recording expenses and payments made, giving a clear visual of over/under budget status and allowing for adjustments within each.

7) Appy Couple: Prepare to have your mind blown, tech savvy couples! Appy Couple is essentially a wedding website in the form of a stylish and completely customized app. I could probably have written an entire blog on this app alone, but the short of it is: You build your custom wedding app online following their tutorials and using a wide variety of templates. It is then offered in the App Store or Android Market for guests to download (for free) as a guide to all things surrounding your wedding. Worried about guests without a smart phone? Don’t be, it comes with an accompanying website as well! At the moment its use is by invite only, so visit their website to request an invite code!

8) Pinterest: I know that Pinterest is not a ‘wedding planning’ app, per say, but it is the ultimate in inspiration boards! I recommend creating an individual board for every aspect of your wedding (i.e. colors, flowers, bridesmaids, invites, florals, cakes, accessories, favors, etc.) to stay extra organized. Don’t forget to share your boards with your vendors – we like it!

9) Instagram: Again, not a wedding app, but I see more and more people joining in on the art of Instagramming each day. So how do you make it wedding specific? Create a unique hashtag for your wedding (i.e. #KaylaandDan2012) and spread the word among your guests (you can even include it in your programs)! As they edit and upload their captures via Instagram, marking them with a pre-determined hashtag will keep shots grouped together, for easy viewing, commenting and interaction. Obviously you don’t want any spoilers, such as posting the bride in her dress before the groom has seen her, but once ceremony and reception have begun, people should feel free Instagram away!

Loving a wedding app I’ve missed? Please feel free to comment!