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Wedding Planning Software

Wedding Planning Software
By Kim D Roberts

Efficiently managing the tasks that need to be done for a wedding is essential for the overall success of the event. Turning your dream wedding into reality requires organizational skills and a lot of time. Fortunately, now there is a tool available that can help simplify the process and save time, wedding planning software for your PC.

There are several wedding planning software programs available on the market today. Most of the programs help you organize everything from your engagement announcement to your honeymoon plans. The decision to use a software program to help you plan your wedding may be the best decision you could make.

Before shopping for a wedding planning software program, you should first identify the key features that you feel will benefit you the most. Everyone buys a planning program for a different reason - creating a budget, maintaining your guest list, printing envelopes or tracking gifts - so as you evaluate programs, it is important to ensure that it will do everything you need.

All wedding planning software programs cover the same basic features, but there are differences in how the information is entered. User interface and program design are two of the most important criteria to consider. A program should mimic the steps that are typically used to plan a wedding and should be organized as such. As you look at the software or the screens, visualize in your mind walking through the entire process and make sure that the steps and the flow make sense.

Planning a wedding involves two main processes: tracking your guests and selecting vendors. The process of tracking your guests includes creating a master guest list, inviting the guests to the appropriate parties, tracking RSVPs for the parties and tracking the gifts received at each party. The process of selecting a vendor includes creating a budget, entering vendor estimates, comparing vendor estimates, and selecting a vendor that meets your needs and your budget.

When entering guest information, you need to track the following information: main guest (title, formal first name and casual first name), the spouse/guest of the main guest, children of guest, who invited the guest and the role of the guest. One feature that only some of the programs offer is the ability to track family members individually. This is important if you want to be able to invite the wife to a shower as Jane Doe, instead of Mrs. John Doe. Most packages allow you to print either envelopes or labels from your guest list. This will save you hours in completing invitation lists for the calligrapher or in personally addressing your envelopes.

After creating your master guest list, you then decide to which parties each guest should be invited. Some programs have you select from a fixed list of parties as you enter each guest. Other programs allow you to add your own parties (as many as you need) and then select from your master guest list the guests that are invited to each party.

All programs allow you to track RSVPs. It is important to be able to track the RSVPs for each party, not just for the ceremony and reception. Some offer the added benefit of being able to track guest arrival information, accommodations and departure information.

Keeping track of gifts and thank you notes is another feature of wedding planning software programs. You should be able to enter a description of each gift, the date received, the store from which they purchased the gift, whether or not the gift needs to be returned and if a thank you has been sent. Keeping track of your gifts and thank you notes is an enormous, but very important part of your wedding. Software can make this extremely easy.

Whether your wedding is large or small, setting a budget and sticking to it can be the hardest thing to do when planning a wedding. Wedding expenses will add up quickly, so it makes sense to determine what you are willing to pay for the services you want. Wedding planning software programs help you setup your budget and track expenses. Some programs offer worksheets to assist you in setting up your budget which can be extremely useful if you have never done this before and don't know what to expect. You should look for a program that offers more than just a spreadsheet that you have to fill in. In addition, you should be able to track tax and gratuity, otherwise you may be in for a surprise later.

Once you have determined your budget and started calling on vendors, wedding planning software can help you keep track of your vendors and perform comparisons to assist in the vendor selection process. The program should allow you to enter the estimates and important payment information for each vendor that you evaluate and compare the estimates side by side next to your budget to determine which one meets your needs and budget.

Other features to look for in a wedding planning software program are: checklists, schedules, newspaper announcements, table assignments for parties, music selections and wedding planning tips.

Finally, probably the most important test of any software package is the reports. If you spend months entering data into a computer, you should make sure that you can get reports of the information, in a format that you can use. If you need the software to print envelopes, labels or an address list for the calligrapher, review copies of these items before you select a program to use. If these things are important to you, be sure to look for the ability to: print inner envelopes, print individual guest names (wife separately from the husband), children, labels, multiple line addresses, complete state names (not just two letter abbreviations), and international addresses.

Regardless of the size or style of your wedding, there is a software program available to help. It is important to shop for a wedding planning software program that best suits your needs because not all programs offer all of the features discussed. Wedding planning software programs range between $30.00 and $74.00. Good Luck!

Kim Roberts

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