Young woman smiling while holding her phone © iStock

Between work and taking care of their 4-year-old, Felicia Velez and her fiance, Victor, don’t have a lot of time for wedding planning.

But with 1 tool, Velez, 30, has been able to get the details for her September wedding, an elegant San Diego affair for 160 guests, planned easily: her smartphone.

Velez says she used about a dozen apps to organize the affair, including:

  • Google Docs to make her guest list.
  • Skype to chat with vendors.
  • WeddingHappy to keep track of addresses, phone number and notes on each vendor.
  • iWedPlanner to make a wedding checklist.
  • WedStyle to browse through photos and keep up with the latest wedding trends.

“Instead of having to spend hours researching at home, I was able to just go on the app on the go,” Velez says. “It’s been really helpful, to be honest.”

And Velez is not alone.

The move to mobile

A July 2015 industry report from WeddingWire, an online marketplace, found that couples spend about 30% of their time planning their wedding from a tablet or mobile device and that 1 in 4 couples uses at least 2 apps for wedding planning, inspiration, organization or connecting with other couples.

“I think people are using mobile devices for everything these days, so it’s a natural progression that people are going to be using their phones for wedding planning,” says Kim Forrest, WeddingWire editor. “Your phone has become your portal to everything.”

That’s why wedding planning websites like The Knot, WeddingWire and Loverly have suites of wedding planning apps for couples to download and help manage plans for the big day.

Brides can make a checklist, manage their budget, find inspiration and search for vendors all in 1 place.

How wedding planning has gone mobile © Bigstock

Saving time

When Forrest got married 5 years ago, she still bought heavy planning binders, cut pictures out of magazines and took them all to her vendors to show them what she liked.

“Now you can just find what you like on an app (and) send it directly to your florist,” she says. “It’s not only saving you money, but it’s saving you time and helping you be more organized with everything in the palm of your hand.”

Forrest says when she visited a wedding vendor, she would have to remember what she wanted to share with her friends or parents later. Now brides take photos, text or even video chat to share the experience almost instantaneously.

According to the WeddingWire report, when visiting a wedding vendor for a tour or meeting, 60% of couples say they take photos with their phone.

Some things are still best done from a desktop computer or in person, though, which is why few people are designing invitations or making big purchases — like their honeymoon — from their mobile devices, the WeddingWire report found.

Saving money

Aside from saving time, brides are saving money by planning on their mobile devices.

Cynthia Matthiesen says she reduced her wedding budget significantly by not having to hire a wedding planner and instead has done most of her planning through apps.

In fact, according to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding planner can be 10% to 20% of the overall budget. The national average is $3,262, according to the Association of Bridal Consultants.

Matthiesen is a social worker at a South Carolina hospital, plays roller derby 15 hours a week and is renovating her house, so that hasn’t left much time for wedding planning. But thanks to the growing mobile wedding industry, she can squeeze it in anywhere.

“I ride a shuttle between the hospital and my parking lot, but even that little bit of time lets me browse, read reviews (and) contact people, and it has been so useful,” Matthiesen says.

She saves things she likes on Pinterest and sends them to her florist, bought her toasting glasses on Etsy and set up her wedding hashtag — the phrase guests will use to organize pictures — on Instagram and WedPics, an app that collects photos and videos into a private folder only the bride, groom and guests can access.

“It helps to put everything together,” she says. “It’s been really handy. I think it’s saved me a ton of time.”

Matthiesen and her fiance, Chad, planned a traditional Southern affair for 40 guests held this month in Charleston, complete with games of horseshoes and a low country boil to eat. Even with her busy schedule, Matthiesen was able to plan the entire thing in only 5 months with her phone.

It’s a far cry from when the 46-year-old bride planned her first wedding 25 years ago.

“I had to go through the Yellow Pages, get magazines, call places,” she says. “This has been a lot easier in so many ways. It’s not as much legwork.”

And it can be a lot more fun.

“I just got a Facebook invite to my own bachelorette party, so that was kind of cool,” Matthiesen says.

Not just for the bride and groom

Mobile involvement doesn’t stop when the couple says “I do,” though. Now there are multiple apps meant for wedding guests to download and participate in the big day from their phones. Apps, including WedPics, Capsule and Wedding Party, allow guests to access the couple’s wedding website, aggregate wedding photos and make social media posts using the designated Instagram, Twitter and Facebook hashtag.

Using that hashtag, couples can access more photos from their wedding than the ones their photographer was able to capture and see their special day through the eyes of their guests.

“A wedding isn’t just about the couple; it’s about the guests, family and friends you are celebrating with,” Forrest says. “It’s important to include them and make things as accessible as possible.”