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Planning a wedding? There's an app for that

Thursday - 7/21/2011, 6:01pm  ET

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TheKnot.com's Wedding Dress Look Book is one of their more popular smartphone apps. (Photo courtesy of iTunes)
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Meera Pal, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Some say that planning a wedding can be as stressful as moving into a new home or dealing with a death in the family.

But it doesn't have to be.

From finding a dream wedding gown to creating a wedding registry, there's an app for that.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study found that one-third of American adults own a smartphone, and about 87 percent of smartphone owners access the Internet or email on their handhelds.

The new wedding-focused apps are designed for "anyone on the go," says Anja Winnika, site editor for TheKnot.com.

"This is the modern day bride," she says. "If we're not appealing to them on mobile, then we don't have them anymore."

Alexandria, Va. bride-to-be Katie Norton says while she hasn't used a wedding planning app yet, "it might replace my dependence -- or maybe supplement my use of -- wedding blogs."

She adds that the apps would not take the place of her wedding planner because, "I think there is something about having a human connection that I am willing to pay for."

Winikka says that while some people who can't afford a wedding planner may use the apps in place of a person, she sees them as a complement.

"Even people with wedding planners love to have an on-the-go checklist. They want to make sure they're doing the right thing at the right time," Winikka says.

"This is your techy best friend that is sort of holding your hand through the wedding planning," she says.

TheKnot released its first smartphone app, Wedding 911, a couple of years ago and is now up to six, including an app for the iPad.

Wedding 911 is described as an "on-the-go source for expert wedding advice." The most popular feature is the integrated community of brides which are an instant resource for last-minute questions, like, "Which side does the bride's family sit on?"

"911 is extremely popular," Winikka says. "It's the community, it's the heartbeat of that particular app ... It's free, so that doesn't hurt."

Most of the apps available on iTunes and the Android Market are free to download, but have premium versions for a few more dollars.

High-end jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. offers the free Engagement Ring Finder for the iPhone, where prospective grooms (and future brides) can browse styles, view actual carat weights and determine ring size by placing a ring directly on the iPhone screen. The app is also available in other languages, just in case the bride- or groom-to-be is English, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

Last year, Brides Magazine launched the Wedding Genius app, which can be used for both the iPhone and iPad. The application helps busy brides plan their weddings with their smartphones, from picking a dress to finding a honeymoon locale. For a few more dollars, brides can have a virtual wedding planning binder to gather and organize images, track tasks and manage to-do lists.

As technology becomes even smarter, brides-to-be can turn to their phones for even more, Winikka says. In April, TheKnot.com launched Wedding Dress Look Book, which helps future brides find their dream gown. The app includes photos of thousands of gowns and includes sizing, price and geo-targeting, telling the bride which shops in her area carry the dress she wants. This Look Book app has had 500,000 downloads since its debut.

Beyond wedding dresses, there are also apps for choosing a color scheme from Color Toy or an app to find unique bridal party gifts through Etsy Addict.

One of Wininkka's favorite apps is Gift Registry 360 which turns the iPhone into a bar code scanner and allows couples to add any item they want to their registry on the go.

"Your phone becomes the scanner gun. It's amazing," she says. "It also makes it fun."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)