Doug Appleton's grandparents couldn't travel to his New York City wedding last October, but the tech-savvy Floridians were as present on the Big Day as anyone could be from 1,000-plus miles away.
Thanks to FaceTime, the two-way Apple video-calling app, Gerald and Jacqueline Sherman watched by video stream as Appleton, 27, and Lauren Becker, 26, tied the knot. The newlyweds even have a picture of the ceremony that captures the Shermans' faces on the iPhone that was used to connect them.
Next, the Shermans joined in the post-nuptial festivities via Wedding Party, an app that instantly uploads photos taken by guests to a website that posts them in chronological order. That allowed them to watch the celebration unfold in real time.
"My grandparents get this stuff, which is great," says Appleton. "They loved seeing what was going on."
Applications that can be downloaded to smartphones and tablets are part of many weddings today, from the initial planning to the honeymoon. The hectic pace of life has encouraged the trend, says Leila Lewis, an industry expert and founder of Inspired By This, a wedding website.
"In this day and age, the digital bride is planning the wedding on the go, which means planning from a phone or tablet," Lewis says.
"Brides want to be planning, searching and experiencing weddings conveniently. They want quick access to an abundance of information, and that's what apps and technology provide."
The proliferation of wedding apps can make choosing which ones to use overwhelming. Here are just several worth noting:
• Appy Couple. Sharmeen Mitha-Sehgal created this app after the nerve-wracking experience of trying to keep track of her sister's wedding itinerary – a wedding in Mumbai, India – using various invitation and social media websites. Appy Couple aims to provide all wedding-related services on one platform. It helps manage RSVPs, send e-mail invites and create a schedule of events. Guests can use it to book travel, share photos and submit song requests to DJs.
• Lover.ly. Lewis likes this one for planning. Also billed as a one-stop-shop for the betrothed, it offers shopping and planning platforms as well as info on trends, from '70s-style dresses to serving doughnuts.
• Evernote. A nod to keeping you and your betrothed on the same page during the wedding planning process. This organizational app – you can snap pictures, make lists and take notes – syncs on devices so that everyone knows what's going on.
• Wedding Party. One of the apps designed to boost the experience of the day itself by allowing guests to use their phones to share photos, videos and comments. About a week ahead of her wedding, Becker asked guests to download this app so they could help the Shermans get in on the action.
• WedPics. Lets couples create personalized photo albums of all the events surrounding their nuptials, from bridal showers to honeymoons, using pictures and videos uploaded by friends.
• Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder. The jeweler's app helps you choose the right diamond.