[an error occurred while processing this directive] Best Wedding Planning Sites - Steven and Chris

Best Wedding Planning Sites

Watch this segment online now.

By: Jamey Ordolis

If you're planning a wedding then I've got the the websites that will turn you into a veritable pro event planner. So, ditch the heavy magazines with all the sticky notes and swatches and trade in your notebook for a laptop, because these sites will inspire you, keep you organized and help you communicate with everyone as you plan and share your nuptial adventures!

Me, with Steven and Chris on the set of today's show.

First up, the BIG wedding sites - these are the go-to, all encompassing wedding websites that have everything you'll need from the minute you get engaged till you set off on your honeymoon.



This is probably my favorite big wedding site because of all the interactive tools.

Right off the top of the homepage, they've got a really handy resource finder that allows you to search for everything from lighting to dresses to champagne based on where you live.


Their tools section offers some really great features, like a planning checklist, a budget calculator, a registry centre and a guest list manager with a seating chart design tool.


And my favorite feature, The Knot Notebook, is an essential tool for brides because it allows you to save your favorite things as you browse the site in a single virtual "notebook" that you can revisit anytime you want and edit as you please and narrow down your selections. The site also makes it really easy to share the things you see with your friends and family, via email, Facebook and Twitter, for interactive planning.


Create your own My Knot account
for free and you can enjoy all these great tools plus other fun features, like the ability to create your "inner bride" avatar.




Using Brides.com as an example, you'll find that wedding websites are updated daily so there's a constant flow of new wedding fashion and design ideas. I love their recent story on wedding looks inspired by the 2011 Oscars, their tips for extraordinary engagement photos and, above all, their Ideas section.



My favorite feature of this site is their countdown to the Royal Wedding blog, because it's full of great ideas


The color scheme of a wedding is a pretty major decision. It impacts the invitations, favors, flowers and, as your BFFs would say, most importantly, the bridesmaids dresses.

Dessy.com "styleboard" allows you to browse wedding fashions by selecting pantone colors. You can drag and drop the looks you like from the site, stock wedding photography and your own photos, which you can upload to the tool. It can really help you dream up the right feel and color scheme for your big day.

I made this style board for my friend Nathalie, who's getting married in September and couldn't decide what color her bridesmaids dresses should be. I used her photo and some photos of peonies bouquets and arrangements I found online as the starting point, since they're her father's favorite flower. After that it was easy to pull in images of bridesmaid dresses and invitations to see what worked and what didn't.


Here's a look at how the tool allows you to browse dresses using pantone colors. Try it yourself by signing up for a free account. 


Or you can browse the styleboard gallery for inspiration from others.



Once you've got the details of your wedding day locked down and you've decided on your color scheme, it's time to design your invitations and create your own wedding wesbite! I know, it may see,


The wedding section of paper design site Minted.com is so full of fabulous and original designs for your save the date cards, wedding invitations, direction cards, reception cards, RSVP cards and Thank You cards.

Here are just some of the designs I loved...



Calligraphy Save the Date Cards let you upload your own photos and feature a "Yearline" schedule of events on the inside.


Love Lettered Save the Date cards

Browse all the Photo Save the Date cards here.


Customize your text and colors on all wedding invitations, like this Cocktail Hour design.


Just Married wedding invitations.


Winter Flourish wedding invitations






Stained Glass wedding invitations


This site has hundreds of designs to choose from. You can shop by color or choose designs with custom photo options, but my favorite thing about this site is that for certain designs, you can create a free matching website.

I created these for Nathalie and Mike in minutes....


These sites are so easy to create using the simple templates. They not only allow you to share the important details of your wedding events, such as key dates and locations, but you can also share stories and photos with those near and far so that everyone can take part of your adventures every step of the way.


For each of the site templates, the matching stationary is available.







This site has the biggest and best choice of free wedding website designs I've found, most of which also have matching stationary available from different websites.



Graphic Dot website template available in 4 color options with invites from Paper + Cup.



Graph website and invitations from Paper + Cup.



Tru Love website and invitations from Paper + Cup.


\chalk inite.jpg

Chalkboard website and invite from Paper + Cup.


lovenest invitation.jpg

Lovenest website and invitations from Minted.com.

You can also create your own free custom wedding website using templates found here:

The Knot free wedding websites




This site is great for getting to know your wedding dress lingo. Try different cuts and style using the virtual model. I must admit, we had a good time here at Steven and Chris trying to make the ugliest creation possible. Perhaps this is the comic relief portion of your wedding planning.


Instyle.com Virtual Makeover Tool

Speaking of comic relief, you'll get a few laughs out of trying on different celebrity hairstyles and makeup looks using the Instyle.com Virtual Makeover tool. But the tools is actually extremely useful and allows you to try a variety of formal looks without spending any money or taking any real risks. It's been one of my favorite online tools for years.

Sign up for a free account, upload your photo - preferable with your hair pulled bacl - and start trying on celebrity hairstyles and makeup. If you pick a style you like, you can also change the color to match your own.

We tried some looks on Andrée Soulière, our Steven and Chris food producer, who's having a beach wedding this May. Which of the styles do you like?





Wedding Blogs

For more wedding ideas and inspiration, check out some of these great . They're filled with beautiful photos from real weddings, original DIY ideas and lots of great tips and stores.




If you have any questions or need help, use the comments section below.

For my daily web finds, follow me on Twitter or check out my website, Empirella.com.


Also on CBC