Wedding Planning Software by IDo: Not Free, but Worth $30

Tying the knot. Getting hitched. Losing your freedom. Whatever you want to call it, getting married takes a lot of planning. If you thought finding your idea mate was exhausting, try planning a wedding from start to finish! Not only do you need to deal with all kinds of lists and arrangements, but you have to keep a budget – and your cool. Luckily, the enterprising Elm Software has created a program called iDo that can help a couple organize every detail of their wedding: invitations, RSVPs, seating, gifts, dinners, tasks, finances, and more.

Although I’m not expecting to settle down anytime soon, I tested out the iDo Wedding Couple Edition software and was impressed by how thorough it is. Free on a trial basis for 30 days and then available for product key purchase at just $29.99, iDo wedding planning software will almost definitely be worth the relatively small investment. After all, if you’re spending several thousand dollars planning a wedding, the thirty bucks you commit to iDo is practically guaranteed to save you time and energy. (And this is coming from someone who normally dislikes paid software.)

Here’s an overview of what modules you’ll get in your wedding planning software from iDo. I must add that each of these features is so simple to use that it’s almost fun:

1. Contacts. There is one easy place to keep track of everyone involved in your wedding, with all the obvious contact information fields as well as “Friend Of” and “Guest Of” columns, a place for wedding roles, and even an ongoing stats counter. In addition, you can import and export to/from iDo – fantastic if your contacts are already in Outlook.

2. Invitations and RSVPs. iDo wedding planning software breaks the invitation and reply process down to a science so that you can always see your progress, even keeping track of meals for different people.

3. Attendees and Table Management. This really impressed me! After people reply with a yes, you’ll have a list of definite attendees and can divide them into tables using a special grid, dragging and dropping people into seats and swapping things around as you go.

4. Gifts. This wedding planning software includes a place to log all your gifts and organize thank-yous. As the software grows and becomes more popular, it would be nice to see them partner with major retailers so that gift registries could somehow be built in for an even more comprehensive tool.

5. Checklist. With a pre-loaded checklist of 100 items sorted in a timeline fashion, iDo gives you a head start on tasks. Of course, you can add, delete, and change the scheduling to meet your needs. For people who obtain a sense of accomplishment from checking things off a list, this is guaranteed to please.

6. Budget. iDo includes an intuitive budget tool that even notoriously bad checkbook balancers can use. You simply input the amounts you are hoping to spend on each item and then update with the actual costs, letting the program calculate totals. The features here are smart, including an easy way to designate who (i.e. bride, groom, parents, children, other relatives) is paying for each expense. The wedding planning software comes with the most common budget items pre-loaded, but you can customize as needed.

7. “Widgets.” The widgets tools let you organize various text, like vows and invitation wording, so that it can be easily printed and shared with necessary parties.

8. Events. The iDo program can be used for planning more than just a big wedding reception. Showers, rehearsal dinners, and other parts of the celebration process can be incorporated easily into the wedding planning software.

9. Reporting and Printing. Making the software even more practical is the capability of generating reports and printing lists to give to vendors and to take on the go when you’re shopping or running wedding-related errands.

My only two criticisms of iDo’s wedding planning software are:

1. It’s only available for Windows
2. It exclusively uses the terms “bride” and “groom” with male and female icons. Given the number of same-sex couples out there getting married or having similar partnership ceremonies, it would be nice if there was an option in iDo to switch the language. I contacted the company and received a swift reply from the CEO indicating that he was aware of the problem and that he did intend to incorporate more inclusive language in a forthcoming release, though no dates are available.

That said, after playing with this wedding planning software for some time, I’m convinced that it’s an excellent product. If you’re not sold by my description, then download the free trial and see for yourself what it has to offer before buying it. Visit download.com to get your free trial of the iDo wedding planning software.

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