I got married this week, and these five iOS apps helped reduce our stress levels
April 14 was the day that I became a married man. And during the two years spent arranging it, there were a few apps on iOS 15 that we constantly used to make sure everything was paid for, and perfectly scheduled to play its part on the day.
Planning a wedding involves tasks that you would never expect to have to sort out – from agreeing on the music that would play while you sign the marriage certificate, to checking if the right tree logs for the table have been picked up by the best man.
If we didn't have our iPhones and apps at hand, we may have had to hire a wedding planner to avoid the multiple moments of stress we would have inevitably had.
But thankfully, there were five apps that helped us manage big chunks of the wedding that I was not expecting when I proposed back in 2020.
Apple's Notes app is one I've relied on since the first version of iOS. It's simple, useful, and has always helped remind me of what's needed to be done for certain tasks.
For the wedding, its usefulness went to another level, thanks in part to the ability to manage notes with someone.
Having both of us add and remove checklists across the two years helped a bunch, especially when an update can appear as a push notification.
While we had been arranging the wedding since 2020, tasks didn't really ramp up until the beginning of this year, which is where a to-do app came in.
Having tried other apps in this category, such as OmniFocus, Things 3 won out thanks to the quick actions of its Today screen. I could add and remove sudden jobs, and they'd also display in a helpful widget on my iPhone.
Being reminded to pay for a photo booth or to decide on types of flowers in Things was a big help. In fact, it was so helpful I've expanded it to other aspects of my life, including my job at TechRadar, and hobbies like, embarrassingly, weekly Fortnite challenges.
Spotify and Apple Music are two apps I've constantly used for the last decade. I still pay for iTunes Match, which is a yearly service that allows me to host all the music content that I owned on my iPod.
For the wedding itself, we found Spotify useful in arranging the entire playlist from start to finish, mainly due to the ability to have collaborative playlists.
This allowed us to add and remove songs in a playlist as we pleased, with our initials letting each of us know who added the most embarrassing song of the evening.
However, Shazam was most useful in helping us discover artists and tracks that we never would have considered. Going to wedding fayres and shops we heard a lot of music and by using Shazam to discover what the titles were, we could add them to our Spotify and Apple Music playlists.
It's a handy app that can help bolster your music library on whichever music app you use, without being intrusive.
A recent update also allows Shazam to be set up as a shortcut in Control Center on iOS 15, which saves you time before the track stops playing.
For me, managing a wedding is the equivalent of spinning 50 plates while standing on one leg, and reciting the alphabet backward in Spanish.
And that can lead to moments where you just want to escape the planning and the picking, and the paying, and just play a game instead.
This is where I decided to revisit some games thanks to Apple Arcade, and I rediscovered Angry Birds. It was an ideal pick for alleviating some of the frustration that occurred with some suits in February.
The game's maker, Rovio has also re-released the original game on iOS and Android, which I promptly downloaded. Flicking the irate fowl across four worlds on my iPhone 13 Pro turned out to be a great stress reliever while I was on a train to sort out the suits again or deciding on the right type of chairs for the reception.
Weddings cost money – lots of money. If you want to make sure that the location or items you had your heart set on for years can be part of your special day, you're going to hear the word deposit a lot until the big day arrives.
It's also a great lesson in managing your funds, which is where a feature from Monzo came in handy for us. Pots are a way of moving money into sections that can't be used by your debit card. They're essentially saving methods without creating a savings account.
You can lock a pot to stop you from withdrawing any money from it, alongside naming it whatever you wish and setting it with a picture. If you want, you can set any transactions to round up the payment to the nearest unit, with the spare change being sent to this pot.
It removes a worry about how much you have ready for the wedding or other saving goals, alongside making sure it's safe from temptation.