Apps helping couples organize their big day

by Shinichi Tokuda

Kyodo

Marriage is a major event in one’s life but preparing for it can be bothersome.

To help couples make their preparations easier, many wedding service companies in Japan are now offering computer software and smartphone applications to make organizing the big day easier. The programs are also important tools to attract customers in a stagnant nuptials market amid a shrinking population.

Koki Fukumoto, a 26-year-old office worker planning his wedding in November, said he uses the free Wedding Chic smartphone application provided by major wedding services company Novarese Inc.

By simply entering the date of a wedding, the application automatically presents a schedule for completing around 170 tasks, ranging from compiling the guest list to choosing and ordering gifts for those attending. It also sends email reminders to the user when the deadline for an important task approaches.

“I was surprised there are so many things that need to be done, far more than I had imagined,” said Fukumoto, who lives in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. “It’s too troublesome to look things up in books. This application is really helpful.”

The application has been downloaded about 40,000 times since Novarese released it two years ago.

The company also introduced new computer software called Wedo last year that enables couples who have reserved wedding venues with Novarese and their wedding planners to communicate over the Internet, reducing the need for face-to-face meetings.

“Then when the wedding planner and the couple do actually meet, they can have plenty of time to discuss the details of the wedding itself, such as how they would like to set the mood for the ceremony and how to entertain the guests,” said Keiichi Suganuma, manager of the sales planning division at Novarese.

To make wedding preparations not only easy but fun, Bridal Produce Co., which runs wedding halls mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, introduced gamelike software called Styleus in April.

Meanwhile, Recruit Marketing Partners Co., publisher of Japan’s major bridal magazine Zexy, offers a checklist-type smartphone application through its zexy net website, providing users with the average schedule and detailed explanations for around 240 wedding preparation tasks.