Modern Life

Making merry: Apps that help you throw the perfect party

Get the festivities right with tech for planning, enjoying and sharing memories.

By Garage Staff — November 29, 2018

From choosing the wine to designing the invitations, planning a party or celebration involves a lot of moving parts. Luckily, there are apps to help you do everything from track your guest list to pick the perfect playlist. Here, some high-tech help to make your next party go down as easy as a cup of punch.

Kelly Knox

Planning the big day

Anyone who’s hosted a party knows the prepwork is the most challenging part, but these apps can take some of the strain out of the planning and pre-party work. Drawing up a guest list for your shindig is step one and once it’s set, you’ll need to send out save the dates or invitations. That’s where Canva comes in. Make your party invites look super glam with this app that does the graphic design legwork for you. Create modern-looking invites — think sleek fonts, gorgeous graphics and color schemes — with just a few taps and swipes. Then text or email them to your invitees or post them on social media right from your phone.

No matter the theme or type of celebration you’re planning, your party deserves only the best decorations. Want to dazzle up your decor, wow your guests with a unique centerpiece or create personalized party favors? Use Craftsy to browse and shop craft classes and supplies, plus interact with instructors and fellow crafters. You’ll be making DIY placemats for the kids or a custom cake decorating stencil in no time.

If it’s a dinner party you’re throwing, you’re going to need a (virtual) sous chef. Use the BigNight app to plan your menu from canapés to dessert, import recipes for spinach dip or vegetarian lasagna from your Pinterest or Evernote boards and organize shopping lists so the trip to the supermarket is a breeze.

Prep for success

You want to make sure the big day goes as smoothly as a sheet of gift wrap. These apps can help get every detail organized and prevent any embarrassing day-of disasters. The best way to do that is to have help, lots of help. Enlisting friends or family members mean your party errands won’t snowball out of control. Assign them tasks with Remember the Milk, a simple to-do list app that assigns tasks, sends reminders via email or text and automatically syncs shopping lists.

Holiday potlucks are chancy things — what if three people bring pie? OK, that would actually be awesome, because MORE PIE. But still: Prevent potluck overlap with the Thing to Bring app. List the items you want guests to bring, from no-Romaine salad to double chocolate brownies, and track who’s bringing what.

Have fun at the festivities

Your party prep was flawless, and now your celebration is in full swing, so make your big bash one no one will forget with a little help from your friends and your smartphone. In the age of Uber and Lyft, no need to worry about who is downing your killer cocktails, so call up Mixology, a cocktail bible that’s brimming with all kinds of imbibable recipes. Shake up classic gin martinis or pour a trendy Aperol spritz — it will also provide drinks recipes based on what’s in your liquor cabinet. Maybe it’s finally time to use up that bottle of melon liqueur?

We all know a killer playlist can make or break a party — a little Ariana, a whole lot of Bey, and what’s more fun than having the whole group DJ together? Queue up all your favorite tunes on Festify, which lets multiple people collaborate on a Spotify playlist, or in this case, the ultimate party soundtrack.

Quick selfies are great, but sometimes you want to hold that moment of revelry in your hands. While you’re still at the party, print your pics using the Party Mode on the HP Sprocket app. Partygoers can connect to a HP Sprocket printer at the same time from their respective phones and print photos in real time in three simple steps. Plus, you can instantly tell which photo is yours by choosing a pre-selected color from the app — the printer will blink your chosen color when your print is ready to go. 

Share the good times

You made it! The party’s over and everyone had a blast. What’s more fun on the day after than to share the coolest party pics? Make them look amazing using A Color Story. You’ve never seen Instagram filters like these before. On A Color Story, you can  use over 100 carefully crafted filters that enhance the colors in your photo in natural, beautiful ways. And, you can edit your pics with a few simple swipes. Bonus: The app is a work of art on its own. To make sure party pics stay within the family, skip the big social media networks and use Cluster for a super easy approach to private group sharing. Give your album a custom title and send invites to only people you trust. Your co-workers never have to see those photos of you flailing on the dance floor or sporting a red wine stain on your shirt.

Does someone owe you cash after the event or vice-versa? Venmo takes all the angst out of getting your siblings to pay you back for the restaurant you rented out for your parents’ anniversary party. It’s simple to request money for their portion, or send them some bucks to cover your share.


Learn how taking great party pics can help you savor the moment.