What time is it? Party time! Excellent! There’s nothing better in the summer months than getting a bunch of friends and family together and dancing, drinking, and eating the night away. But if you’re throwing the event yourself, that fun comes with stress. How to get everyone together and make sure they have a good time? Well, while we can’t actually help you throw the party (what, did our invite get lost in the mail?), we can share our favorite tech tricks and gadgets for throwing an epic shindig!
1. Pinterest Secret Boards (Free on Web, iOS, and Android): While we all know that Pinterest is a great way to get ideas for party decor, food, and more, it’s not exactly ideal to plan your whole party in public. You want your guests to be surprised, intrigued, and impressed by your event, not see the whole thing in their Pinterest feed before it even happens. Enter Pinterest secret boards. Each account gets up to three boards that are private to them and anyone they invite. That means you and your sister can plan a surprise party for your mom without being in the same room!
2. Facebook (Free on Web, iOS, and Android): An oldie but a goodie. Facebook Events are still a great way to get an idea of who plans on coming to your party and plan around that. While we certainly don’t recommend it for a big bash, like a wedding or other party that deserves paper invites, it’s perfect for your casual backyard BBQ.
3. GroupMe (Free on iOS, Android, and Windows): The group messaging app is a great way to send updates and reminders about the event to your whole crew. Plus, just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you have to foot the bill. If you’re throwing a party for close friends, ask them to chip in for food and booze with the GroupMe app.
4. Djoclate II ($65): We discovered this little guy not too long ago and we’re pretty much obsessed. It’s a portable music mixer that lets you seamlessly play music from any two music storage devices. That means you can plug your iPad and your bestie’s phone in and DJ the ultimate dance party using music from both devices. It also lets you fade out like a pro, ensuring no awkward sounds in between songs. Get your groove on!
5. Jambox ($179.99): It’s no secret that we love the Jambox: in fact, we even hacked the Big Jambox into its own carrying case for truly portable rocking out. But even if you’re partying in one place, this is a great little device that packs some truly huge sound. You can connect it via Bluetooth to your smartphone and pick your tunes all around the party.
6. Spotify (Free on Web): We use Spotify to DJ at the office on the daily, and it definitely works for party playlists. You can search for a rad playlist already on the service, create your own, or listen to a radio station based on your favorite artist, genre, or even playlist. That way, even if your party goes into the wee hours of the morning, you’ll always have fresh jams to listen to.
7. Kuhuh ($35): Although technically I guess you can count karaoke as a subset of music, we all have those friends that make that definition a bit of a stretch so we’re gonna go ahead and put this under the “merriment” category. This Kickstarter project is designed to let you do karaoke from anywhere, from any smartphone or tablet. It lets you plug in up to two headphones, headphones, and speakers. Spontaneous karaoke party? We’re in.
8. Juke ($131): Apparently karaoke is popular on Kickstarter right now — we’re not complaining. The campaign promises to create a wireless, mobile karaoke experience. It comes with a built in microphone and a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into your home speakers. It even lets you cache karaoke videos to your phone so you don’t have to stream your favorite song every time.
9. Party Games! ($.99 on iOS): Love Catchphrase or Pictionary, but don’t always remember to bring your games with you? Now you can play on the go! You can even personalize the word lists to make them more fun for your friends. We’re thinking of a Brit + Co. specific list to spice up happy hour :)
10.Chromecast ($35): We’re kind of obsessed with this little gadget. It lets you connect nearly any device to your TV via wifi. So you can stream music videos to your TV, watch Netflix, or watch viral videos throughout the party. Plus it’s tiny and crazy easy to use.
11. KegWizard (Free on Web): We’ve written about this before, and we’ll probably write about it again. No beating around the bush here: you need the right amount of booze for the level of drunkenness your friends will get. With this app, you can select how many of your friends will likely get tipsy, buzzed, drunk or hammered, and then it will “kegulate” the amount of beer, ice, and red plastic cups needed for an epic event. Frat boys (and BBQ planners) rejoice!
12. Cor.kz Wine App ($1.99 on iOS): Whether you’re looking to buy wine to pair with the entree you’re serving at your dinner party or simply trying to find a bottle to gift your hostess, this app has you covered. It lets you browse wine, read and write reviews, and even comparison shop!
13. Drinkify (Free on Web): So you’re already rocking out to great music and you have a fully stocked bar. Now the only question is what drink to serve with what music? Yep, this is a thing. Drinkify lets you type the artist you’re listening to and serves up a cocktail, beer, or wine that matches the mood. Pro tip? The Icona Pop involves ice cream ;)
14. Party-Shot Automatic Photographer (Price varies): You want awesome party pics to remember the night by, but you don’t want to be stuck behind the camera all night long. This dock from Sony automatically detects faces and smiles, capturing some great candid shots that you’ll love having (or laughing about) in the morning. It’s no longer available via Sony but you can snag one for about $33 on Amazon.
15. Instagram Hashtag (Free on iOS): Don’t underestimate the power of existing social networks for capturing the best moments of the night. Everyone will be Instagramming anyways, just pick a hashtag and post it somewhere the guests can see it: turn it into cool wall art or send it to the group via GroupMe. Be sure to pick something slightly obscure (#birthdayparty probably won’t work) and you’ll be able to see all your photos in a single feed at the end of the night.
What’s your must-have tech for entertaining guests and/or partying until dawn? Let us know in the comments below.