Party planning is exhausting — and when you’re drowning in invitations, reservations and rental fees, it’s hard to imagine an end in sight. Many have opted for the DIY approach in the digital age, which is clearly beneficial if you’re trying to save time and money. There are endless instructions, ideas, tips or blogs on the subject of organization, plus doing it yourself allows your creativity to flow — while your budget doesn’t. Although the DIY approach promotes planning with ease, we could all still use a little structure. Look no further than these event planning and management apps to juggle all the tools that entail scheduling your celebratory events, from weddings to bar mitzvahs and everything in between.
Start with Inspiration
OK, this may not seem like a planning app, per se, but for any party, wedding or the like, Pinterest should be your first stop. With the unfathomable accessibility to options in this digital library at your fingertips, you can’t go wrong in gathering creative inspiration for ideas, tips, recipes and how-tos for your own soiree. Elaborate hairstyle? Pin it. DIY crafts and snacks for kids? Pin it. Cute puppy picture? Irrelevant, but pin it anyway.
To keep things under wraps, you can make some boards — for those who aren’t frequent pinners, boards can be labeled whatever you like, and you pin pictures and links to a “board” of similar interests to keep them organized — private, so no one else can see your party plans.
Pinterest: Free. Available on web, iOS and Android.
Get Organized in One Place
It’s difficult to narrow down just one planning accessory when there are so many excellent products out there. These apps provide the foundation for your party, scheduling everything you need to do from start to finish.
Planning Pod stores all your notes, documents, spreadsheets and related emails in one place for simple and organized accessibility. It’s equipped with productivity tools to help you manage budgets, schedules, checklists and calendars. It’s great for wedding planning: You can add multiple people to your Planning Pod event, so parents and future in-laws living in different states can easily stay up-to-date on floor plans, guest lists and websites.
Similar to Planning Pod, as well as aspects of Google Drive or Dropbox, is Evernote, which is another great app to store all of your notes, as well as research you’ve done for venues or travel itineraries, and it can easily be shared with others and synced to different devices.
Asana is a good option to outline your daily or monthly tasks, highlighting how high a priority each are.
Super Planner is a must-have planning tool for the more business-oriented events. It calculates for you how much of one item you need based on your crowd size. That includes understanding pricing, arranging tables and sizes based on room capacity, or catering based on the number
Planning Pod: Free 30-day trial; monthly packages range from $19 to $99, depending on how many events you’d like to manage at one time. Available on web, iOS and Android. Evernote: Free; premium plans available for $34.99/ year or $69.99/ year. Available on web, iOS and Android.
Asana: Basic version is free; premium plans $9.99/ month. Available on web, iOS and Android. Super Planner: $9.99. Available on iOS and Android.
Turn the Tables
One of the most irritating party planning particulars is seating arrangements. Aunt Suzy can’t be seen next to Cousin Cathy; the Steins are in a feud with the Sterns; Rebecca is suddenly gluten-free and can’t be around anything that remotely smells edible. But with Social Tables, you can visualize and track arrangements in 3-D models. You create a seating chart in digital layouts and schematics of the venue, with customizable table colors and chair sizes. You can also assign menu preferences. Top Table Planner also helps you visualize seating arrangements on the planner’s end.
Social Tables: Free. Available on web, iOS and Android. Top Table Planner: Free trial; $20 to $80 yearlong packages. Available on web, iOS and Android.
Collect the Memories
Candid photos are often the best ones from a celebration. Your friends and family have the ability to comfortably be right up in the action. But tracking down photos later on different social networking sites can be a hassle. If attendees download Capsule, they can upload all of the photos from the evening into a shared, public “capsule” online for easy reviewing and tagging later.
Capsule: Basic package is free; professional package has a 30-day free trial, then $12/ month per user. Available on iOS and Android.
If you’re anxiety-prone about to-do lists — or checking off boxes gives you a fulfilled high — Trello makes the interface simple and satisfying. You create a board, prioritizing your daily tasks. Tasks can be dragged to different sections when done or held for later. It’s the most visual way to collect all of your party planning responsibilities in one place. You can also dive deeper into your workflow, adding notes, contacts, comments and attachments to a single Trello card.
24me is also great for organization: During all the chaos that goes into planning an event — whether it lasts a month or a year — everyday things can fall through the cracks. 24me is a daily schedule manager to remind you to pay bills or simply wish your special someone a happy birthday.
Trello: Free. Available on web, iOS and Android.24me: Free. Available on web, iOS and Android.
Do You Hear the People Sing?
To save some money, DIYers have opted for being their own DJs at events. Apps like Spotify and Pandora make it simple to create your own playlists to plug in at the party. As an added bonus, you can be the one who decides how many times to play “YMCA” (hint: zero). And when your elderly relatives inevitably approach the DJ kvetching that the music is too loud, you can be the judge of that. Decibel Ultra measures volume and determines the noise level compared to an average benchmark, so you can clapback with some facts.
Spotify: Free; subscription $9.99/ month. Available on web, iOS and Android. Pandora: Free; subscription options for $4.99/ month or $9.99/ month. Available on web, iOS and Android. Decibel Ultra: Free. Available on iOS.
Drippin’ in Finance
As taboo as it is, let’s talk finances. A lot goes into big parties, from renting big elements like the venue to small ones like silverware. Fudget, a budget planner tracker app, is a simple way to manage those complex charges. It adds and subtracts your monthly bills, and you can add in other factors based on the income you have left.
And to keep all your receipts in one place, ScannerPro or CamScanner eliminate the paper clutter. Simply take a picture in the app, and it converts the receipt into a PDF that can be emailed and saved.
Fudget: Free. Available on iOS and Android. ScannerPro: $3.99. Available on iOS. CamScanner: Basic account is free; premium and business accounts are $4.99 and $6.99, respectively. Available on iOS and Android.
What’s My Name Again?
You see her crossing the dance floor. She looks familiar; you know she’s a distant cousin who you only see every few years. But what’s her name? Namerick uses repetition and mnemonics to keep track of names of people you meet at parties, so you’ll never forget. Ninety-nine cents well spent.
Namerick: 99 cents. Available on iOS. BC
Article reprinted with permission by the Jewish Exponent.