The Best Free Apps for Holiday Party Planning (pt. 2)


It’s officially holiday season here in the US, and I can barely focus on my day-to-day. To be honest, the past few weeks have beat me up. I’m counting down to the upcoming short week and plan to steal a day to sit at home and bum around… By which I mean, write for the blog and plan for my first-ever New Year Brunch!

Last year, I hosted a small Secret Santa gathering, and even with a full month to plan… I didn’t. When the week before brunch rolled around, I found myself panic-shopping for groceries. The “Quick Brunch Ideas” I’d found through random Google & Pinterest searches were not as quick as I thought, and I was still cooking as my guests arrived.

Not doing that again.

That experience (and my sister) inspired me to get a jump start this year. As I gathered up my favorite tools, I thought back to how long it took me to build my core app collection and all the crappy apps I tried along the way.

I’ve made a hobby of testing apps and sharing the good ones with my friends. At any given time, I’m testing 3 new apps – sometimes so vigorously that the developers reach out to me (like my friends at Bento Cam). Seriously, check my home screen, I’ve got more folders than a dentist’s office. 

This list expands on part one, starting with the first place you should look for inspiration (it’s not Pinterest!) and adding on three great apps for the day of. If you want the more extensive part one, it was sent out via e-mail! You can download it here.

Combined, the full list has everything you need to help make your party a total success! As always, you can email me with any questions or suggestions! Now let’s get to it!

Before Shopping

Brit + Co

From the Brit & Co blog, this app has a gorgeous interface and even more beautiful content. Browse party ideas in their “Events” category or get specific in the search bar. It’s as inspiring as Pinterest, without the overwhelming flood. The best part is that even the external links lead to equally gorgeous websites with awesome DIY instructions. And of course, don’t go shopping for supplies without checking the helpful apps listed in part one ;).

The Day Of

Google Photos

Our Halloween photos, is my sister's half-dead housewife not the most bad-@$$ costume ever?!
Our Halloween photos, is my sister’s half-dead housewife not the most bad-@$$ costume ever?!
Google Photos is the easiest way to gather & share your party photos. Add your guests to a shared album and withhold the wifi password until they agree to add their photos at the end of the night 😉 Once you’re signed in, uploading photos to an album is super easy – there’s a one-click option that selects all photos by date. And yes, you can upload videos, too, for my fellow Snap, Stories, and Boomerang lovers out there. P.S. Google, if you’re listening, please add selection by album.

Bento Cam

Bento Cam is actually part of my daily life. It keeps your camera roll organized by forcing you to choose an album after every shot. If that sounds annoying, it’s not – there’s a “presets” option that lets you choose the album first. That way, any photos will automatically be added to that album. The app also connects to your Dropbox / Google drive and create a new folder there for you if you prefer that to Google Photos for sharing.

Hello Vino

I don’t know any sommeliers (if you do, please share, I have so many questions), but I do like my drinks and food to play well together. Try searching “wine pairing” and you’ll get a bunch of free & paid apps that don’t intuitively do that – I know, I tried. Hello Vino is easy to use and highly specific. The homepage leads with “Can we help you choose a wine?” and it’s an easy fall into the rabbit hole from there:

First, tell Hello Vino what the wine is for.
After selecting “Wine for an Occasion” specify which one.
Then get even more detailed!
What I love most about these apps is their usefulness in my daily life. Each one is pretty to look at, easy to use, and free! We can all agree that planning a gathering is normally an exhausting process – how often do we feel like we can’t wait til it’s over? These apps have honestly helped me fight off that overwhelmed feeling and throw one of the best parties I ever have, just ask anyone who came to my Fourth of July party!

Boyfriend and I were ready with appetizers, drinks, and a spotless apartment when our guests arrived. Having wrapped everything up in advance allowed us to be completely present and fully enjoy the moment, so now we can’t wait to do it again!

Your turn!

  • When was the last time you hosted a gathering?
  • Was it stressful or a smashing success?
  • Did you use any of these apps (or any apps I didn’t list) to help you?

I can’t wait to hear from you 😀