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Take the party outside

Our guide to hassle-free hosting

Sunshine. Barbecues. Ice-cold drinks. We all love a garden party. But they can be a headache to plan. Read on to see how tech can take the pain away.

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Get the (garden) party started

You’ve invited your friends, cut the grass and done a sun dance. But there are still the tricky things like food, drinks and music left to plan. Don’t panic! Keep calm and read on. Your smartphone or tablet may be the key to making your party a success.

Plan your party

Keep menu planning simple

Get inspiration, recipes and tips

Create the vibe you want

Choose tunes to set the tone

Capture the party spirit

Take photos to keep the fun alive

Food cooking on the barbecue

Food, glorious food

Whether cans of beans or canapés are more your style, catering for a crowd needs a bit of thought. But with a whole world of recipes available at the touch of a button, it’s never been easier. Want menu inspiration? Try an app like Kitchen Stories for ideas. Need to know how to make your favourite barbecue classic? BBC Good Food is your friend. And for seasonal recipes with a dollop of personality, look no further than the Jamie Oliver app.

People clinking their drinks in a sunny garden

Make every hour Happy Hour

Strong or soft, show-stopping or simple, get the drinks right and your party’s sure to be a success. If you know what you want to serve, check out the Mixologist app to find out how to make it. Just want to use up the dusty bottles at the back of the cupboard? Its Liquor Cabinet feature knows what you can make with what you’ve got. For get-togethers with an international theme, Cocktail Flow is the app you need, with cocktail recipes from around the world. So whatever and however you’re celebrating, you can make sure every hour is Happy Hour.

People dancing together in the garden

Music to set the mood

When it comes to creating the right vibe, music and lighting are key. Download Spotify, a music-streaming service, to put together your party playlist from millions of tracks. And if you’re short of time or just fancy something different, you’ll find loads of readymade playlists to pick from. Once you’ve chosen your tunes, a portable speaker like the JBL Link 20 will let your music fill the air. And with up to 10 hours’ battery life, the chances are you’ll be ready to call it a night before your speaker does.

People taking selfies in the garden

Don’t miss out on your own do

Sometimes it’s more fun to be a guest at a party than the host. If it’s your bash, you’re probably too busy answering the door, refilling glasses and scrubbing stains out of furniture to really relax and soak up the atmosphere. But just because you can’t be everywhere at once, you don’t have to miss out. With smartphones in their pockets, your guests are also your official photographers. Get them to snap away throughout the day, then share their pics on social media or a file-sharing service like Dropbox. And you could always take a few selfies to prove you were there too!

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Products featured in this article

Let your music fill the air with a portable speaker. Find out more about the JBL Link 20.