5 Creative Holiday Party Ideas

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is right around the corner! Don’t make the common mistake of waiting until the last minute to book that perfect venue, because spaces are booking up quickly already! In preparation for the holidays, the girls at ABCey Events have put together some of our favorite entertainment, decor, and other ideas in order to host the ultimate gathering with friends and family!

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1. D.I.Y. centerpiece: This festive candle centerpiece is very easy to create. Simply fill a Mason jar with water, greenery, cranberries, a ­floating candle, and viola! Guests are guaranteed to be impressed with your Martha Stewart-like display. 

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2. Hot chocolate station:  Hot cocoa stations aren’t just pretty to look at, they also make a fun & festive addition to any holiday party or open house you might be hosting this year! You can create one using items you already have on hand, or go crazy with items such as flavored marshmallows, cherries, malted barley, chocolate shavings, and whipped cream.

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4. Balloons & bubbly: All set to ring in the New Year, this refreshment table shows that even simple decorations like these “bubbly” balloons in pretty pastels can help create a party atmosphere. Don’t forget to accent with metallics such as silver & gold (TREND ALERT)!

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4. Warming cocktails: When the temperature drops it’s time for the cocktails to heat up! We found this delicious Chai Hot Toddy recipe on Brit + Co. and cannot wait to serve it up at our next holiday party! With ingredients ranging from spiced rum to ground cinnamon, no one will be able to resist this delicious holiday drink.

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5. Photo Booth: No bash is complete without a dedicated corner decked out with a festive background and loads of silly & holiday-oriented props! In addition to the standard mustache and sunglass on a stick, we found these awesome snow bunny & Holiday props for Him & Her on Etsy

Have you gotten your holiday festivities in order?! Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter


5 Ways to Effectively Engage Your Audience

It’s getting increasingly harder and harder to engage audiences. With over 1000 cable channels, video streaming online, and on-demand music streaming, we have become more sophisticated and demanding! So, when your audience arrives at your event they expect the same level of choice, engagement, and customization. Read on for tips to truly engage live audiences!

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1. Get them before they arrive:  Reach out to your audiences and get them interacting with your content and your brand before they even show up. This does not include a simple email blast, but real and interactive content they can begin to engage with and get them psyched for & buzzing about your event! Pushing social media content is helpful, but be sure to create a branded campaign and target your influencers. 

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2. Give them something to do:  True learning only happens when your audience experiences something! Give them a task, ask something of them, or expect them to bring some valuable insight. Your audiences want to be asked to participate in the process. Give people something to buzz about!

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3. Let them have a say:  Allow your audience to choose their own path at an event or conference. This goes beyond having them build their agenda through your conference app. Have them build content, change the flow, or collectively decide how they will interact with demos, content, and speakers. Creating unique and personalized content is the only way to authentically target event attendees!

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4. Get them talking:  A social media wall is one way, of course, but what about in-the-moment engagement? Integrate social media into the program flow so that you are receiving real-time feedback, questions, and comments that will tell you, on the spot, if your message is hitting home.

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5. Speak to them:  Really interact with them, not just to their heads, and provide content they need. Speak to their hearts as well. We tend to forget that, as professional as we all are, that our audiences come to our events to be moved, informed, and ultimately changed in some way. They want to be enriched and sometimes the answer is not just valuable content, but ideas that move & challenge them!

Reinventing live engagements are what we do here ABCey Events. Which of these tips do you find most useful in engaging your audience? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter


ABCey’s Weekend LineUp: 07.25.14 – 07.27.14

This upcoming weekend is looking to be a warm one and we couldn’t be more excited! There is something  for everyone – from sport fanatics to music lovers. Read on for our top picks for events around the Bay that are guaranteed to be a good time!

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FEATURED EVENT: The San Francisco Marathon | Sunday, July 27th | 5:30am | Ferry Building, San Francisco |  This Sunday, thousands of sneakers will take to the streets of our beautiful city in the 37th running of the The San Francisco Marathon (TSFM). This USA Track & Field certified race and Boston Marathon qualifier starts at the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through Golden Gate Park and Haight Ashbury before finishing in front of Cupid’s Arrow. The event includes a race for runners of all levels: 5K, half marathon, full marathon, double marathon. This is a perfect opportunity to support local runners while enjoying the Bay!

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1. Treasure Island Rock the Summer | Saturday, July 26th & Sunday, July 27th | 10am – 4pm | Treasure Island, San Francisco | Celebrate the flavor of summer with the Treasure Island Flea this beautiful weekend! From food truck brunch, to DIY mimosa kits and ice cream on a stick, this event has it all! It’s also pet friendly, parking & children under the age of 12 are free. Otherwise, admission is only $3!

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2. Rufus Wainwright & Quartlet San Francisco: Stern Grove Festival | Sunday, July 27th | 2pm | Sigmund Stern Grove (19th Avenue & Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco) | Grab a blanket & a cooler and come out to enjoy the sounds of acclaimed singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright while he performs solo with piano, bringing together a rich blend of theatrical pop, cabaret, and classical styles. Opening the afternoon is the contemporary sound of instrumentalists Quartet San Francisco. Admission is free and it is a guaranteed fun time!

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3. NBA Nation: Trampoline & Slam Dunk Showcase | Friday, July 25th & Saturday, July 26th | 12pm-8pm | Union Square Park, San Francisco | NBA Nation is 20,000 square feet of basketball action, including a full center court home to free interactive basketball activities, contests and clinics, and the opportunity to meet current NBA and WNBA player! This event offers fun activities for all ages and will provide mind blowing entertainment. 

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4. Sundays on Telegraph | Sunday, July 27th | 12pm-5pm | Telegraph Avenue, Berkley | Come enjoy food, art, live music, and family activities at this year’s Sundays on Telegraph! Music ranges from rock to blues, to folk, to hip-hop. Get ready for a circus-like atmosphere with a balloon clown, life-size chess, jugglers, and a stilt-walker. While browsing tie-dye and jewelry, listen to poetry, drumming, or the Cal Band, and relax with refreshments from local merchants at outside tables and umbrellas. A perfect day to make summer memories with friends & family!

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5. Atletico Madrid at San Jose Earthquakes | Sunday, July 27th | 4pm| Candlestick Park, San Francisco | For those of you who didn’t get enough soccer from the World Cup, we have an exciting game this weekend right here in our backyard! On Sunday, the infamous Candlestick will be transformed for the Earthquake’s Copa Euroamericana match against UEFA Champions League finalist Atletico Madrid. Tickets are running from $25-$200. If you love the game of soccer, you can’t miss this event! 

Will you be attending any of these awesome events?! Let us know if we missed any in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter


5 Ways to Use Color to Communicate an Event’s Message

Different hues & color combinations can support your event’s message by helping to cement ideas or feelings in attendees.

Colors & color schemes create an ambiance at event venues  both consciously and unconsciously. At ABCey Events, we have rounded up our top five tips on ways to utilize the psychology of color effectively at your next event!

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1. Consider contrast levels

The number of colors and the contrast between them creates different effects. Less variation and low contrast is more calming, while multicolor and high contrast creates a more energetic & vibrant vibe. Consider the theme of your event as well as the season you are planning to have it in. Fall is perfect for burnt orange & brown shades and Spring calls for pastels!

2. Adjust chromas to make the combinations of color work

There are no bad or wrong colors, there are only some unfortunate combinations. The chroma of the color you use will make it right. If you want colors that are more harmonious, or close on the color wheel, you still want contrast to vary their values & accents.

3. Be aware of iconic color combinations

Avoid color schemes that will remind people of different corporations. For example, red and gold could remind attendees of a fast-food place because people have such a connection to the hues you’ve chosen. But if you opt for a rich red and brushed gold, people aren’t going to think McDonald’s. Get creative and mix it up!

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4. Always incorporate the corporate color of the host or sponsor

Even if it’s color message is contrary to the event’s message, this is an important tip! The logo color could be used minimally and softly at a corporate meditation session to just punctuate the event, for example.

5. Study successful color messages

The beauty of color is that the more you know, the more you know how to use it. Look at luxury ad campaigns for clues of color palettes that evoke a psychological response, or note the fun, bright colors in kids’ products for examples of what works! Play it up!

What are your favorite color combinations to communicate a message to attendees? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter!


Utilizing Loyalty to Make Your Event a Success

Loyalty has been used in marketing for hundreds of years but it is perhaps in the past 40 years that we have really seen the growth of loyalty programs.  Programs such as airline frequent flyer points, credit card points, coffee shop loyalty cards or hotel club memberships are all examples of this growth.

This type of marketing is all about repeat business and if you run regular, or even annual events then you will know that repeat attendees are an incredibly important group of people; both in terms of direct bookings, but also because they help you advertise your event to their peers. At ABCey Events, we cherish these relationships and wanted to share a few ideas that can be borrowed from loyalty programs to make your next event a huge success! 

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 1. Make Previous Attendees Feel Privileged: When announcing a new event think about the ways that you could make previous attendees feel exclusive. For example, you could leverage principles from airline loyalty schemes such as priority boarding by telling these people that you have reserved them a seat in the front row as long as they confirm before a certain date. Or perhaps you could offer them a free gift such as a shopping voucher or a free night in a nice local hotel if you know they are traveling from a distance.

2. More is Better: It’s true, we are all greedy and we all like more – aim to give a few additional surprises at your event that the attendees were not expecting. This will make your event memorable for all! This could be utilized in the form of a bonus speaker that the attendees were not expecting, a free gift for all, or even a surprise drink reception!

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3. Incentivize Feedback: Positive feedback is a mechanism to confirm a good experience in someone’s mind. By asking all attendees at your event for feedback you will firstly give yourself the opportunity to improve your next event, but you will also improve loyalty amongst this group of people as it shows that you care about their opinions! For the people that give you positive feedback, it has the effect of helping them to relive and solidify in their mind the memory of something that they enjoyed. This positive recognition is very helpful when you contact them about future events as they are more likely to attend and also to share your event information with their peers.

4. Build Strong Relationships with Your Speakers: Having positive relationships with speakers will make more speakers come your way and want to work with you in the future.If your speakers enjoy being at your event and they have a strong rapport with you, this will be visible to all. 

Events are a great opportunity to build a personal bond with your most loyal customers so make sure that you reward & incentivize them appropriately! Will you be using these tips to create that bond? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter

 


Tech Tuesday: Maximizing Event ROI

Tech Tuesday highlights the best and brightest ideas in the tech world. ABCey would like to recognize these up and coming technologies for their innovative ideas and impact on the event world!

ROI applies to everything. From your events to your event management tech, being able to measure your return on investment is a vital element to your organizational success for both attendees & planners. If you are looking to increase your event ROI, one of the best places to start is with your technology! Here are our top 3 picks for the best apps & software to consider to help with this task!

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1. iWaz.at: We all know the feeling. We enter a conference and realize we don’t know anything about anyone there.  iWaz.at automatically generates detail-rich profiles for each and every attendee. It’s impossible to talk to everyone at a conference, so iWaz.at helps you discover things about attendees so that you can make the most of the event! Agendas, exhibitor profiles, event info, and branding can all be built to improve the conference experience. For organizers, raising audience engagement can mean increased attendance, greater positive referrals and a boost to your bottom line!

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 2.Pickevent: Pickevent is the world’s first professional events network that connects attendees, speakers, and event organizers. Started by Jose Bart in February, it ensures that you never end up at an event that doesn’t interest you. It helps you find events worth attending based on your personal interests. And the networking doesn’t stop once the event is over! You can review the speakers and event organizers to inform the community about what works and what doesn’t. 

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3. evvnt: For organizers, getting your event out there isn’t easy. There’s a veritable plethora of places that you can advertise with and listing each one can a time consuming & labor intensive process. Launched by Richard Green in April 2013, event does the legwork for you, distributing your event to a network of listing sites. They can add your event to as many as 90 sites & apps, from Eventbrite and Facebook to local listings exactly where you need them! Within 24 hours of listing each event, you will receive a full report, showing where your events are listed, how many people have seen them and how many clicks you’ve received…Talk about networking! 

Will you be using any of these apps or software prior to attending or planning a conference or event?! Let us know which one you think seems most useful in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter! 


DIY: Vintage Marquee Sign

With the summer season now upon us,  ABCey is  continuing with our DIY creations in full force!  This Marquee light up sign can be customized to send any message of your choice to attendees at an event. It is a great decor addition for your room, event, or in our case – a wedding! This DIY project is simple to create and not many materials are needed. Read on for steps on how to create a similar sign! 

IMG_0922Materials:  

– 12 inch paper maché block letters

– Globe string lights (ours were purchased online from Target)

– Spray paint                                     

Tools:

– Exacto knife

– Heavy duty duck tape          

IMG_0886Once your materials are in order, start by using the exacto knife to cut out the top of each letter. Remove the top piece and any cardboard supports inside. You can either save this top piece for future projects or recycle it, but we won’t be needing it for this one.

IMG_0888Next up, flip your letters upside down and cut x’s where you want bulbs to go. Then punch out the hole using the dull side of your exacto knife. Repeat this with all your letters.IMG_0892Next step is spray paint! Head to a rooftop, backyard, or other well-ventilated space to get your spray paint on. We recommend laying a cardboard down to protect your work area. Flip the letters so the hollow side is facing up and apply your spray paint in 3 coats to get a nice solid color. Let it dry for 10 minutes between each layer. 

IMG_0920While the letters are drying, unscrew all the bulbs from the string. Then when they’re dry, flip them upside down again and in reverse order. Start inserting the back of the light string from the side that you do not intend to plug into the wall (aka the “female” end). You may have to connect 2 or 3 strands together to spell out your whole word. Insert the back portion of the light strand into each hole, making sure to start and end each letter at the bottom.

IMG_0921To hide those annoying wires, tape them down into place and secure with masking or duct tape so they won’t show when you flip the letters back over. If you don’t have time to do this step, you can skip it, but it really does help the letters look cleaner and more professional! Then, flip the letters over and screw in the bulbs. Now the moment you’ve been waiting for, plug them in and watch the letters be transformed!

What do you think of the light up marquee sign?! Will you be creating one for you next event? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter


ABCey’s Weekend Lineup: 6.20.14 – 6.22.14

This weekend is looking to be a great one, all around the Bay Area! There are countless FREE opportunities to take advantage of to enjoy music, watch some soccer, and take in the beauty of San Francisco.  At ABCey Events, we have put together a list of our favorite weekend picks! Give some love back to our community by participating in a beach clean up, or consider food & drink tasting at the Ferry Building to donate to sustainable agriculture! Whichever way you choose to spend your weekend, it is guaranteed to be a great one! 

summerthing2014-770Featured Event: Alice’s Summerthing | Sunday, June 22nd | 12:00-5:00pm | Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park SF | This weekend is Alice @ 97.3’s annual FREE concert in the park featuring some awesome guests! Summerthing celebrates everything we love most about summer – live music, sun, fun, good vibes, food trucks and more! How lucky are we to live in such a beautiful city that holds free concerts on a regular basis?! This event is open to all ages and doors open at 10:30am so get on out there to celebrate this sunny weather.

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1. International Surfing Day Party | Friday, June 20th | 4:00pm-8:00pm | Baker Beach SF, North Parking Lot | This event is open to all surfers & non-surfers and provides an opportunity to come together in celebration of our coastal beaches. In honor of International Surfing Day, San Francisco is organizing a beach cleanup to give something back to the oceans, waves, and beaches that give us all so much! Volunteers will be offered a picnic with BBQ & beverages after the clean-up. KITS Live 105 will provide the music all night to keep you grooving and is a guaranteed good time! Grab those garden gloves and meet us at the beach to show some TLC to our gorgeous beaches!

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2. Summer Solstice Celebration in the Redwoods | Saturday, June 21st | 6:00pm-8:00am | SF Botanical Garden (1199 9th Ave.) | Join us in celebration of the longest day of the year! Participate in an age-old tradition of celebrating midsummer on the solstice, marking the astronomical beginning of summer. Enjoy two complimentary glasses of California wine and nibble on local cheeses while strolling through the 100-year-old Redwood grove. Explore the lush trails of woodland sorrel, wild ginger, and sword ferns. This is an excellent opportunity to ring in the summer season and meet new people in San Francisco! For members the entry fee is $20 and $30 for nonmembers. 

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3. USA vs. Portugal: 2014 World Cup Live Screening Outdoor Party | Sunday, June 22nd | All Day | Civic Center, SF |  SF Recreation & Parks will once again be hosting live game screenings of select matches of the 2014 World Cup live from Brazil on a big screen (we’re told it’s  13 x 17) at Civic Center right in front of City Hall. This event will be filled with mini soccer games, youth skills clinics, face painting, and a photo booth with soccer props! The USA takes on Portugal at 3pm sharp and red, white & blue is highly recommended for attire! Show off your patriotism for our soccer team at this FREE event! 

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4. CUESA’s 4th Annual Summer Celebration | Sunday, June 22nd | 6:00pm-9:00pm | Ferry Building Farmers Market | Join CUESA (Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture) in kicking off the summer harvest (and solstice) in one delicious bite! All bites and sips will showcase farmers market produce at the peak of the summer season. Stroll the halls of the iconic Ferry Building while you enjoy unlimited food and drink at the themed tasting areas. Tickets are $125, $85 of which is a tax deductible donation. Proceeds from the night provide much-needed support for CUESA’s ongoing education initiatives, including free cooking demos, kitchen skill-building classes, the Schoolyard to Market youth entrepreneurship program, and sustainability scholarships for farmers. This is great opportunity to put your money to a great cause while enjoying the amazing cuisine of SF! 

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5. 10th Annual SF Pinot Days | Saturday, June 21st | 2:00pm-5:00pm | Metreon City View Room (135 4th St.) | If you love pinot noir this festival is meant for you! Pinot Days is a wine event that celebrates pinot noir in its many styles, ranging from modern to earthy to elegant. This festival  celebrates the passionate people who make pinot noir and will influence you to explore new producers, find wines you love and can afford, and become a pinot devotee if you are not one already! The tasting festival open to the public is $75 and the VIP seminar & early entry tasting (12:00pm-5:00pm) is $125.

Will you be attending any of these events this weekend? Which ones?! Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!


DIY Event Decor & Gift Ideas

Summer is here and it’s time to DIY! The freedom to customize colors and create something all on your own is what we love most about crafting. This week, we’ve found five ideas that can be utilized as fun decor for events, or can be gifted to friends & family. The possibilities are endless with DIY projects, so channel your inner Martha Stewart and give these DIY’s a try! 

edible-flower-pot-healthy1. Edible Flower Pot: This DIY project allows you to essentially have your flowers and eat them too! All you will need to create this jar is colored paper to create the flowers, and the ingredients for the chocolate yogurt and granola. The chocolate yogurt is made up of 12 ounces greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and ½  teaspoon of almond extract. To top it off, the chocolate granola ingredients is 1 cup granola, 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 teaspoon of cocoa powder, ⅛ cup of chopped almonds, and ⅛ cup of coconut. This delicious idea was found on The House That Lars Built and can be used as a name card at parties or given as a gift to those with a sweet tooth! 

Beer-Main1-645x4292. Beer Bottle Vases: This colorful project was discovered on Brit + Co and puts an awesome twist on the ordinary flower vase! After peeling off the labels of the bottle, you will need spray paint (colors of your choice!), painter’s tape, and puff paint. Grab the tape to start creating designs and voila! Puff paint can be used to create dotted designs that pop out from the bottle. Make sure to let dry for about 30 minutes before spray painting. The finished product makes a beautiful vase for centerpieces or the perfect housewarming gift!

finished+hack-7959743. Chevron Cork Board: Wine corks have a great amount of versatility when it comes to DIY projects, so save them up! This project found on IKEA Hackers is a fun way to display pictures or information at an event. After gathering corks, you will need a drill frame, spray paint, foam core, cardboard, and a glue gun. Remove the glass and cut a piece of foam core to fit behind the cardboard oval. Prime and paint the frame with spray paint, then lay out the chevron pattern on cardboard. Using a hot glue gun, glue the corks in pattern and hang it up for display!

234961305534054562 4. Lemon Boat Name Card: With it being summer right now, we couldn’t help but include these adorable name cards in our top picks for DIY projects! You will needs lemons (obviously!), toothpicks, and two types of printed paper to complete the sail boat. Cut the paper into curved half triangles and glue them to both sides of the tooth pick. Your guests are guaranteed to be impressed by your creation! This idea was found on Delightful Projects.

WM_PLNTR_070-500x7505. Hanging Garden: Ring in summer with this simple DIY hanging planter to add a splash of green indoors or outdoors! The step-by-step guide to this project was found on Design Sponge. To create the hanging garden you will need 2 square terra-cotta pots, 1 bundle of cotton clothesline cord (50 feet), 1 bundle of green cotton venetian-blind cord, 1 brass snap hook, and 8 to 16 wooden beads. Thread the clothesline and green cord through the snap hook and feed your cords through the draining holes in the pots. Flip the pot over and repeat the steps to add the second pot. Gather the excess rope and knot it at the bottom. Attach the beads to each cord, knotting below to secure in place. Once the pots are hanging, add your plants and display your vertical garden! 

Will you be trying any of these DIY projects? Let us know your favorite one and share pictures of your completed creation with us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!


Startup Monday: et al

Startup Monday is ABCey’s weekly post that features some of the best and brightest companies in the Bay Area. They are often companies that we have our eye on or have worked with in the past & would like to share with friends and followers of ABCey Events.

It has happened to all of us – your friends are planning a group dinner or a special outing and cannot decide what amazing restaurant in San Francisco to try, let alone coordinate a date or time that works well with everybody. This situation typically results in those dreaded long threads of back-and-forth email conversations that overflow your inbox. We believe we have found the perfect phone app that will resolve this issue! 

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Et al eliminates the email chains and instead give you a way to make plans with your friends in a way that is quick, easy, and most importantly, fun! The phone app allows guests to vote on date, time, and location options. Once votes are in, the details are finalized and an RSVP is requested by everyone. Et al also has text and email syncing capabilities so you’ll never miss an invite! Chat messaging and photo sharing are other features that add to this amazing phone app! 

Jenny Hunt founded et al and the app is her vision for a simple and aesthetic experience that makes planning getaways and get-togethers with friends fun again. The app is  available on the iPhone and the website offers full functionality as well. Et al is great for hosting a dinner party, bridal parties, weekend trips, or even wine night! We love that et al makes the planning process simple & easy; therefore we can spend more time enjoying the presence of others!

What do you think of et al? Will you be using it for your next get together? Please let us know in comments on Facebook and Twitter!