It is possible to still host celebrations like birthdays, new babies on the way, engagements, etc., even in this time of sheltering in place. Let us show you how to throw a fabulous virtual party during social distancing and quarantine.
In fact, I think in this time of isolation, it’s even more important than ever that we celebrate together. But how do we do it? We do it virtually!
Hosting a virtual party is a lot easier to do than you think. In fact, chances are you’ve got time on your hands to plan. :)
7 Steps for How to Throw a Fabulous Virtual Party During Social Distancing
STEP 1: Send Online Party InvitationsLet your guests know about your party! Start by sending online invitations. Here are our favorite online invitations sites:
Evite - If you want to go old school and send some quick and free invites use this!
Paperless Post - You'll have to pay for these, but they're oh so pretty!
SmileBox - Here's another free online invitation site. There are some cute ones here too.
Next, you need a virtual platform to host your party on.
STEP 2: Pick From One of Our Most Popular Virtual Party Platforms
Zoom - $14.99 for up to 100 guestsThis our favorite party platform! Zoom started as a place to host virtual meetings, but can you used for so much more. Zoom makes it easy to talk with multiple people at once. And Zoom has some cool features like a button called “Touch Up My Appearance,” which casts a soft focus over the video display, smoothing out your skin. And you can add custom backdrops to hide messy bedrooms. Zoom is easy to use and very flexible.
Google Hangouts - free for up to 10 guestsThis is our second favorite platform! Hangouts are a great way to have a video call with up to 10 guests. On the platform, you can share photos, videos, maps, emoji, stickers, and animated GIFs. This is a flexible platform. You can even use it to play Jackbox games on.
Houseparty - free for up to 8 peopleHouseparty is a free app owned by the people at Epic Games, creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine. Houseparty had recently begun moving into gaming, with features like integrated games and screen sharing, and perfect for chatting with friends while playing Fortnite!
FaceTime (for iPhone and iMac users) - free for up to 32 peopleWhat’s great about FaceTime is it’s built right into your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Mac. This makes it easy to use for a party, but the only downside is that everyone needs to have a Mac device. Because of its ease, this is a great option, and no other technology is needs to be downloaded or installed. This is great for a spontaneous get-together!
Group Video Chat in Facebook Messenger - free for up to 50 peopleFacebook’s Group Video Chat is super easy to use. You can see up to six people at a time but you can invite up to 50 friends. People can choose to listen in via voice or via camera. Once more than six people are on the call, just the dominant speaker shows to all the party guests.
STEP 3: Use These 5 Easy Virtual Party Planning TipsOnline parties are easy to set up, but to guarantee their success, they might need a little more organization than a typical party. This is because at a virtual party, everyone is online together.
People can’t organically break off into smaller groups to talk or socialize. Therefore, you need to keep everyone engaged. Here are our most important virtual party planning tips.
1.) Set a virtual party agendaWe recommend you set an agenda for the party and let everyone know what to expect. You might even want to put together a slide deck in Google Slides, to share with your guests to keep things organized. And you might want to schedule in some surprise games or activities to keep up the level of excitement.
2.) Set a start time and end time—typically an hourThis gets everyone on the same page and will keep your guests from dropping out. We recommend setting it for an hour and if it goes longer, there's no reason not to extend it!
3.) Ship each guest party supplies beforehandDepending on how much preparation you want to do before the party, you can ship each guest a party in a box with basic decorations, or even a cupcake in a jar for singing “Happy Birthday.” This step is totally optional. Your online party can be super fun without any extras, but for you Type-As out there who need to keep busy, you might want to try this.
4.) Give your party a theme and ask your guests to participateYou can ask your online guests to dress in costume or create something related to the theme (a song, a dance, etc.). You can even give out awards for different categories (best costume, funniest dance, best joke, etc.).
5.) Plan a final celebratory momentIt's always fun for your party to end with a bang, so think about an epic ending. That could be bringing out a cake, everyone dimming their lights at home, and singing "Happy Birthday," a gender reveal if it's a baby shower, or even a final toast. We always recommend you leave your guests with a final memory!
STEP 4: Choose Some Virtual Party ActivitiesWe recommend you set up some fun party online activities for your remote party guests.
One of the most popular activities is online games and there are a variety of ways to play them with your friends.
Virtual Party Games
- Jackbox Games - an online service where everyone plays on their phones and computers (Google Hangouts is a great platform for this). Party packs are available with games like You Don't Know Jack, Dribbage, Drawful, etc.
- Game Pigeon - an iMessage plugin that let's you play games through text
- Online Jeopardy - play the original game remotely with all your friends
- Minecraft - Easy to jump on a server with your guests, turn on the monsters and see what happens!
- Roblox - This is a platform filled with "obbies" (obstacle course games) and other games that are fun to play as a group
Virtual Movie WatchingWatch a Netflix movie with your virtual friends and chat while you're watching it using the Chrome extension, NetflixParty.
Netflix Party synchronizes the Netflix movie so it plays at the same time for everyone, and adds group chat for more social fun.
Virtual Crafting, Cooking, or Knitting PartyShip your guests an activity in a box or create your own activity (just let people know beforehand so they can get their supplies ready), and spend time crafting, cooking, scrapbooking, or DIYing together. I think this would be a very welcome and relaxing party activity.
Low Tech Online Party ActivitiesIntroduce Your Pet - Everyone go around and introduce their pets to the group
Show and Tell - Show off one unexpected thing in your house
Truth or Dare - Lay it all on the line and tell the truth (or do a dare) with your online friends
STEP 5: Use Our Free Virtual Party Printables
"Happy Birthday" Virtual Party HatTo help you celebrate during this time of uncertainty, we wanted to offer a fun free printable birthday party hat. This can be worn by all the guests, or just the guest of honor. Print it out, cut it out, attach a string to both sides, and have some "Happy Birthday" fun!
"Help a Neighbor" During Quarantine Free PrintableAs a way to be there for those in need during this time of sheltering in place, please use this "Help a Neighbor" free printable to give to your neighbors who might need some extra assistance.
It's an easy way to be there for a neighbor or friend.
STEP 6: Add Your Virtual Parties to Our Site So We Can Show Them OffOnce you've had your virtual party, please add it to our site so we can show it off.
Just click on the "Add a Party" link in our nav bar and follow the simple steps to add your photos and text. We'd love to see what you do and share it wit our community!