7 Ways to Throw the Best Virtual Party

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With the current context surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to adapt and respect social distancing measures. As a result, people have had to find new ways to connect and communicate with their friends and loved ones. We’ve all participated in a video conference for work or school but it’s the first time people are celebrating birthdays, happy hours, baby showers or important milestones virtually.

Now more than ever, people and companies are turning to virtual parties to have fun and make their routines more exciting. If you’re thinking of hosting an online party and don’t know where to start, here’s a list of tips and everything you need to know to throw a seamless virtual party.

 

What is a virtual party?

A virtual party is an online gathering of friends, colleagues or family members that party or spend some time separately but together, using a video conference platform. These digital get togethers are a new way for people to connect with each other, regardless of the distance that separates them. Throwing a virtual party can be just as heartwarming, fun, and wild as an IRL (in real life) one, you just have to figure out which platform to use and have a good time.

Need help throwing a virtual event?

 

Tips on how to throw a virtual party

Hosting a virtual party is doable. Hosting a successful virtual party, however, takes a lot of work and planning. Here’s a checklist of what to do to host an online party.

 

The ultimate virtual party checklist

1. Make a guest list

Make a thoughtful guest list, the number of people in attendance can make or break a virtual event. Inviting too many people can make your video conference a little too crowded and confusing. Pick your number of guests depending on how you want to spend the party. If you’re planning on having a conversation, 8 to 10 guests of your family or friends will work just fine. If you’re having a birthday party, 20 is your number. But if you are someone with too many friends and you don’t want to miss anybody, increase the number of guests and choose the right platform for it.

 

2. Plan a time

Poor timing can result in lower attendance. So it’s better if you try to pick a time that suits all your guests. You may have young, adult, or even international attendees so it’s important to know when to start your party. Young people and adults generally have a different idea of what time the party should start, you can compromise between the two periods of time given by both.

When it comes to the party length, two to three hours works well. It should be enough for you and your family and friends to settle in, celebrate, and enjoy each other’s company. Also, unless you’re planning to eat on-screen together, it’s best to avoid meal times.

 

3. Pick the suitable platform for the party

When choosing a video platform you have to consider some important details like the number of guests and the not so tech savvy people you have on your guest list. Some of them will need extra assistance so try to pick a simple platform that best suits your attendees, your needs and can host all of your guests within your budget.

 

4. Send your guests an invitation

To make it more official, send a party invitation to your guests along with the link to the conference room call (via Zoom or Google Hangouts, for example). It doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple email with any pertinent information is enough. You can put the start and end time of the party and provide some tips on how to use the platform to make sure everyone can be on time.

 

5. Have a theme

If you’re opting for a casual party, you don’t need to make a theme. However, you should know that adding a theme to your virtual party will make your guests more excited about attending it. Try to find something common between your guests (a song they like, a movie, a public figure, etc.) and choose it as a theme or just ask them to simply dress in costumes and let them express themselves.

 

6. Plan an activity

Depending on your budget, the time, the type of online party, and who’s attending it, prepare a list of activities you can share together. If you’re throwing a kid’s birthday party you can bring a magician or a musician. They offer services by the hour on different video platforms.

If you have an older audience, you can choose activities such as watching a movie together. There’s a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, where you can watch a movie together online. You can also opt for a karaoke night and sing on Youtube. Activities are like an icebreaker, they help change the mood and get people to feel more at ease.

 

7. Present a gift opening session

If you’re hosting a virtual birthday party or a virtual baby shower, you can have your guests mail or drop off the presents at a safe distance a day before the event so that the guest of honor can open the gifts on video chat.

 

Activity ideas for a virtual party

Whether you’re looking for activities for game night or want to keep things calm by watching a movie together, our list of virtual party games and activities is suitable for every age.

  • Charades or Pictionary 

You can still play some classic party games like Charades and Pictionary even without being in the same room. You can prepare the themes ahead so you don’t waste time at your party, or you can try the built-in versions on the Houseparty app.

  • Netflix Party 

As mentioned, this platform allows you to binge-watch your favorite shows and movies with your friends and family. You can choose something to watch together and chat simultaneously on the group chat without interrupting the movie you’re watching. 

  • Virtual board games 

Virtual board games are usually the go to for a virtual fun time. Look for sites and apps with access to a bunch of different multiplayer board games that you can play together virtually like Scrabble, Monopoly or Risk. 

  • Drinking games

You can watch a movie or a show together and take a sip of your drink every time a quirky phrase is repeated. You can always change the rules as you go. Or you can also play a game called “Truth or Drink” where you ask each other questions and you choose either to answer or to drink.

  • Karaoke

You can sing and perform with your friends and family using Youtube’s plethora of karaoke videos. You can find karaoke-style instrumental videos of all your favorite songs on YouTube. Make it more fun by adding competition, you can make your friends rate each other after every song.

  • Dance Party

You can pick a theme and create a playlist based on that theme. You can make it a disco dance-off or a 90’s greatest hits throwback. A dance party can be an icebreaker and a good way to help release the stress of everyday life. 

  • Trivia Night

There are several ways in which you can play trivia games. You could make your own themed trivia, creating questions about a commonly loved series or film. You could also include inside jokes and personal facts among your circle.

 

Which platform to choose to host a virtual party?

When choosing a platform to host your online party, there are features you’ll want to look at like the video quality, the time limit, the number limit, the customized backdrops, etc. Here’s a list of the most used platforms for virtual gatherings.

 

Zoom

Zoom considered the classic go-to app for any type of virtual gathering especially during the pandemic. Zoom started as a place to host virtual meetings, but is now used for so much more. This platform makes it easy to talk with multiple people at once. It has some cool features like adding custom backdrops that you can use for your party theme. Zoom‘s free tier will only allow 100 attendees for a maximum of 40 minute. You have to consider upgrading your account if you need more time.

 

Skype

Skype is a video platform that can be used on multiple devices from phones to Xboxes. The limit number is 50 people in a single video chat. Skype’s free system can stutter and disconnect, which means you probably won’t be able to approach its four-hour or 50-user limit. However, it’s  one of the easiest ways to organize a video conference since it no longer requires its software to join or host virtual events. Skype is not the obvious choice but it can do the job.

 

Facebook’s Messenger Rooms

Messenger Rooms is a tool for virtual hangouts that gathers up to 50 people and allows friends to drop in on you whenever they like, which is not ideal if you have a specific list of guests. However, once all your guests have joined the video conference, you make it a private video call. Unlike Zoom, Rooms doesn’t impose time limits on chats and meetings.

Google Meet

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Meet (formerly known as Google Hangouts) took things up a notch and made it possible to host a virtual party with up to 250 guests instead of just 25. This app allows you to share photos, videos, maps, emojis and animated GIFs. You can even use it to play Jackbox games.

 

Netflix Party

Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows you to sync your movie or tv show with your friends. It also includes a group chat feature where you can talk and share comments without interrupting the movie.  You should know that Netflix Party only requires one person to install the extension. So if you’re planning on inviting your guests to a movie night, the set up would be simple.

 

Need help throwing a virtual party?

Hiring a virtual event planner will definitely make it easier for you. One of the biggest perks of getting the help of a professional team is that they handle all of the creative process and logistics. Oftentimes, companies do not have the time, equipment or expertise required to produce a seamless online event. In order to have a smooth and successful virtual event, from virtual birthday parties to company events, a well executed deployment is essential.

Coeuralouvrage.com offers virtual services like virtual team building activities for companies to help team leaders to strengthen bonds between employees. We also offer virtual office parties, online workouts, and virtual active breaks. Our goal is to help you get through these forced remote working and social distancing times by planning virtual events and activities to do in the comfort of your home.

Need help planning a virtual event? Contact us