Throw The Best Virtual Party Ever
With social distancing in place, and a full-on potential lockdown around the corner, it has become next to impossible to do a lot of things, including see friends, fam, and loved ones. But even though you can’t see these people in the flesh, it’s still important to stay connected – otherwise I think we can all agree we would lose our minds – and cabin fever would kick into overdrive. It’s also crucial to check in with people at a time like this, especially as so many people are completely alone.
During this time, our goal is it to stay positive and feel uplifted in whatever way we can, all while following the guidelines and restrictions Public Health has advised. I don’t know about you guys, but for us, what keeps us positive is good company, paired with some games, music, a good bevy and just letting the good times roll! Basically, we’re trying to have fun like we always do, just modifying our approach to fit with the times. With that in mind, we’ve hopped on the virtual party bandwagon. We did some research, experienced some trial and error and think we have a really good handle on what works best. So we put together a fool-proof guide to throwing the best virtual party of all-time. Buckle up.
- A laptop (or phone, but laptops are recommended for the bigger screen)
- Wifi connection
- Your peoples <3
- Headphones (recommended to hear people more clearly, but not necessary)
- Fun accessories for implementing a fun theme – more on that below
Our approach was simple: we wanted to make this party feel the least URL and most IRL possible! So we stuck to what we knew best and treated this party like every other party. Here’s our formula:
1. Choose a Theme – Make it as special as possible! The silver lining to hosting a virtual party is that its the most budget-friendly hang ever. Everyone’s in charge of bringing their own booze, snacks, napkins, plates, EVERYTHING… so channeling that effort into a good theme is how you, as a host, can contribute! Plus, suggesting that guests dress up is a really fun way to visually bring some of that party energy into the chat room and make it special. Here are some themes to choose from…
- Island Vibes (which is what we went with)
- Glam Rock
- Red Carpet
- Onesies Only
2. Choose Your Video Conference Software – We did the research for you and tried a couple of accounts out there. The two that landed on top were Zoom & Whereby…here’s why:
- Zoom’s free plan is awesome, you can have up to 100 participants but the catch is your “meeting” aka party ends after 40 minutes. Technically, you could have someone else host the next party and all enter the next chatroom, and so on and on, but that could kill the vibes.
- Whereby compares with an endless “meeting duration” but you can only have 4 participants. So if your party is four people this the best plan for you!
- For more participants and endless “meeting duration” the next plan thats budget friendly is Whereby’s Pro plan that hosts up to 12 participants for $9.99. Not bad right? If have more than 12 guests, Zoom’s Pro Plan hosts up to 100 participants with endless “meeting duration” for 19.99/month. Check and compare both those plans here for Zoom, and here for Whereby. We advise you think ahead, this month alone, 3 of our close friends have birthdays and we would imagine there would be more the 12 participants joining in, so we went with Zoom pro’s plan.
3. Make Invitations – We used Facebook events to invite guests and track attendance. Take it to the next level with a design app like Canva to create your Facebook Event page background to get it to flow with the theme. Ours looked like this:
Fun right? Also, don’t forget to copy the meeting link right into the Facebook event so everyone knows where they need to be come party time!
Play up the theme, TO THE MAX – Like I said earlier, you’re going to want to elevate aspects of this event to make up for the fact that it’s a virtual party… so play up that theme as much as you can! Here’s how:
- Have a suggested cocktail or mocktail that works with the theme. We went with a tropical beach party, so our suggested cocktail was our Coconut Creamsicle Cocktail (you can grab the recipe here). It not only fit with the theme, but the ingredients were simple, so hopefully everyone had everything they needed to make it at home. We recommend posting the recipe (or link to one of ours, like a classic Pina Colada) in the invite so people can be prepped and have theirs ready in time!
- Make a theme-based username – eg: Rachel’s name for the Beach Theme Party was ‘Ray of Sunshine’, you can look up themed based name generators if you’re stumped. Name Generator is a good one.
- Have a playlist that fits your theme for your guests to play through their headphones from their laptops. The volume can be turned down from any music playing app so it’s not over powering the sound of everyone chatting.
- Add a fun background. There’s so many different backgrounds you can download for Zoom, Whereby or whatever program you choose to use. We downloaded a free beach theme from Canva, but we guarantee there will be one that fist with whatever theme you choose.
Get a Group Game Going- We dug up all the info you need to make this a full-blown Virtual Games Night! We like the idea of shifting to games when you have a big group, because it can be difficult to navigate a conversation when you’ve got 16 people in the mix. It’s not like a real party where you can break off into smaller groups for conversation, you know? So games are an easy way to get everyone involved and keep it somewhat organized.
The secret to a good virtual games night is Jackbox games. Right now, they are giving away one of our fave games, Drawful 2, for free! In Drawful, each player receives a weird and unique prompt that they must try to draw on their mobile device (without the aid of an eraser – which Alyssa did not like because she wanted her drawing to be on a whole other level). After each “artist” presents their work, everyone else anonymously submits a title that could fit this bizarre drawing. Trust us, it’s super fun. We love that Drawful is free right now, because it allows you to see if you like it before committing to one of Jackbox’s PARTY PACKS, which sell for various prices. A personal fave of our is The Jackbox Party Pack 3, because the combo of games is hella fun! All the simple instructions (including a tutorial as to how to play these games while conferencing on ZOOM) are available on their site. There are also other apps like Houseparty, an online Karaoke game through the app Smule, Cards Against Humanity and a ton other games via PlayingCards.io. OR, share your screen and put on some YouTube!
The rest is up to your gang! Get ready for this to be a regular thing, so you might as well master it, especially if you’ve got the month subscription!
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