Just because we are spending more time online doesn’t make an event less special or that it should be on hold. Entering a new year means celebratory birthdays, holidays, and milestones are amongst us. Virtual events can bring family and friends together to share those big moments from all around the world. Here is my ultimate virtual party guide and checklist to ensure your party goes off without a hitch.
Step 1: The cause for celebration
In the invitation, it's crucial to list the cause for celebration! Are you and your loved ones coming together to celebrate a birthday, baby shower, graduation, engagement? Once you decide on the type of milestone you are celebrating, it's best to find out the date and time that will work for everyone's schedules and timezones! Depending on the amount of people attending we recommend the ideal party length to be between 1.5 to 3 hours. This time frame allows enough time for people to settle in (fix any tech issues), fun activities and good banter.
Step 2: What's the theme?
I love pondering the theme to any party I plan to host (virtually or in-person). The theme can be determined with 1-2 colors used in the invitation, itinerary, and activities which helps deliver consistency with a personal touch! Themes help tie everything together and adds an extra special touch when celebrating from a distance. You can even encourage attendees to decorate their space based on the theme and share who had the best decorations!
Step 3: Virtual Location
There are plenty of apps and platforms to host a virtual event in today's tech world, depending on how many individuals are attending. However, the two favorites I have used are Google Hangouts and Zoom. The reason is that I can have over a dozen attendees join! The only downside is you would need an account to use these platforms. You can also use HouseParty, which hosts up to eight attendees, and you can play games within the platform. Even Messenger Rooms (no account needed) work as another option, especially if you don't want to ask your attendees to create a new account.
Step 4: Invitations
Virtual invites are just as crucial for virtual events as they are in person and should be treated as such. They can be both informal (text) or formal (evite or email). We recommend a calendar request also be included with the invitation or when the attendee says YES! The invite should list all the details you would share for any party invite. For example, below is a simple guideline of details to include, but feel free to add more flair than what we did:
Step 5: Activities
Keep the energy going with virtual activities and believe it or not; there are quite a few games you can play virtually. One of my personal favorites is playing Pictionary (using the Zoom whiteboard), a Dance Party, or even a Mad Lib! Stay tuned to our next blog on virtual activities you can play, including FREE downloadable templates.
Step 6: Itinerary
Itineraries help keep things moving even as the agenda changes. Have a loose itinerary to use as a guideline and use it to keep the fun rolling.
Here is an itinerary I put together for a previously virtually held event:
Step 7: Assign a co-host
When it comes to hosting a virtual, one thing for sure is although you can do it alone, you shouldn’t do it alone. Ideally, you want someone organized and tech-savvy – this role will monitor time (keep things moving), assist with tech issues, and set up the games (share screen). The second co-host would be more active as a game leader for instructions and banter (break the ice).
Step 8: Reminders
Your invitations are out, the itinerary is set, and all the props for your themed event have been ordered! Just one more thing to do is share a reminder for yourself to ensure you begin to set up everything on time without any technical difficulty.
Step 9: Enjoy & have fun!
You did it - it’s the big day, and everything is all set to go! Now that everything is planned ENJOY and HAVE FUN! Relax and enjoy the time spent together virtually online. Lastly, don’t forget a group picture because this will be one for the picture books.