A Guide to Planning Next-Level Virtual Parties

By Lauren Caggiano on February, 25 2021
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website:

Whether a birthday party, baby shower, bridal shower, fundraiser, or just because, restrictions imposed by COVID-19 don’t have to ruin your fun. A virtual party is a way to unite friends, families and colleagues while keeping everyone safe. 

But where to begin? Take a few cues from seasoned event planners and keep the following in mind:

Pick a Theme

Just like an in-person event, it helps to have a theme to keep things interesting. The occasion will guide this decision and will be reflected in everything from the invitation to the activities of choice. The decision is personal and will hinge on the occasion.

Center the Event Around an Activity

For instance, you might consider a trivia night or some sort of contest. Who doesn't enjoy a little competition every now and then? If you go this route, it’s recommended to have one person running the show so that it doesn’t go off the rails. You can even hire a company to do this for you, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

Bring on the Fun

COVID has turned traditional events on their head, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your creativity to host a memorable get together. Yes, we’re talking about entertainment. Having entertainment adds elements of structure and focus to an online event. For instance, if it’s a bachelorette party, you might bring in a makeup artist who will show guests how to create a stunning evening look. Or maybe you hire a mixologist to show guests how to make a themed libation. Cheers to that!

 Regardless, coordinate the entertainment to arrive at a time that makes sense for the event flow, and make sure to introduce the performer so your guests know to give them their attention. Don’t be afraid to use the mute button for the sake of respect and maintaining control of the agenda. Depending on the group and if there’s alcohol involved, even online events can get rowdy!

 Don’t Forget Food and Drinks

Again, this element of the event is going to look differently than pre-COVID, but some outside-the-box thinking will take you far. For instance, if budget and time allow, you could coordinate the delivery of cupcakes and your beverage of choice in advance.

Or maybe making the food or drink is the entertainment. In this case, you’d just have to let guests know in advance which ingredients, equipment and utensils they’d need.

Have an Agenda

Virtual parties can get out of hand, since teleconference etiquette is still somewhat evolving. You’ll want to come up with the timeline and what guests can expect from your gathering to keep people engaged. Feel free to send this out in advance, and don’t hesitate to take the reins if chatty guests start to delay you.

Look for Inspiration

The good news is that in 2021 you have access to a wealth of party-planning resources. Think: Pinterest and Instagram. You can spend hours combing these platforms for ideas and put your own spin on them.

Enjoy the process and know that the days of (safe) in-person events will be here soon. In the meantime, you can bridge physical distance with some virtual camaraderie.