The Planning Society Founder Dena’s husband celebrated a big milestone birthday last week, and in a very 2020 way…with a surprise Zoom birthday party! With #SaferAtHome in full effect, we predict that Zoom parties (whether they are virtual drinks, dinner parties, dance and karaoke parties, spa parties, Passover or Easter celebrations) will become more and more popular, and we have tips and tricks to make your Zoom party just as fun as a “regular” party.
“It was a lot of fun,” explains Dena. “Steven was so happy, appreciated the effort and enjoyed seeing his friends virtually. I think they enjoyed the ‘face to face’ guy time as well.”
Here are our best tips:
Send a formal invite
Dena used a Google Calendar invite, but you can also use other invite sites like Paperles Post and evite, which have virtual party invitations. You will want to make sure that all of your guests have a Zoom account.
Do a test run
This is so important, especially if you’re not super familiar with how Zoom works. “Since most of us have rarely if ever hosted a Zoom party, let alone knew what Zoom was a few weeks ago, I highly suggest doing a test run with a friend ahead of time to make sure you know how to navigate the link and ‘meeting’ properly,” tells Dena.
Dena spent time a few days before the party date planning out what kind of food she was going to order, the activates, the guests, etc. and swears that planning ahead was VIP. “The activity or food really can’t be last minute unless you order from DoorDash or Postmates. Local top catering companies are also taking orders for meal deliveries (for Passover and Easter too!) like Annie Campbell.
If you really want to take it up a notch, you can send all of your guests a party package to arrive before the party and include a favor, some party decor and cupcake with a candle.”
Have a dress code
Not mandatory, but have your guests get dressed up for the virtual party. “Since pajamas and loungewear seem to be everyone’s go-to these days, I made sure to tell my husband to be dressed by 5pm for his birthday surprise (he still had no idea what the surprise was going to be). It is a good excuse for everyone to get in the partying mood.”
You can even dress up your location for a more festive option by changing your Zoom background!
Have a schedule of activities
Having an agenda and schedule is a really nice way to keep the party on track and also make sure that the most important activities (like singing happy birthday!) get done. Not to mention, you don’t want the conversation to have awkward moments, so this helps to keep the fun going. Don’t forget that if you have the free version of Zoom, the call will end in 40 minutes, so you will need to update (Zoom is offering free upgrades for timed calls during the quarantine).
Dena’s Zoom birthday party schedule:
5pm: Everyone signs on and says “hi”/introductions for those people that may not know each other (we had friends from both coasts get on the call)
5:05pm: Guests tell a funny story about the birthday guy
5:15pm: Everyone chats, reminisces, and catches up
5:30pm: Raise their glasses for a celebratory toast
5:35pm: Sing happy birthday, then whoever wants to stay on can hang out and chat
Ask guests to have a funny story also ready to go
Aside from having cocktails ready, Dena also asked guests to come prepared with one or two fun(ny) stories to tell about her husband for the party (per the party schedule).
Set up the food and table like any other party
“For Steven’s birthday, I set the table really nicely, had Jon and Vinny’s “cater” take out, and I had my daughter’s friend who owns a baking company, Baked with Love by Ivy, make a cake to match the flowers I had arranged through Bloominous (before they closed their office for the quarantine).”
Tell guests to have drinks and cocktails ready
“I told the guys to have a glass of wine/whiskey/champagne (or their beverage of choice) to cheers Steven.”
Play some party games
If time permits, play some virtual party games like JackBox, Cards Against Humanity, Never Have I Ever, Words with Friends. virtual card games on CardzMania or Pandemic (although this may resonate too close to home these days).
What ideas do you have for virtual birthday parties? Tell us below.
Xx, The Planning Society