As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, we’ve all been doing our best to stay safe and practice social distancing. For most of us, this means Friday night happy hours at restaurants, Saturday brunch with friends, and Sunday dinners with extended family have been put on pause.
But, just because we can’t get together in the physical sense, doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other over a great meal. Living in the digital age gives us the ability to gather in a virtual space, so we don’t have to be “socially distant” while we practice social distancing.
Hosting a virtual dinner party is a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends and family, and share a laugh during these uncertain times. And it isn’t hard to pull together! In fact, hosting a virtual dinner party can be fun. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Choose a "Venue"
These days, many options are available to host a virtual group. With its previous use centered primarily on video conferencing for work, Zoom is a service many people are now using to video chat with multiple people outside of the office. Google Hangouts, Facetime, and even Facebook Group Messenger can also work, depending on group size and technology available to your party guests.
No matter which platform you choose, be sure to conduct a quick test run with a (non-judgmental!) friend or loved one, before the day of your party to work out any technology kinks.
Set the Stage for Fun
Just as you would for an “IRL”/in real life party, you’ll want to select the right mix of people to invite to your party that’s taking place online. Will your dinner party include co-workers and a “happy hour” atmosphere? Your close-knit group of friends for cocktails and catching up? Or relatives of all ages for an extended family dinner? Your guest list will inform the tone and theme for your virtual dinner party - an important step in planning a fun and appropriate event for all participants.
Once you have your guest list, you’ll want to select a theme to pull the party together. Your theme could center around a signature drink that everyone mixes together, you may wish to have everyone in your group order-in from your favorite restaurant. You could have something delicious delivered from GetMaineLobster.com, and organize a dinner party that revolves around preparing a delicious meal together. Why not throw something silly into the mix, such as wearing fancy hats or dressing up in your finest? The options are endless. This is a chance to get creative and have some fun!
Best Host Ever
The best hosts are able to keep their parties going smoothly and conversations flowing with ease. This same principle is true of a virtual dinner party. From the very start, be sure to include clear instructions on joining your party when you send out invitations, and touch base with those who may be “technology-challenged” a day before your event to ensure they’re comfortable with logging into your given platform and able to join the fun.
Have a couple remarks ready to “greet” your guests once your party starts. A simple, “Thanks for joining everyone. I’m so glad all our family is here to celebrate dad’s birthday!” or “I miss our after work happy hours. Who else is ready to mix some drinks together and catch up!?” can go a long way in setting the tone.
Once the party gets rolling, throw out a couple conversation starter questions, or lead a participation-heavy game like Pictionary. Plan on playing the leader role (or have this piece delegated pre-event), if your virtual party involves an activity like mixing a drink or preparing a meal.
No need to stick to a rigid schedule or script - having a general idea of the flow is what’s key. Afterall, the goal is to have fun and connect with others! We could all use a smile right now - and maybe your party will even start a new tradition that carries on after these challenging times end.
And speaking of virtual parties...
We’re hosting our first virtual lobster roll luncheon on April 18, 2020! Make lobster rolls right along with Mark, get insider secrets on how to make and enjoy your lobster roll the traditional Maine way (which in our opinion is the most delicious), and much more. Keep an eye out for your invitation in your email - and if you haven’t joined our email list, now’s the time!