Hosting a digital cocktail party or virtual happy hour is a great way to practice social distancing and still hang out with your friends. We’re on week four of following the stay at home orders, so going out for drinks with friends after work or on the weekends isn’t an option right now.
But having cocktails (or non-alcoholic drinks) together by video chat can help you stay connected and fill that void. And let’s face it, us (food allergy) moms need to stick together and stay connected more than ever!
As a freelance journalist, I know a lot about social distancing that goes with working alone at home all day. I’ve learned to manage the isolation over the past 20 years. I make it a point to go out regularly with my friends on the weekends. I joined a mom’s book club last year and of course, I continue to serve at the boy’s school.
But since the beginning of March, I have not had the chance to connect with anyone face to face outside our household. While I’m embracing my inner introvert and using my time to get some major projects done, I do miss my friends during these social distancing days.
Last week, I got caught on an impromptu zoom call with three of my bestie mom friends. Our boys have been best buds since kindergarten and it was awesome to leverage cutting-edge technology to catch up.
Virtual Happy Hour is Fun, Free (Almost!) and Super Easy
It was the first time I’ve participated in a virtual happy hour – complete with laughs, wine and selfies!
I love hanging out with the hubs – just give us a fire pit, music and wine and we’re good to go. But afterward, I found myself in a more joyful mood. I was happy to talk, connect and have a sense of community with people I adore.
If you’re like me and looking for ways to stay connected during these crazy times, consider hosting a digital cocktail party. It’s fun, free and super easy.
Host a virtual happy hour get-together in just four simple steps!
1. Pick a Video Chat Platform For Your DIgital Cocktail Party
The most important part of hosting any digital party is picking the right meeting platform. You want to make sure all your guests have compatible software, so it’s a good idea to pick an app that’s universal among a variety of devices. If you’re not sure what types of virtual meeting software is available, consider these popular options:
Zoom – This popular app is the go-to choice for virtual business meetings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it, too! It’s compatible with a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, and desktop computers, so all your guests will be able to access your party with ease using Zoom. I like Zoom because it’s user-friendly and super easy to send invites to anyone.
Skype – Another great choice for a virtual party is Skype. This video chatting platform works well on a variety of platforms, but it seems to be more popular among desktop users than those who plan to chat on their phones.
2. Invite Your Friends and Encourage Everyone to Bring a Drink
Send out virtual invitations to everyone you want to invite or create a special Facebook group to keep track of everyone who plans to attend. On your invitations, be sure to include important information, like the date and time, meeting platform you’ll be using, and login information your guests may need to join the chat.
Encourage your “guests” to bring a drink of their choice. There is something very social about drinking beverages together. And having a drink – alcoholic or non-alcoholic will help everyone feel more relaxed. Check out my Chocolate Cake Martini for cocktail drink ideas.
3. Decorate For Your Online Party
What’s a party without decorations? Set up your webcam in the spot you plan to use for your party, then decorate the area behind you to make your virtual cocktail party a little more festive. You can add some balloons and streamers to create a fun atmosphere or add a little glamour to your virtual party with a glittery backdrop.
Don’t feel like you’re stuck in the party room however. During our call last week, each of us tended to various tasks – prepping dinner, talking to our kids, cleaning up and even moving from indoors to outdoors for fresh air.
That’s the cool thing about a digital happy hour – you can leave the room without leaving the party!
4. Establish Digital Party Rules
Since your party will be virtual, it’s a good idea to establish some rules so everyone isn’t talking at once, making it difficult for others to hear the conversation. Make sure one person plays host and is able to mute other guests while someone is talking. It’s also a good idea to establish a signal for guests to use when they have something to say to avoid interruptions in conversation.
You can have a digital cocktail party any day of the week and coordinate different groups – for instance, I have family, school mom friends, neighbors and colleagues. Whoever makes up your tribe – set it up, connect and have fun.
And the best part – no clean-up messes or bar tab to pick up.
I would love to hear about your digital cocktail party. What does your virtual happy how look like? Feel free to comment below or connect with me on my Facebook page.