How to Host a Virtual Party

With the onset of COVID-19, shelter-in-place orders and social distancing, face-to-face parties and gatherings have been put on hold. Though we can’t physically get together with our friends and family, we can still spend time with them through virtual parties and online gatherings!

At Poply we have always been about bringing people together and in the last few weeks we’ve made additions to our website and app to help people connect during this unprecedented situation. You’ve always been able to host virtual events with Poply, but now it’s even easier with:

  • The ability to set a URL as a location
  • Clickable links
  • Time zone support

Now guests across the globe can participate with ease. Simply drop a Zoom or Google Hangouts link into your Poply invitation and your guests will be able to access it easily when it’s time to log in.

But what should you do at your online party? Here are a few ideas to help you host a virtual party:

Adult Birthday

Adults like to celebrate their birthdays too! To kick things up a notch, set a theme for your virtual birthday party and ask people to do their best to join in with what they have on hand. Consider going formal — at least from the waist up — and put on dressy clothes and make-up. Or send out an on-theme cocktail recipe in advance and ask all the guests to make up a batch before your video call starts. It’s also fun to send a group card from the whole gang. Find lots of options on our sister site, Birthday Alarm.

Kid’s Birthday

There’s nothing quite like the chaos of a bunch of kids in an online meet-up! Our advice — keep it short. Plan for about an hour and have a theme and an activity lined up for the kids in advance. If the children attending are mostly local, you can arrange to have them drop gifts on your porch and pick up favors or an activity packet a few days before. Then on party day, everyone can do the activity at the same time. A few activity ideas — a small craft project, coloring sheets, or a Lego building project.

Graduation Party

Graduation ceremonies have been canceled, but we can still celebrate the accomplishments of our high school and college graduates with a virtual graduation party! Gather friends and family together on a video call and ask the grad to wear her cap and gown. A fun online party game might be to ask people on the call to share a piece of life wisdom — silly or serious — with the graduate.

Dinner Party

Getting together with friends to eat dinner on a Zoom or Facebook Messenger call is an easy and fun way to break up the monotony of quarantine. You can pick out a recipe that you’d all like to try and prepare it in your own homes before sitting down to eat together or you could each order in delivery food. These ideas from The Every Hostess will make a virtual dinner party even more special.

Cocktail Party

A virtual cocktail party or an online happy hour is one of the easiest (and most fun) ways to get together with friends. Whether you’re chatting with the gang or winding down with your co-workers after a long day working from home, it’s great to gather and see familiar faces. Everyone can grab whatever drink they have on hand and settle in on the couch. We’ve found that Zoom is a particularly fun site for these calls because everyone tries to outdo each other with virtual backgrounds. If you’re not sure where to start try one of these cool images from Unsplash

Baby Shower

A virtual baby shower is a lovely way to acknowledge parents-to-be and a little pre-planning can help it go off without a hitch. Encourage the future mom and dad’s friends and family to send gifts directly to their home, then they can open strollers, stuffies, and cute little onesies on camera for all to see. Many baby shower games can easily be played online to keep the conversation rolling.

Anniversary Party

Milestone anniversaries should be celebrated even if you can’t gather together for a party. For the big dates consider putting together a video to share during an online party. A couple weeks in advance, contact friends and family and ask them to share a video message with the happy couple. If you’re handy with iMovie or another video app you can put the video together yourself or you can pay a fee for a video service such as Chatty Heads.

Just Because

Parties don’t always require a big event — sometimes it’s nice to get together "just because." Grab your knitting and get your girls together for an online stitch-and-bitch. Host a remote version of your book club (everyone has time to read now!). Or get all your far-flung relatives together for a check-in to see how everyone is doing. Does everyone have enough toilet paper? If not, mail a couple rolls to Uncle Jed!

Business Meeting

Stay in touch with clients to help keep them in the loop with your business activities by inviting them to a Q & A session. Start the call with a short presentation showing how you’re handling the COVID-19 crisis, then open the session up to questions from the audience.


If your real-life music event was canceled, you can broadcast it instead! Consider setting up a digital tip jar and donating proceeds to relief programs for those impacted by COVID-19.