April 11, 2021


Whatever it takes

Virtual Birthday Party Planning – How to Throw a Long Distance Party

JGI/Jamie GrillGetty Images

Birthdays are special. At the very least, the big day merits a birthday toast with just the right birthday quote, a special (possibly DIY) card, and a homemade birthday cake. But there are times when it’s impossible to gather all the friends and family for a bash in real life. For those times when you can’t throw a big birthday party at your favorite bar, restaurant, or even your own house, you can still mark the milestone is style with a virtual birthday party where guests “attend” via Zoom or Slack or any other video conferencing platform. Even your least savvy tech friends will find it easy to “attend” no matter the differing locations and/or time zones. The key here is to make the event feel like a party rather than an awkward corporate meeting. That’s where we come in. Check out our checklist for throwing a virtual birthday party that’s virtually flawless.

Send out actual (e)invitations.

Texts are fine, but an official invitation makes your event feel like, well, an event. In order to avoid any possible mail disruptions, it’s best to go with an e-invitation like GreenEnvelope, which allows you to pick matching envelopes, music, and other extras to make your invite a little something extra. Paperless Post and Evite have entire sections dedicated to virtual parties, with themes ranging from virtual wine tastings to virtual dance parties.

Once you make your pick, go beyond the details like date and time. Include info on what videoconferencing app you’ll be using (plus your contact info, just in case) and perhaps a link for troubleshooting with that particular app.

Pick a theme.

Costumes will get everyone in the mood. You could ask everyone to wear their oldest t-shirt, dress in a specific color, or make their own party hat. Since you’ll be seeing everyone on-screen (and vice versa), having a visual theming element helps provide “decor” for the party.

Plan an “activity.”

While you could keep it casual and make party time more of an opportunity to catch up, games and activities can help get everyone feel a little more loose and festive. Turn your party into a talent show (be sure to give everyone a head’s up about this prior to the party), put a twist on show-and-tell with the most unusual item in their home, play Pictionary, or go nuts with a good old-fashioned Truth or Dare. You can also make it a movie night with Netflix Party, which allows everyone to synch up their accounts to watch the same show or movie together.

Make sure there’s cake.

After all, it’s not a birthday party without it. Don’t forget the birthday candles. Remind guests to make sure they have their own treats on-hand so they can indulge along with the birthday boy or girl.