Virtual Dinner parties allow for relaxed socialisation while social distancing. Hosting virtual dinner parties might mean less cooking and cleaning, but there are other things you need to do to prepare.
There are many software options for hosting a virtual dinner party.
You can use Zoom, Google Hangouts, Face time, Whats-app, Facebook Messenger, Skype...the list goes on.
Virtual dinner parties work best when the technology doesn't draw attention to itself. Choose a system that works for everyone, and make sure your guests are familiar with the software. If there's a video call software you already use, use that instead of trying something new
If any guests need to download software, they should do so well ahead of time. They should also do a test video call ahead of time to see if it works. This is especially important for any guests who are not tech-literate.
It's hard to have a dinner party where everyone is holding their phones or laptops.
Set up your device so you can see everyone online. Ensure that you are sitting in a position where they can see you. You may need to rest your phone or computer on an object to keep it steady.
Make sure your device is connected to power. Video chats can drain your battery, and low battery notifications can pause video calls.
Allow 5-to-15 minutes at the beginning of the party for people to set up their devices. This time is the equivalent to people snacking while they wait for other guests to arrive at normal dinner party. Prepare for minor technical difficulties with this buffer time to stop any awkwardness.
Food and drink
If your guests live close by, you and your guests could get takeaway from the same restaurant.
If that's not an option, or if everyone wants to eat something different, you and your guests can order or make whatever they feel like.
Ordering takeaway can help support local restaurants during a difficult time.
If you choose to cooking yourself, try to cook something special.
And in case you were wondering, - if you have a drink at a virtual dinner party, you aren't drinking alone.
Coronavirus has taken over all of our lives, so expect it to come up in conversation. Having a "no coronavirus talk at the dinner table" rule isn't helpful. It might be important for your and your guests to talk about the crisis together
But you shouldn't just talk about coronavirus at your dinner party.
Come to your dinner party prepared with lighter conversation starters. What are you watching, what are your reading, what are you eating, what are you listening to?
You can hold dinner parties after movie nights, or set a book to read before hand to make sure there's something else to talk about.
Feel comfortable... and fancy
Virtual dinner parties are an opportunity to do something special during an awful time. Make your virtual dinner party special instead of it being a routine video call.
You can dress up. You can have a theme. If you like wearing makeup, go wild. Use your nicer plates, set up your dinner table formally. But only these formal things if it makes you feel good.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. If you're looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also sign up for our twice-daily digest here.