In this new age of social distancing and reduced access to restaurants and bars, we are learning new ways to connect with one another online.
Whether you are wishing to spend your weekends chatting away with your nearest and dearest, or making new friends in online communities – we have some tips for organising the best alcohol-free virtual events that will keep everyone entertained.
Tips for hosting an alcohol-free virtual event:
- Prepare the tech ahead of time
- Organise as much as you can in advance
- Have some creative entertainment ideas
Staying in touch with your friends and family feels all the more important at the moment, and with fluctuating lockdown restrictions across the globe and limited travelling capabilities, many are making do with the technological resources at their disposal.
In the run up to all of the seasonal festivities in November, December and January, you may be considering how best to organise your social events whilst sticking to the rules in your local area. In the scenario that you are required to keep your social interactions online in the coming weeks or months, we have some top tips and tricks for making your virtual events a success. It’s important for us to focus on the positives during these times, and use these to keep our spirits high.
Prepare your tech ahead of time
Okay let's get the boring bit out of the way first – you need to make sure you, and your guests, are both able to use the tech or social networking platforms you intend to use before the event. This might involve some painful iPad tutorials over the phone with your grandma, but patience is a virtue and it’ll be worth it in the end. It might even give you something to laugh about once she’s an iMessage pro!
Some of your invitees will be well versed in Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts by now, but if not, it is worth making sure they know how to access your virtual event to avoid any awkward kickoffs or missing attendees. There are a number of tutorials for each platform available online for you to check out, or alternatively you could ask your guests to allocate a 10 minute window ahead of your event start time to get to grips with the software (if they haven’t used the platform before, they may need to download something!).
It is worth considering all the technical “add-ons” that you might need as well, such as any online quizzes that need to be shared onto the screen, or checking out how to share music over the call. These are the little things that will make your event run with ease!
Organise as much as you can in advance
Take the time to think through your event and all of the bits and bobs that will be required by each guest to make your activities possible. And then feel free to go above and beyond, and organise the less essential but guaranteed party pleasers, such as delivering party bags or decorations for their virtual backgrounds.
Organise creative entertainment ideas
It is a good idea to have a general outline for the itinerary of your party – we don’t mean a strict schedule, but a casual order of events to ensure your guests are entertained each step of the way. Depending on how comfortable your guests are with speaking on camera, you may need to find a way to warm them up to get involved in the chit chat, and what better way than with some party games!
Whether your guests choose to drink during your event or not is ultimately up to them, however, keeping the focus on the fun activities you have planned will mean no one would notice if you or other guests decide to stick to alcohol-free alternatives instead. In fact, it should even demonstrate to those who would ordinarily drink at social gatherings that you don’t need alcohol to have a brilliant time!
The kinds of entertainment ideas you come up with will depend on the number of guests you choose to invite, and their interests as a group, but it really isn’t too different to organising a physical event. Think of the usual activities you would do together, and try to think outside of the box for translating these for the online space.
It’s party time!
Now it is up to you, go forth and party plan your exciting virtual event! Take this opportunity to be innovative in your social circles and show your loved ones that no matter how far you may need to stay apart during these times, we are never truly apart.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.