If you are thinking of hosting a party, but don’t live in the same time zone as your guests, then this post is for you! Virtual parties are becoming increasingly popular as the world grows smaller and more connected. Hosting a successful party across time zones requires some planning and preparation but it doesn’t have to be hard! Here’s how to plan a virtual party across different time zones from A-Z.
Find a Date and Time That Works for Everyone
Schedule your party so that it starts at a reasonable time for all guests. When selecting the date and time of your event, be mindful of all guests’ time zones. For example, if you were wanting to have a birthday party on a Friday night in Chicago with friends who live in London, a party that starts at 8 pm in Chicago would start in the middle of the night in London. To help you plan, use this handy site to enter different time zones and compare hours so that you know who is actually going to be awake and available to attend your virtual party.
Choose a Virtual Platform
Once you’ve decided on a date and time, choose a virtual platform that works best for you and your guests. Consider choosing a virtual platform that is popular in the areas your guests are joining in from. Some platforms are more popular than others in different countries.
While popularity isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a platform, it can make it easier for your guests if you choose one they are already familiar with. This can be especially helpful when planning a party with guests that may not be as comfortable with technology. If you plan to have reoccurring parties, stick with the same platform for future events. This way, guests will already know how to participate in virtual parties with you, and won’t have to worry about installing new apps. You can even create an invite for future virtual parties that references the platform your guests are already familiar with.
If you don’t have a virtual platform in mind, consider looking at popular ones like Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom!
Select a Theme
Once you have decided on a virtual platform, select a party theme to liven up the party! A party theme is one of the best ways to set a tone for your celebration and create a festive atmosphere that everyone can participate in. It can even provide some fun photo opportunities! The theme can be as simple or as creative as you like. You could have a virtual cocktail night, cooking class, or even a beach day! It is the perfect opportunity to try something new and different that you wouldn’t normally do virtually!
Virtual Venue Backgrounds
Consider having a virtual venue such as a restaurant or a beautiful city from around the world where you and your guests can meet. While you are not actually there in real life, virtual backgrounds can make it feel like you are! Check out some free downloadable backgrounds for your party and share how to change your virtual background. It will be a blast for virtual participants to reminisce about their time at the party by looking through photos.
Consider a Themed Dress Code
Encourage virtual guests to make an effort to dress for the theme of your virtual party! You could even have a contest to see who has the best outfit that matches the theme! There are tons of different theme days to choose from. Keep it simple with ideas such as pajama day, 80’s day, or sports day. Or go crazy and have a wacky hair day, ugly sweater, and even a zombie day! Create a hashtag for virtual party participants to post virtual themed photos. To make everyone feel like they are part of the celebration, you can mail everyone the same fun hat or prop to wear during the party.
Think About Themed Snacks
Food is a key part of any party! Encourage guests to have snacks that match your theme. You don’t have to make elaborate, expensive food items. Instead, consider having everyone bring their favorite game-day snack, favorite cookie, or favorite drink. If you want to coordinate, you can send each of your guests the same snacks to share during the party using local meal delivery companies. While the restaurants may be different based on the areas your guests live, think about ordering everyone pizza, tacos, or something chocolatey for everyone to enjoy together!
Plan Fun Virtual Activities
The most important thing to keep in mind while planning your party is to have fun! Make sure you have a variety of activities so that all participants are engaged. You could choose a game or quiz for everyone, a get-to-know-you activity if the group is new, or play some music and dance like nobody’s watching! Maybe even a scavenger hunt or unlimited karaoke! And if you have a theme, make sure to incorporate it into the activities.
Send Out Invitations!
Now that you’ve got a virtual party planned, it’s time to let your guests know all the party details! When sending virtual invitations, remember to include:
- date & time
- link to your virtual party platform
- list of anything they might need to do prior to the party ex. change background, shop for specific items to bring to the party
- list of things to bring to the party ex. food, props
Consider sending virtual invitations as early as possible to give virtual guests as much time as they need to plan and prepare.
Using virtual tools such as Google Calendar or iCalendar allows everyone to download and import the invite into their own personal calendar to help remind guests of when the virtual party is. It will also add the event to their calendar in their respective time zone! You may also find it helpful to send reminders so that your virtual party guests won’t forget about your virtual gathering! Make it fun by using a gif in the reminder.
Send Post-Party Thanks & Photos
When the party is over, don’t forget to share a note of thanks to your guests for taking time out of their schedules to celebrate with you! Invite guests to share any photos or videos from the party so that everyone can see how much fun was had!
We hope this post has given you some helpful tips for planning a party across different time zones. Whether your guests are in different time zones two hours apart or twelve hours apart, we wish you all the best in planning your upcoming party! If you’re looking for more ideas on hosting a successful virtual gathering, check out our other virtual party ideas! And for awesome conversation at your event, we’ve got 170 icebreaker questions that are sure to get people talking.