How to host an unforgettable virtual birthday party

Cassy Aite
November 9, 2021
How to host an unforgettable virtual birthday party

Office birthday parties are a long-standing tradition in our society. According to an Ipsos Reid survey, nearly 90% of Americans believe it’s important to celebrate birthdays, with 85% of people feeling special when someone puts effort into planning their birthday party.

Like several elements of our world, many of these birthday celebrations have had to be staged virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering how disconnected we’ve felt during this time, coming together now in celebration is a worthwhile experience for everyone.

In this guide, we offer valuable tips to keep in mind when planning your virtual birthday party, as well as several fun ideas that could transform your celebration into an unforgettable one. After all, a well-executed virtual party can boost your workplace culture and atmosphere just as effectively as in-person gatherings. 

7 tips for planning and hosting a virtual birthday party

1. Remember who the party is for

Birthday parties are highly personal events. Before doing anything else, you have to think about what kind of celebration the guest of honor would enjoy. Unlike holiday parties that are designed to appeal to many people, a birthday party should follow the preferences of whoever it’s for. Once you come up with a theme that will impress the birthday person as well as the general guests, then you can continue along with the planning process.

2. Pick the platform

There are several possible platforms to host your virtual birthday party, so evaluate the options before picking your course of action. Zoom has become a go-to platform for video conferences during the pandemic, but you can also pick another app like FaceTime for more convenience. No matter which option you decide to go with, make sure to provide the people attending with instructions so they can join the party.

3. Send the guest invitations

girl opening virtual birthday party invitation on yellow background

After figuring out a date that works best for your team, it’s time to spread the word through guest invitations. Being creative with digital invites offers you the chance to show your audience that this birthday party will be exciting. Keep building that anticipation leading up to your event as well, teasing the fun plans through social media posts and follow-up reminders. Electronic invitations also simplify the RSVP process, making it easier than ever to keep track of a guest list.

4. Set a budget

Setting a budget is a vital aspect of planning any party. Once you have a general idea of how many people will be attending your celebration, then you have a better understanding on how much money is needed. Although a virtual party means you don’t have to book any particular location, there are still tons of expenses that go into putting together a memorable event. Just remember to keep your budget flexible as the planning process goes along, since unexpected costs can always arise.

5. Organize the catering

Now that you have a budget in place, it’s time to organize the catering. Most birthday parties involve tasty treats, but it’s a difficult feat to deliver these to an audience spread out in various locations. Hoppier virtual cards are an easy solution to this issue, as they allow guests to order personalized treats from a wide range of vendors who will deliver them to your guests. These cards simplify the office party catering process, and ensure everyone in attendance gets some party snacks they’ll love.

6. Decide on gift-giving rules

man holding treats for party on green background

Like any birthday party, you need to establish a group understanding on gift-giving guidelines. Whether your attendees are planning to get a collective present or individual items for the guest of honor, make sure they will be delivered on time. That being said, not all birthday parties involve everyone giving gifts, and there’s thankfully less pressure to show up with a well-wrapped present for virtual celebrations. So if your event happens to be a gift-giving occasion, decide on the rules before to avoid any stress.

7. Keep your plans flexible

Once the day of the birthday party arrives, it’s important to stay flexible in your schedule. No matter how much you love the plans lined up, you have to read the atmosphere and adjust your schedule as needed. If there is a particular activity that’s generating lots of engagement, don’t hesitate to go longer on it than planned. As essential as it is to come up with a detailed agenda filled with fun ideas, it’s even more important to modify plans on the fly so that people have the best possible experience.

13 fun virtual birthday party ideas

1. Party boxes

Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re actually ‘at’ a party if it’s happening virtually. To avoid your guests feeling disconnected, consider sending them party boxes ahead of time so that they can truly feel part of the festivities when the celebration gets going. These kits can include classic party favors, such as birthday hats or custom cups, but they can also be treated like event gift bags with more practical adult presents — it all comes down to your budget and audience.

2. Decorated backgrounds

People can also feel less engaged in virtual parties where they’re not sharing a room with other guests, but a clever tech design can help in this regard. Try creating a decorated background that looks like a birthday party room, and encourage your guests to copy the filter. Zoom is one of the apps that lets users customize their background. This might seem like a basic idea, but showing that you want people to feel like they’re a part of your event can go a long way in shaping their experience.

3. Interactive birthday cards

man holding gift voucher with thumbs up

Birthday cards have stood the test of time because they’re a simple yet meaningful gesture of reminding people how much you care about them. Although you won’t be passing a birthday card around the office for signatures, that doesn’t mean you should stop doing them. Having your team come together by making an interactive birthday e-card is a modern spin on a long-standing practice, while still demonstrating that you put in effort to make their day special.

4. Virtual tour

Many attractions are now offering virtual tours, and many of them are free. Museums, landmarks, and world-renowned cities all can be toured from the comfort of your home. Consider the guest of honor’s interests and find any online trips that you think will be fun group excursions for your partygoers. This keeps things exciting and generates conversation, too.

5. Craft making

DIY projects are great tools to keep people engaged during virtual events. Putting on a craft-making demonstration during your office birthday party can help provide entertainment that requires people to stay focused while having fun. We all feel a sense of completion after finishing a task, and there’s something unique about the feeling you get making something with your hands. You can even choose to gamify it and turn the craft creations into a team-wide contest.

6. Mixology class

Making cocktails is a DIY project that’s tailor-made for adults. Bring in an expert to give people a mixology class, and everyone can drink the fruits of their labor after the class is over. This activity is highly encouraged if you’re looking to help your team members loosen up. Employees going out for drinks to celebrate something after work is always fun, so don’t let being apart in virtual birthday parties ruin that experience — let everyone enjoy the drinks and banter from the comfort of their own homes.

7. Food or drink testing

It’s exciting to try new things, which is why so many people love exploring their taste buds with new food or drinks. Although everyone will be spread out for the virtual birthday party, you can still put on a taste-testing exhibition for people to enjoy. Think about partnering with local restaurants or breweries that make deliveries, and provide your party guests with various samples so that they can all share a connected taste-testing experience despite being apart.

8. Stylized treats

Birthday parties are known for their treats, and virtual events should follow the same tradition. You can use Hoppier to simplify the ordering process by letting each guest order snacks they’d enjoy through our virtual cards. You can also customize the cards in order to limit which vendors people can order from, and can encourage your guests to order specific treats (cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or healthier options) so that everyone in attendance can feel like they’re sharing the birthday snacks together.

9. Board games

If you’re looking to let your guests have some fun in a friendly yet competitive setting, look no further than staging a board game battle during the birthday party. Even though everyone will be participating remotely, you can still find plenty of online options to play popular adult board games like Catan, Pictionary, Scrabble, and many more — while also giving you the opportunity to dish out prizes or incentives for whoever fares best.

10. Team trivia

two teammates high-fiving on orange background

Team trivia contests are another awesome tool to encourage audience participation. You can choose specific trivia themes related to the field you’re working in, or keep the topics broad so that people can have a break from their work lives. Most bar trivia nights involve teams, and you should copy that system for your birthday party trivia contest because it promotes teamwork, communication, and other helpful aspects that can help your company culture.

11. Escape room

Although the notion of escape rooms might seem suited to an in-person birthday activity, they can still be an incredibly fun experience when done virtually. There’s actually a plethora of online options to choose from now after the industry had to become viable to the digital world. Escape rooms are also a great exercise in using teamwork and communication in order to complete the escape tasks, and they allow your entire group of guests to work as one collective unit rather than smaller teams.

12. Coworker quiz

If the goal of your virtual birthday party is to bring your employees closer together through team building activities, try coming up with a custom coworker quiz. This game is guaranteed to provide laughs whenever people get questions wrong, while also letting your team members learn interesting facts about one another that can inspire friendships through shared interests. An alternate idea would be to do a birthday party bingo game, which also lets people learn interesting facts about their coworkers.

13. Talent show

Speaking of games that can help your guests learn about each other outside of the workplace setting, a talent show is another wonderful idea for your virtual birthday party. Whether it’s learning unique skills you had no idea your team members possessed, or letting people have fun in a non-serious group routine, talent shows can provide memorable experiences that guests can bond over or smile thinking about for years to come.

Hoppier: a helpful way to cater virtual birthday parties

Planning the catering for any virtual event is a huge challenge, and birthday parties are no exception. Hoppier virtual cards are an easy solution to these concerns.

After going through the simple process of creating an account, you get to design your customized virtual cards and load them with money. Once you pass on these cards to your guests, it gives them the freedom to order food and drinks from a long list of vendors. Hoppier also works well as a birthday party gift if you’re looking to dish out some rewards or perks in a team recognition program, since the virtual cards are so easy to set up and distribute.

Hoppier virtual party card software screenshot

It’s a customary gesture to give out treats at birthday parties, but it’s a massive undertaking to organize a delivery process for virtual audiences. Give Hoppier a try and let us handle the logistics of ordering your treats, allowing you more time to organize an unforgettable virtual birthday party for your team.

Virtual birthday parties are a modern twist on a classic tradition

Acknowledging and celebrating office birthday parties has always been an important thing for businesses to do, and that sentiment still holds true today. Although in-person celebrations have taken a backseat since the pandemic, virtual parties have evolved into an important tool for boosting your corporate culture. And being creative in preparing virtual events is the best way to ensure people love their experience.

Planning and implementing fun ideas can transform the virtual birthday party you’re hosting into an engaging event that everyone will enjoy. For more information on how to improve your virtual team parties, check out our webinar on the Top 10 tools to make memorable virtual events this year.

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