How to Plan a Zoom Birthday Party...Because People Ain't Following Instrx During The COVID
You’re probably reading this because you just got news that your city is forcing you to stay indoors again because idiots don’t know how to follow directions. But that doesn’t stop people from aging! And their desire to turn up!
This PROBABLY means you have to cancel the 10+ person birthday party you had planned at Granny’s house...
AND you’re trying to wrap your head around doing a virtual birthday party without the headaches.
Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
But first - Get the following out of your head:
A virtual birthday party is not as a cool as an in-person celebration;
You will be obligated to invite folks you medium like because excuses like, “Well, you live out of town, so I didn’t think to invite you” don’t work;
Do not use the browser version of Zoom. Download the app. If you don’t, then you’ll be at the mercy of only looking at the person talking, coughing, humming or digging in their nose.
How does one throw a pretty awesome-as-it-gets virtual birthday party?
Lucky for you, I’ve done all of the heavy lifting for my partner’s 30th birthday about 2 weeks ago. And I’m here to save you so much time and brain-wracking.
IDENTIFY A THEME.
My partner wanted a No Limit/Cash Money theme. He had a great idea to superimpose his image on No Limit/Cash Money albums. So, I got my designer to do the damn thing.
Here is an example:
We used this image as the cover on the invitation (more on this in a bit). We also asked invitees to use this image as a virtual background and/or pose in front of it and screenshot it to create a fun faux-photo booth pic.
NOTE: Make sure to resize the image(s) to 1920px by 1080px in order for the entire image to appear correctly as a virtual background.
USE HOBNOB TO SEND INVITATIONS.
HobNob is the second coming of goodness, because Chile...
HobNob has a free option and a paid option. I had to purchase the paid option because my partner invited a little under 50 people...and nearly all of them showed up.
I used the album cover as the “front” of the invitation, which made it a fun experience for guests to see when they opened it up.
If you don’t have a custom image, HobNob has various options for you to choose from.
HobNob also relies on sending invitations by cell or email. Since most people are a little more attached to their phones than email, I used the latter. This part can be a little bit of a headache if you don’t have all of the numbers already plugged into your phone. The concentration and patience it took for me to dial multiple combinations of numbers PLUS their names for 40+ people was. A. lot.
But worth it!
PLAN THE ZOOM CALL IN “BURSTS”
This might be my favorite part to tell you about. Lean in...
Did you know that you don’t have to have all of your friends and fam on the call at the same time?
Yes, Girl. You can SCHEDULE people to dial in, as Ms. Tabitha Brown would say, "like so, like that":
"WHAT TIME SHOULD I LOG ON TO WISH ________________ A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?
8p EST 8:25p EST 8:50p
Nina Joe Andre
Kayla Tyler Tamera
Jacqueline Tylar Reggie
Robin Finny Keem
Terry Lola Dwayne
Include this information in the FLYER part of HobNob.
Oh, and you might be wondering: “Did this actually work?”
Yes, Ma’am, it did. Like a charm (although you should send a reminder the day of about this as some people were a little confused).
My partner was able to spend about 20 minutes with a small group of people at a time. This allowed the interaction to be intimate, a luxury not afforded when a million people are on one Zoom call together.
Be sure to group folks according to who will get along with each other. THIS MATTERS a lot.
ASK PEOPLE TO DRESS UP ACCORDING TO THE THEME
Folks showed up in either fatigues; as their favorite Cash Money/No Limit rapper OR purple (which is my partner’s favorite color).
People want an excuse to dress up. Hell, they can’t go anywhere, so this ask is something they desperately want.
CREATE A VIDEO COMPILATION OF BIRTHDAY WISHES
My partner’s biggest request was to have a video compilation of his friends and family wishing him a happy birthday.
Because his friend and family group are about the size of Rhode Island, I asked them to limit their video wish to 1-minute.
The video was about 15 minutes long, and he is so happy to have a video that he can reference for an immediate burst of love from those he cares so much about.
MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO SEND YOU/YOUR BIRTHDAY BUD GIFTS
We live in a time where many people are experiencing record job loss. It can be awkward to bring up the “request for gifts” conversation. To make the option available for those who can and not ostrasize those who can’t, word it tactfully in your HOBNOB invitation:
“WHAT IF I WANT TO SEND THE BIRTHDAY GYAL A GIFT?
MAIL TO: ADDRESS
CREATE A PHOTO BOOTH EXPERIENCE AT HOME
I purchased this cute Amazon set and decorated a little nook of the house so that when he woke up, he would immediately know that the turn up wouldn't just be virtual ;)
And Voila! You’ve got a Zoom Birthday celebration! I hope this was helpful. Let's stay safe and lean into the new normal a best as we can.
Let me know how your event went by reaching out to me on IG: @oksoblog
Happy Birthday to you or to the one you’re planning this for!