Just because we are all stuck at home these days doesn’t mean we can’t gather with our nearest & dearest anymore – it simply means we have to get creative! With some effort and forethought, you can host a very chic virtual dinner party for you and your friends. Here are our tips on how to carry out the entire evening, from planning to after dinner drinks!

PLAN
Determine the Guest List & Timing: We’re all home all week, so feasibly any night of the week could work, but a Friday or Saturday night might still be best. Figure out a day & time that works for your invitees as well. It is best to keep this party to a maximum of 4-6 people, so that everyone is able to contribute to conversation easily.
Method of Connection: There are lots of options to do a video meetup. FaceTime, Google Hangout, Skype or Zoom are all good options! Make sure that the connection info is sent early and has clear instructions if needed.

Decor
Set the Table: Now is the time to use the dining room that you don’t normally eat in, set up your meal in an unexpected place (in front of the fireplace!) or dine al fresco so that it all feels fresh. If you have the time, pick up flowers, or have an arrangement delivered for the table.
Bring Out the Good Stuff: If you have special occasion china, crystal, tablecloths and napkins, use them! Again, you want this to feel like a dinner out and to make it an experience.
Create the Ambience: Use candles, dim the lights, select your background music and test the angle for the video. If you’re using a laptop to connect, try to place it on a small box or stack of books so that the camera is eye level.

Meal
Choose Your Menu: Plan to have appetizers, a main course and dessert. Whether you choose to cook or order in, you will want to make sure that everything is ready/delivered (or close to it) for the time you plan to meet so you can enjoy connecting with your guests! Since we are all home and cooking so much, let one of our local restaurants deliver the entire meal. I love the idea of everyone ordering from the same restaurant as if you were all out to dinner together.
Don’t Forget the Drinks: If you have a special bottle of wine you’ve been waiting to drink, open it for this occasion. Get creative with your cocktails and try a new recipe. If you like to have a Scotch after your meal, ensure you have your favorite bottle on hand.

Party Time
Get Dressed Up: Schedule the dinner so you have enough time to get ready and feel your best! Dressing up will really transform your mood and make you feel like you’re actually heading out (and not just at home still).
Begin with Happy Hour: For the first hour or so of your dinner party, enjoy your cocktails & conversation. Have your apps out on the table for noshing. Don’t rush the meal!
Linger with Your Guests: Tell your stories, keep the drinks flowing, and enjoy this meaningful connection with your guests.

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