If enjoying a meal with friends or family at your favourite restaurant seems like a distant memory, you’re not alone. While social distancing has meant having to adjust how we go about our daily lives, technology has afforded us the ability to still keep touch via our phones and computers. In fact, these days we’re more connected than ever. Even if you’re not all together under one roof, there’s still plenty of fun, food and conversation to be had with your family and friends. A celebration like Easter, a shower or birthday is a great excuse to turn your special occasion into a virtual dinner party. Here’s how to host your very own!
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There are several different ways you can connect with friends and family from the comfort of your own home. Start by making your guestlist. Are you hosting a small and intimate gathering or throwing a bigger online bash? Once you send your RSVPs, choose your platform. Platforms supporting video calls include FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout, and come with a variety of unique face filters and backgrounds to make your virtual get-togethers more fun.
DECORATE YOUR SPACE
Set up the space where you’ll enjoy your meal with your online guests. It can be your formal dining table, favourite nook in the kitchen or even the living room (the couch counts!). Any place you choose can be transformed with a few easy flourishes. Here are a few decorating ideas for setting the table.
- Flowers are always a good idea! Support your local florists by calling in advance for a curbside pick-up or online flower delivery. Then add the arrangement to a vase as unique as this one. Tulips are the ideal blooms for spring festivities. Available at H&M.
- No fancy plate setting, no problem. Freshen up your table with a fun table mat. Pastel colours are an easy way to spruce up your table setting without fussing too much over plates and tablecloths, and are also a playful nod to Spring. Available at Hudson’s Bay.
- Upgrade your drinkware with textured, gold-rim drinking glasses from Anthropologie. Whether it’s a wine bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion or a fancy cocktail you’ve recently mastered, it’ll give your set-up instant restaurant-quality appeal. Available at Hudson’s Bay.
PLAN YOUR MEAL
Decide on a dinner menu. Whether you’re planning on whipping up your signature dish or trying your hand at a new recipe, make sure you have everything you need to execute your meal. From a mouthwatering main course to delicious dessert, here are a few tools you can add to your kitchen repertoire.
- A Dutch oven like the Chuck Hughes 5 L Round Cast Iron evenly distributes heat while retaining moisture and is perfect for braising and slow cooking (think roast chicken, braised short ribs and hearty casseroles). Available at Hudson’s Bay.
- Since kitchen space is the most important during this time, clear away the clutter and cook it all with the amazing Instant Pot. Scalloped potatoes, butter chicken and chili are just some of the dishes you can make in the popular pressure cooker. Available at Hudson’s Bay.
- If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic or caffeine-free beverage, try a loose leaf herbal blend like cherry tea, which is sweet and tart in equal parts with a medley of cherries, hibiscus blossoms and little candy hearts. Drink it hot or sip it as a cool refreshment in between bites. Available at DAVIDsTEA.
While your WFH outfits may be comfortable yet professional, your virtual dinner party is a great excuse to confidently show off your cozy, chic outfits. Whether you plan to dress up or dress own, here’s how to do it in style.
- Swap your usual monochromatic outfits for a delicate knit in a pastel hue. This turquoise crew neck elevates your sweater selection with its pointelle stitching and relaxed sleeves.
- A one-and-done jumpsuit is perfect for work and play. This lightweight, utility-inspired jumpsuit can be cinched in at the waist for a polished look or left loose for a laidback look. Available at Lululemon.
- The trick to pulling off sweatpants is to choose a slim fit silhouette that looks more streamlined than slouchy. Wear it with a hoodie when you’re relaxing or throw on a cardigan if you want to look more put-together. Available at Roots.
What’s a party without activities? Games aren’t just for IRL(in real life) get-togethers. Make it a fun trivia night by quizzing your guests based on a theme. Are they die-hard fans of Friends or Game of Thrones ? Test their knowledge in a round (or two!) of trivia. Or, test your skills at Pictionary or Charades.
If your dinner party crew is tech-savvy, log onto PlayingCards.io, where you can play popular games like Cards Against Humanity, or try JackBox Games for Drawful 2 and Fibbage. Another option is HouseParty where everyone can join in for some long-distance fun and play a game of Heads Up!
TAKE OUT OR PREPPED FOOD
Make things easy by ordering takeout from your favourite spots! Click here to see available take out options from STC.
SIGN OFF BUT STAY IN TOUCH
Once you sign off for the night, the good news is that there’s minimal cleanup to be done. Even if you’re not throwing virtual dinner parties every week, it’s important to check in on everyone and make sure you’re supporting them from afar. Community is important now more than ever and a virtual gathering is one of the easiest ways to foster a sense of togetherness.
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