hosting a virtual dinner party from home

just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t throw a dinner party for two or more.  today, we’re talking how to host a virtual dinner party.  it might take a bit of planning on your part to send the invites and get everyone on board as far as date and time. but just like at-home dinner parties, it’s worth the time and effort to galvanize your friends and family. these days, it’s so easy to feel alone and isolated, so we need to make every effort to stay connected. and i’ve always loved opening my home and breaking bread. today, i get to try a new way to do just that. remember, guests will make or break the party, so four to six is a good number to start with. it’s small enough to keep the banter rolling but not large enough to have everyone shouting talking over one another. 

how to host a virtual dinner party

if everyone on your invite list is tech-savvy, you may or may not want to have a trial run with Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Houseparty.app or Skype. just make certain each guest is familiar with your go-to platform. it’s sooooo frustrating when everyone’s gathered at the appointed time and date, but one person is struggling with the log-in. but all of the social platforms are easy to navigate; it’s just becoming familiar with which button to hit and when. the Houseparty.app adds extra features like games and quizzes. Quick Draw, Trivia, and Head’s Up are just a few. anyone remember Pictionary? mr. style, and i frequently pulled that game out at dinner parties, and our guests loved playing. 

how to host a virtual dinner party

this post brought to you by Ann Taylor

how to host a virtual dinner party

step 1:  pick a menu

pick a menu. it might be as easy picking out one dish for everyone to cook then compare notes. one of my favorite pastimes is plopping in a  chair and scouring cookbooks. my most cherished possession is a cookbook from my Nana with handwritten notes scribbled next to recipes. or you might want everyone to fend for themselves whip up individual meals then swap recipes. or support your favorite local restaurant and order take-out. and they truly need our love and patronage to weather these stormy times. it’s up to you, so have fun and get creative.

how to host a virtual dinner party

c/o gingham pants | top (old, similar here and here)

how to host a virtual dinner party

step 2:  set the scene

set the scene. yes, set the table as if everyone is headed to your house for dinner. flowers – check. placemats – check. napkins – check. wine – check. don’t forget your computer will be seated at the table too. the temps are on the warm side today, so time to open my porch for an alfresco meal. 

how to host a virtual dinner party

how to host a virtual dinner party

step three: happy hour

kick off the evening with a virtual happy hour. quarantini anyone?

step four:  conversation

steer the conversation towards happy and future events. come prepared with three or four icebreakers. and keep the conversation flowing.

how to host a virtual dinner party

how to host a virtual dinner party

step five:  dress the part

dress the part. yes, ladies, it’s a dinner party, so let’s have fun and dress up.  what says spring more than a pastel color palette? y’all know how much i love blazers. this time of year, they are a must-have as temps bounce from chilly to warm. this little number from Ann Taylor is a muted shade of purple called dreamy lilac. and it’s a dream to wear with piped trim and notched lapel. it’s made of linen, polyester, rayon, and spandex, and if you can believe it, it’s machine washable.

and what about a plaid skirt with a double flounce hem? it’s the perfect combination of fun and flirty. it comes with a self-tie belt if you want a little extra flair. i paired the plaid skirt with a simple winter white blouse with Nehru collar. it has a shirttail hem that you can tuck or untuck to your heart’s content.

last but not least are a snazzy pair of suede sandals with a comfy block heel.  all-in-all Ann Taylor has me covered for my virtual dinner party.

how to host a virtual dinner party

how to host a virtual dinner party

c/0 skirt | c/o blouse | c/o blazer | c/o sandals

how to host a virtual dinner party

a big thank you to Ann Taylor for this sponsored post. and thank you, lovely readers, for supporting the brands that allow me to bring fresh ideas.

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17 Comments

  1. carey houghton wrote:

    Beth, you’ve been a master at virtual visits for years…. since early SHanghai days!

    Posted 3.26.20
    • hi carey! yes, we’ve always been trendsetters. it was so easy to stay in touch with our kiddos with Facetime all those years ago while living on different continents. and mak and i had more than one virtual dinner party through our expat years.
      hope all is well with you and andrew. stay safe my sweet friend!
      xo

      Posted 3.26.20
  2. Sangita M wrote:

    Love the idea. I’ve been doing a virtual happy hour daily with my elderly parents who live out of state. Helps me to “look in” on them and it gives us something to look forward to. I love how you’ve managed to keep the blog relevant at this time (I’m sure it’s not easy). Look forward to it every day!
    Take Care

    Posted 3.26.20
    • there’s no reason these days to let distance or shelter-in-place separate us from our friends and family. so happy to hear this is how you stay connected with your parents! take care.

      Posted 3.26.20
  3. maureen lacerte wrote:

    What app are you using to do this? Or is it just Facetime?

    Posted 3.26.20
    • hi maureen! i mentioned several different mediums including Facetime in the post. so pick the platform you’re most comfortable with.

      Posted 3.26.20
  4. Andrea wrote:

    Okay you had me at blue and white. My mum loved blue and white. The two things we both wanted after she passed, were a large burnt orange red Buddha and a large Chinese themed blue and white platter. My bro took the Buddha because I already had a jade one, and I took the platter…sweet memories. You look fantastic in blue and white btw. Excellent idea to connect with friends and have the fun times we are craving…safely.💪

    Posted 3.26.20
  5. Mary Lou wrote:

    Oh my gosh! What an absolute great idea! I am going to plan one with my favourite Soul Sisters. Your blog brightens my day. Hugs ML

    Posted 3.26.20
  6. Francesca wrote:

    Thank you posting Beth, so nice to see your email waiting for me in the morning, brightens the day considerably!
    Love your outsde porch and how you decorated the table. We are going to try it for Friday!
    Love the outfit too !! Gorgous way to use plaid:)
    Take care.

    Posted 3.26.20
  7. Suzanne M Smith wrote:

    Well done, my dear. We’ve been having virtual zoom happy hours at this end. You’ve done a great job keeping things up on the blog even while quarantined. At least the view from your porch is pretty, with that wonderful spring green color I love, eh? Slainte!

    Posted 3.26.20
  8. Eve wrote:

    We were just talking along these lines. My husband is a musics nso they are sidelined right now. I suggested they get together online for a jam session. A Karoke party could be fun. I’ll bet a few friends getting together who like to cook and trying out a new recipe together in video chat would be fun. A knitting circle,etc.
    Your house looks lovely and so do you.

    Posted 3.26.20
  9. Lindsey Akin wrote:

    Beth I know you have a lot of readers who are grandparents. I’m younger (41), with a 1st grader and I want to do a shout-out for awesome grandparents who are helping many of us working parents who are trying to juggle work and homeschooling. My paid-job workload is up, (student services at a university) and I’m trying to keep my little one going with her education too. It’s pretty crazy!

    My mom and my MIL are both being great with helping with this – they’re prepping math questions so they can quiz her on her adding and subtraction, making spelling bee lists, and listening to her read over the phone or via facetime/zoom etc. And they are all loving this additional connection time, and way to pass the time in a purposeful way. So a huge thank you to all the grandparents reading this who are doing similar things.

    Posted 3.26.20
  10. I love the table setting. who makes the plates and silverware

    Posted 3.26.20
  11. lorena wrote:

    Great post Beth. A dinner party is a marvelous way to keep it going. Hugs.

    Posted 3.26.20
  12. jackie wrote:

    What a fabulous idea. All of my friends are from school over 45 years ago and we live all over the world and in different states. We were planning a catch up later in the year as we have lost some in the last 18months with that dreaded C word and this would be ideal……. I finally managed to find that Ann Taylor delivers to Australia. Thanks so much for the link and on the site there is this gorgeous Ivory tweed moto jacket. I thanked you for introducing me to Talbots and now must thank you for Ann Taylor.

    Posted 3.26.20
  13. jean wrote:

    hello!!!
    i’d would love you invite me for the dinner!!! 😉
    When you’re having loved ones over, setting a beautiful table is important!
    Pretty flowers, i also at home!!!
    thank you to share, you look great….
    Take care

    Posted 3.27.20
  14. Peg Weir wrote:

    Hi Beth,

    You and your table look pretty for your virtual dinner party.

    Please let us know how it went. You seem all set.

    Happy Virtual Dinner this Friday night!
    Peg

    Posted 3.27.20

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