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.
H&M: 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.
Showcase: Set the scene by lighting a candle. This 3-wick peony-scented candle from Hidden Gems uses natural oils for a calming and stress-relieving scent and looks just as good as it smells.
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.
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.
Hudson’s Bay: 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 delicious roast chicken, braised short ribs and hearty casseroles).
Hudson’s Bay: Since kitchen space is the most important during this time, clear away the kitchen clutter and cook it all with the amazing Instant Pot. The popular pressure cooker also works as a cake maker, egg cooker, steamer, and more.
DAVIDsTEA: If you’re looking for a fun beverage to sip on, this loose leaf tea blend is a peachy delight. Drink it hot or as a cool refreshment. Try blending it with frozen strawberries and white rum, stirring in some agave or even serving it with a splash of Prosecco.
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 down, here’s how to do it in style.
RW&Co.: A lightweight open cardigan is an easy way to pull your look together in a cinch. Throw it on over a t-shirt after you’re ready to go from the kitchen to virtually dining with your guests.
Sport Chek: Soft and ultra-comfy, this overall-inspired jumpsuit from Free People is perfect for layering over your favourite tee. It also packs just enough polish with bow accents on the hips.
Roots: The trick to pulling off sweatpants is to choose a slim fit silhouette that looks more stylish than slouchy. Wear it with a hoodie when you’re off-duty or throw on a cardigan if you want to look more put-together.
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 OUR PREPPED FOOD
COBS Bread: Individually hand-crafted breads come in many flavours and textures. Open from 6am-5pm daily and available on Uber Eats.
Real Fruit Bubble Tea: Fruit drinks made with real fruits available on Uber Eats.
Humble Roots Organic: Organic and vegan treats packed with wholesome ingredients. Contactless delivery and pick-up available.
Olive Oil Co.: High-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar offering local delivery.
Village Juicery: 100% organic cold pressed juice available for delivery.
The Wine Shop: Offering some of the best wines that the Niagara region has to offer available for delivery.
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.