Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events that would typically happen in person, such as holiday meals, baby or bridal showers, and even weddings, have been taken online. According to the CDC, virtual or online gatherings, activities, or events present the lowest risk, which makes sense since there are no concerns about maintaining social distance when everyone is attending from the comfort of their own homes.
While an online event may look different than the in-person activities we’re all used to, there are some additional perks aside from safety. For one, family members or friends who typically wouldn’t be able to attend due to distance can now join in on the fun as easily as those who live just down the street. Plus, virtual or online events are usually much more affordable to hold than in-person ones since you don’t have to rent a venue or feed guests. You might need a paid subscription to video conferencing software, but there are plenty of free versions available, too, making online events a budget-friendly solution for celebrating milestones and important occasions.
If you find yourself in a position to host a virtual event, you’ll need to approach planning a bit differently than you would an in-person gathering. We’ve compiled some tips below to help you make your online event enjoyable for all.
1. Pick an Activity
When hosting a successful virtual event, try to choose an activity to serve as the focal point. Otherwise, attendees might end up staring at their laptop monitors, wondering if it’s their turn to speak.
What you do depends on the type of event you’re hosting. If you’re holding your wedding online, you can structure the ceremony much in the same way you would an in-person wedding. You can ask friends to read a poem or passage, sing a song, or say a few words. You can also have an officiant deliver a message and walk you and your spouse through your vows.
If you’re holding a party online, such as your wedding reception, bridal shower, baby shower, or milestone birthday celebration, pick a game to play to keep people engaged. Some options that work well in an online setting include:
- Trivia games
- Word scrambles
- Two Truths and a Lie
The activities you choose should fit the audience and theme of the event. For example, at a wedding shower, the questions can be about the couple, how they met, what they like or dislike, and what they plan on doing in the future.
2. Plan for Technical Difficulties
Even with a tech-savvy crowd, there might be technical issues during an online event. Try to anticipate any potential problems, such as your Internet connection going out or your microphone shutting off in the middle of your wedding vows.
If you’re the person getting married, you might want to assign someone else to act as the host of the event during the ceremony. They can be responsible for muting noisy guests or for making sure the speakers transition seamlessly throughout the program.
3. Set a Time Limit for the Event
In-person events can comfortably stretch on for hours and hours, but it’s usually a different story with virtual programming. To give your guests peace of mind, and to increase the likelihood of filling the entire schedule, set a time limit for your online event, such as an hour or an hour and a half.
To help you stick to your time limit, create an agenda and ask a co-host or other attendee to help keep track of time. Encourage people to use the chat feature to interact with each other in cases when it’s not possible for everyone to participate verbally in the allocated time.
PSECU Can Help Support You During the Pandemic
Event planning isn’t the only thing that’s changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – it may have affected your finances, too. You might be adjusting your approach to money management, creating a new budget, or coping with job loss. PSECU is here to support you during these difficult times and beyond. For more tips on managing your finances during the pandemic, visit the Navigating COVID-19 section of our blog.