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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Niharika Singh is all dressed up for her sister’s mehendi function. Except Singh is in Berkeley, CA (she goes to UC Berkeley), and her sister’s function is in India. So she decorates her background wall with flowers, then joins her family on Zoom. 

It was Niharika’s idea to attend her sister’s wedding virtually. She’s not been to India since this invisible virus invaded in our lives, so this was her next best option.

An Indian function celebrated on Zoom. Credit: Parul Sanghi

The age of social distancing has proved remarkably social. People are taking advantage of virtual options, attending parties and functions on video. Event companies even have a separate videographer to handle Zoom sessions with an audience.

Peter Wick of Party and Event Planners says, “Just because all your friends and family can’t come together in real life, doesn’t mean you should skip the celebration altogether. We have a thing called a Zoom party.”

While there are plenty of other video chat applications out there, like Google Hangouts, Face Time and Skype, Zoom has emerged as the most common platform for celebrating birthdays and special occasions, or for hosting online social events like game nights, cocktail hours, playing board games and virtual dance parties. Even funerals.

“Recently, I got a client who had all her relatives in America,” says Manisha Agarwal, owner of Skyway Events. “It was her baby shower and my client was stuck in India because of the virus. She was clear she wanted every detail of her party to be visible and everything very modern, innovative. She did not have any offline audience; all attendees were online.”

She continues, “Special guests like a magician, dance expert or any artist who participates with the invitees are the biggest trend. So we got a magician for the party and conducted a ‘Baby on Board Game’ with her online relatives.”

Having a big group where not everyone knows one another can be overwhelming for some, especially when silences or side conversations somehow seem more awkward. If you want to celebrate with your friends but the presence of a few extra people on Zoom feels like too much, scheduling time slots can be an option.

Get ready to elevate your milestone parties at home with the following ideas and make your sessions a successful one:

Have Creative Backdrops

In real life, people are worried about wearing the perfect outfit, but on Zoom parties, the only thing that matters is the backdrop. People are listening to you, but also watching things around you. There are loads of virtual background options available, but you can include a scene from your favourite spot, any festive backdrop, or a crowded dance floor.

A Dance Party!

Grab a famous DJ, a celebrity singer, or anyone ready to showcase their talent on Zoom. Put up a dance competition, add a karaoke session and groove to rap music.

Kids’ Birthday Party

Have your little ones make crafts together and play board games. Hire a clown or a magician. You could also opt for a Halloween themed party where you could put up a creative costume competition and have pumpkin-carving fun. And this party could be a global party. Invite all your kids’ friends, pen pals or friends of friends on a video call!