Over a year into the pandemic, many of us face a dilemma. On the one hand, we desperately miss our friends and family, but on the other hand, Zoom fatigue is real and the thought of hopping on yet another video chat isn’t the novel thrill it once was. This doesn’t mean virtual dinner parties have to be a bore. With some thoughtful planning and a few creative ideas, your next virtual dinner party will leave guests wanting more.                                                             

7 fun virtual dinner party ideas

Become the virtual hostess with the mostess (and score a few deals while you’re at it) with these fun event ideas.

1. Order a gourmet meal

Chicken skewers with veggies on a plateYou wouldn’t ask your guests to bring their own meals to an in-person dinner party, so why would you for a virtual one? Skip the mess and give everyone a break from monotonous home cooking by arranging for a gourmet meal delivery. Not just delicious, the meal can serve as a shared experience and point of discussion– particularly if you opt for a tasting menu or unfamiliar cuisine. If you really want to go all out, tie your food delivery to a party theme and don’t forget the cocktails (tacos and margaritas, anyone?).

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2. Arrange a virtual wine and cheese tasting

red wine and cheese platter Class things up with a wine and cheese tasting menu delivered straight to each guests’ door. One benefit of a virtual wine tasting is no one has to drive, so everyone can participate. Use your virtual party as an opportunity to support Canadian wineries and set the scene with a virtual background of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Prince Edward County, or the Okanagan Valley. Get creative and pick a theme like “Que Syrah Syrah” or “Celebrity Wine.” Don’t take yourself too seriously, and enjoy!

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3. Plan a cooking class or order DIY meals kits

chopping of vegetables

The key to preventing guests from turning into Zoom zombies is a shared experience. Keep things active and fun with a virtual cooking class or easy DIY meal kits from a restaurant like Oliver & Bonacini. If your crew aren’t exactly pro chefs, keep things on the easy side with pre-chopped ingredients or a simple appetizer kit prior to a pre-cooked main dish. For pre-dinner drinks, order DIY cocktail kits or sign up for an online mixology course to boost your bartender skills.

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4. Brunch with the girls 

healthy breakfast spread

Whether you cook at home or order in from a service like DoorDash, a virtual brunch is a great way to shake things up. Keep things uber casual with a pyjama dress code or get fancy in your Sunday best. For a thoughtful, but inexpensive special touch, send your guests a package of your favourite coffee or tea. Don’t forget to get the good vibes going with a Spotify brunch-themed playlist like “Sunny Side Up” or “Bottomless Brunch.”

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5. Plan a themed dinner 

three girls doing a virtual christmas party

Everyone needs an excuse to get out of their sweatpants, so give your guests one with a themed virtual dinner party. Spread some festive spirit with “Christmas in July,” pretend you’re on vacation with a Hawaiian luau, or cater to true crime fans with a murder mystery. To encourage spirited participation, hold a costume contest with prizes you can send in the mail (e-gift cards work too!). Go beyond themed food and drink with fun digital invites, virtual backgrounds, and even virtual dinner party games.

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6. Order easy takeout from a local joint

Takeout food

Because we could all use some comfort food right about now. Whip up a favourite family recipe or try something completely new in the kitchen or via video chat. There’s an endless resource of recipes online and many chefs offer virtual baking lessons. A virtual cookie swap is a great idea for larger families; ask everyone to make an extra batch and ship them afterwards. If your mom or grandma still relies on a physical recipe book, offer to help digitize it for all family members to enjoy. Make sure to include any special notes in the margins!

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Looking for more virtual party tips and activities? Read our article on virtual holiday ideas.

Get everything you need for your virtual dinner party!

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Make your virtual dinner party one to remember with meals, cocktails, and more delivered to your door. And why not save while you’re at it? Download Ampli, and you could earn cash back when you make purchases online or in-store at partnering retailers like Boston Pizza, Oliver & Bonacini, Colossal Cookie, Michaels, Indigo, and more. 

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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial, or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.