The Grooming Manual
Do you like to party hard every year on St. Patrick’s Day? Depending on where you live and what your social distancing plan is, the 2021 festivities may be looking a little… different.
But don’t let the pandemic spoil all your fun! If you’re moving your St. Patrick’s Day party to the virtual world, use these tips to make it enjoyable, memorable, and an all around good time.
Small Group, Best Group
It can be tempting to invite all your friends to your virtual St. Patrick’s Day event. After all, it’s easy. They can join from home. And you can get together all your pals from all over the world and…
Slow down, partner. Some attendees want to use tablets or phones that only allow you to view a few other screens at a time. So for your virtual event, smaller is better.
Check whichever virtual meeting app you’re going to use to see how many participants can be comfortably viewed on one screen. That eliminates swiping back and forth just to say hi to other attendees. It also prevents the cacophony of everyone yelling over each other trying to have multiple conversations on a platform that simply doesn’t allow for it.
A small group - maximum 9 connections for most apps - still allows for almost normal conversation and plenty of variety in the guests you invite.
Add Small Holiday Touches
You can “decorate” your screen to fit the St. Patrick’s Day party you wish you could have. Get a little creative and it will feel authentic to the virtual medium.
- Ask everyone to wear something green - maybe a hat, a shamrock headband, or something else goofy and on theme.
- Design a virtual background image specific to your party or generally St. Patrick’s Day themed. Try shamrocks, a bar scene, a photo from a holiday parade, or something else that fits the occasion.
- Build a real world background for your party. If you have a little more time and feel like flexing your creativity, make a pop-up St. Patrick’s Day themed bar in your house - complete with beers, glasses, and holiday decor - and sit there for your Zoom call/party.
Lighting and Camera Angles Matter More Than You Think
Proper lighting and camera positioning can make or break your virtual shin-dig. If you look like trash while you’re trying to host, it’s going to be bad.
Fortunately, these are amongst the easiest things to manage. Here are a few rules of good lighting and positioning:
- Set your camera at just above eye level. It should be looking directly at you or ever so slightly down towards you - not up at the ceiling or down at the floor. This might mean elevating your computer on a few books or using a tripod to set up your camera.
- Put your light source in front of, not behind, you. Sitting in front of a bright window or lamp is murder on your video feed. Use lighting directly in front of you (perhaps bounced off a wall) to properly illuminate your face. This guide on how to set up good lighting at home shows that you don’t need a professional setup to look nice - just some smart choices about what lighting you use and where you place those light sources.
Remember, all that matters is how you look on the screen. Behind the scenes can be a jumble of oddly placed lamps and criss-crossing extension cords. If that’s what makes your face look naturally lit on the Zoom call, go for it.
And don’t forget - no lighting is a replacement for your skincare routine. Your HD webcam is not forgiving to your blemishes, wrinkles, and fine lines. So before you jump on the call, do yourself (and your invitees) a favor and spend a few minutes on your skin.
- For most guys, just a quick wash followed up with eye cream and face moisturizer will help your skin look bright and smooth on the screen.
- If you’ve got oily skin, applying toner before you get on the call will cut down shine and prevent a greasy glare from blinding your party guests. (Do it with your fancy party hat on for bonus points.)
Keep the Drinking Games Simple and Virtual-Friendly
Don’t try to perfectly recreate the experience of hanging out in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. You’re at your house staring at a computer screen. It isn’t possible.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time and enjoy some classically embarrassing drinking games. Here are some ideas:
- Truth or Drink - Just like Truth or Dare, you take turns asking the most ridiculous and/or shame inducing questions you can think of - except now you have to take a drink if you’re not willing to fess up.
- Never Have I Never - Each of you takes turns saying a thing they’ve never done, then everyone who has done that thing takes a drink. Get ready to learn some wild stuff about your friends.
- Most Likely To - Take turns asking who in the group is most likely to do a thing. Then the group votes on which participant fits the bill - and they have to take a drink.
Set a Time to End the Party
Virtual events tend to drag at the end. It’s been fun, but now it’s time to go.
Except no one wants to be the first to bail. It’s not like you have to drive home. It’s not like you have anywhere else to go. And it feels bad to announce your done and skip out on your friends.
But staring at Zoom gets exhausting and at some point it needs to end. Avoid this socially distanced awkwardness by building a hard end time into your party planning.
Even if people are still having fun when the time comes to shut it down, stick to it. It’s better to end your party on a high note than to let it fizzle and then have to end the call just to put everyone out of their misery.
Above All, Have Fun
Your virtual St. Patrick’s Day party doesn’t have to suck. And it won’t - if you follow these tips, plan everything out well, and keep expectations low.
This isn’t a real life in person event - so don’t try to make it one. Instead, embrace the weirdness of partying apart-but-together. It may not be perfect, but it can still be a great time.