Reese Witherspoon’s Party Planner on Hosting the Perfect Virtual Party

Continued social distancing doesn’t have to mean the end of socializing.

As the planet continues to stick close to home in the effort of slowing the global coronavirus pandemic, time still marches on. And that means there are birthdays, holidays and other special events in one’s life that still warrant celebrating, even—and, perhaps, especially—in the face of so much darkness. 

Luckily, we’re living in a time where technology has made it easier than ever before to be connected even if we can’t be together through video chat platforms like Zoom. So, though your parties may be a little different than they’ve been in the past, they can still happen. All it takes is a little creativity and ingenuity. And the help of a celebrity event planner wouldn’t hurt.

With that in mind, E! News spoke with event planner Yifat Oren, who runs luxury experience film Oren Co. and whose list of celebrity clientele includes Reese Witherspoon Drew Barrymore, Adam Levine, Anne Hathaway, Jason Bateman, and Natalie Portman, for some tips on how to you can host the perfect virtual celebration for any occasion!

Why It’s Important to Maintain Socialization

“Everyone is hungry for a little company. After the first week, I think everyone was hungry for company,” Oren told us exclusively. “For me, after being on Zoom all day for meetings, I’m over it. I don’t even want to be on the phone. And I think a lot of people are doing things like the Zoom parties. I’m kind of into doing these fun Zoom backgrounds. I think it’s really fun to choose backgrounds and do a theme party around it. You can send photos ahead of time and have people choose their background or just send the theme and have people come up with their backgrounds. So you can do like a Spring Fling, or I would do the Swiss Alps’ You can do a ‘Fall’ background. Super fun. Have people come up with their own fun backgrounds for like spring fling or like a beach party and center your theme around that for starters.”

Instagram; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration

Think Outside the Box 

“You can also be having a Swedish Midsummers Night party,” the event planner suggested. “You can be very exotic with these parties right now on Zoom. You can have a Russian White Knights party. You can be having caviar and vodka. Things can be very exotic right now. Way more exotic than you would having your real party. It doesn’t take too much to accomplish this, either. You are basically throwing the party for yourself or whoever is in your home and asking your friends to join in. Because all you really need is really a screen—your computer—and a head gear and some caviar or vodka. Small props like that make a difference.”

Plan Ahead of Time and Include Activities

“You do your own drink or you can circulate a drink recipe ahead of time to your friends for you all to make and have the same thing,” Oren shared. “Now, if you have kids, all the kids are home. We’ve been doing Pictionary with friends, which is very fun. If you have a whiteboard, it’s [an] easy way of entertainment. Adults love it too, by the way. You can do Pictionary or even a charades parties. All you need is a dry-erase board, which you can get online, or you can improvise with what you have at home.”

Don’t Count Out Dinner Parties

“Other ideas for you could be something like a ‘one-dish cooking party,’ where everyone makes the same thing,” she suggested. “Even if you’re cooking, I take the iPad into the kitchen and do the party while you’re cooking and then you sit down and eat together with your friends. So you pour yourself a glass of wine and then you make the pasta, so everyone is in their own kitchen cooking, talking, so you do that with like three or four couples and that is really fun right now.”

Do Keep It Light

“I don’t talk about news. I deal with that all day long. I think that, by the time we’re doing something social, things are so heavy and so sad right now,” Oren said. “People want to drown their sorrows. They just want to keep things light. So by the time it is the end of the day, when they’re planning these happy hours and Zoom parties with their friends, it’s finally an escape. Because you just need an outlet. You really do. These parties are a way for us to connect and have a light at the end of all of this.”


Keep an Eye on the Clock

“I wouldn’t do them for a huge long time,” Oren said of hosting your own event. “Like an hour, an hour-and-a-half, I would say. Usually it’s drinks and something light to eat. Put a couple hors d’oeuvres or something light out. Don’t make it too complicated because you don’t know what people are able to get or do where they are…I also like to log on if I’m hosting 30 minutes before, or I’ll text everyone 30 minutes before and say, ‘Here’s my drink! I’m getting ready!’ And I post a photo of the drink I just made.”

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov.

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