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How to host the best virtual graduation party

By David Syrek and Alison Bowen, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

You've looked forward to this for roughly 18 years. It's time for your family to celebrate the graduate. And what you had envisioned - family and friends filling the house, senior ceremonies - has been docked due to COVID-19.

You can still have all the parties you want.

Maybe you have a family-focused Zoom (after all, Grandma doesn't need to hear all the inside jokes from friends) and a huge one for friends. Now's the time to get out of your cliques - invite everyone from your senior class, including all your besties as well as the kids you rarely got a chance to talk to. Make it a big and cohesive senior party, online.

You're the host, so you need to do a little bit of advance work. Just like any other party, you'll want to think through the decorations, the food, your outfit and - in our new normal - where to host online. You can knock this out of the park if you want, and make it a moment to remember. Here are five ways to make it happen.

1. Create a Class of 2020 playlist

We aren't talking about the Pomp and Circumstance march. Customize your party as much as possible. Once the guest list is set, ask each friend to contribute a favorite song or two to create a playlist that sets the tone and captures this moment. Don't forget to throw in a retro classic. Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" anyone? Share it on Spotify and have the perfect background sounds.

2. Dress for the party

You've been living in sweats for two months. Now it's time to pull it together and get dressed to party - and ask your guests to dress up. There are great options out there that won't break the bank, like Zara's daisy print mini dress or a sharp black blazer to class things up a little. And just because it's not an IRL party doesn't mean you have to give up the fun accessories. Think graduation tiaras, or a graphic tee under that blazer.


3. Create a backdrop and decorate in your school colors

This is the time to go all out on the wall that will be the background that your friends see. Set the on-screen scene for an awesome graduation party with a class of 2020 backdrop and color-coordinated party balloons. Party City's 2020 Graduation Scene Setter comes in nine school colors and the Confetti Balloon Column Kit comes in blue, red or black and white.

4. Eat 'together' with a coordinated food delivery

Get creative with dinner. Talk with the guests in advance to pick a favorite restaurant or food like Korean wings, Mexican or pizza, then coordinate delivery orders so that you can all and eat "together." Dress up your meal with festive glitter graduation party picks.

5. Get everyone engaged

For an interactive party idea, play a trivia game about your classmates and school. The host asks the questions and the first person to text in the correct answer gets a point. Add up the score and the winner gets a treat sent to them. We like Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes with flavors like Blueberry Pancake, Cookie Monster and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.

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