While stores, restaurants, salons and more places are starting to open back up here in the Lone Star State, the trusty ole 6-foot-rule is still strongly recommended. Even so, you can still throw birthday parties, baby showers and other celebrations. But how do you throw a drive-by event? How do you have a party during a pandemic?
We spoke to Lottie Fowler of Grit + Gold Event Co. in Dallas-Fort Worth about how throw a fun event, while still following social distancing guidelines.
Fowler has some great suggestions when it comes to different types of parties you can throw right now. You can keep it simple with a Zoom or FaceTime party, or go big with a drive-in movie theater party.
But what’s really trending? “Birthday parades are the COVID craze,” she says. “It’s a great way to shower a loved one while keeping your distance. Send out your invite with a parade route, encourage guests to dress up their cars, time it just right and commence the horn blowing.”
You could also consider throwing a “quarantine party,” somewhat like the one Fowler recently threw for her husband’s 40th birthday. “He is a May 5th babe, so it’s always a fiesta!” Fowler says. “Because of the gathering restrictions, I decided I couldn’t have everyone there at the same time, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have everyone there at different times.”
So Fowler planned accordingly and staggered her celebration, while keeping things all outdoors. “We held everything on our front porch and kept to our 6-feet rule,” she says. And while you’re at it, make it a surprise! “He figured out what was going on around the third visit but still did not know who was coming up next. It created fun surprises all day long.”
Fowler planned eight 40-minute visits from friends and family. “One guest would leave, we would have a 10-minute break and the next guest would arrive.”
Decorate Your Heart Out
And don’t forget the decorations! Fowler says that just because parties are a little different right now, that doesn’t mean they can’t still be intentional. For example, balloon installs and yard signs are all the rage right now.
For her husband’s 40th, Fowler had a local sign company install H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y D-A-D-D-Y in the yard the night before. Fowler says she loves EZ Party Time for balloon installs and Curb Appeal Party for custom signs.
So what about invitations? Do you keep with the traditional, paper invite? Or do you go digital? Fowler is usually a sucker for a great paper invite, but in this new time, she says to “hit people up with a digital invite, Facebook event or whatever is easy to manage and spread the word fast.”
Gifts, Gifts, Gifts
And as a guest, how do you give a gift? Fowler recommends bringing a gift just like normal. “It’s how the host of the party should retrieve them that matters,” she says. “The host should create one designated space where all gifts are placed, either a table or a basket. Then the host should take appropriate cleaning measures to open items up just as you would in receiving a package delivered to your door. Be cautious and handle with care!”
If you decide to throw a quarantine party like Fowler’s, consider bringing in a professional to serve food and beverages. “This way all precautionary measures are taken to ensure the health and well-being of your guests,” she explains. “If you aren’t comfortable with handling food, don’t. Do a small group mingle (with distance) and [make] it BYOB.”
For her husband’s fiesta, Fowler had a local taco truck park in front to serve all the guests, and she ordered her husband’s favorite Tres Leches cake.
Bring in the Experts
And finally, if trying to plan something really fun and exciting with all the limitations seems too stressful for you, go to the experts. Hire a planner! “We know all the inside scoop in the event industry right now and can cut through the craze,” notes Fowler.
All in all, you can definitely find a way to have an unforgettable pandemic party. Reflecting on her husband’s birthday fiesta, Fowler says, “Honestly, it was one of the most memorable and special birthdays to date.”
Are you having a party soon for a birthday, baby shower or something else? Tell us how you’re doing it firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Lottie Fowler.