Billionaire Ashok Hinduja (left) ushered in his 70th birthday in July with a lavish, private music concert held virtually. It showed that even in these socially distant times, the ‘big, fat, Indian celebration’ hasn’t disappeared but instead evolved into something more intimate and personalised.
Here are a few tips to make your next virtual celebration, be it a wedding, birthday or Diwali party, feel more luxurious and memorable.
Make It Personal
The best way to make a video call celebration memorable is to focus on the small details — decor, colour palette, food — and make them reflect your personality. “It’s about making that one family table as grand as you’d like instead of ten tables with understated decor,” says Vandana Mohan, founder, The Wedding Design Company, explaining how virtual weddings have retained that special touch even in the pandemic.
Paying attention to the little things can also help guests feel more included. “Some couples get special Zoom backgrounds designed for guests who can’t make it. Or they send them specialised hampers (with candles, silk flowers, handmade chocolates etc.) so that they feel like a part of the festivities,” she adds.
“Gift hampers are becoming more innovative, personal and luxurious in these times to make every single absentee guest feel special,” says Bhavnesh Sawhney, co-founder, FB Celebrations.
Sawhney recently curated an intimate 50th birthday where guests, both those present and absent, were sent stainless steel hip f lasks (worth `975 each) personalised with their names and frames with a handwritten Rumi quote as a token of love. “The gifting aspect can really make one feel special even miles away, especially when it is curated. These gifts can go hand in hand with the distribution of invites, especially for the older family members, who do not have access to e-invites as young people do,” he adds.
Curate A Hamper
Food is another way hosts are personalising their parties. Some couples send their guests curated hampers of dry snacks and premixes of cocktails so that they can enjoy the virtual party experience together. “Another option is having catered meal boxes delivered to the homes of guests from their favourite restaurants or an array of fabulous home chefs,” says Sawhney.
Consider An Emcee
Technology is critical when planning a virtual celebration. Plan ahead and consider potential problems like audio issues, bad lighting, incorrect positioning of the camera, the possibility of people talking over each other, etc.
“The multi-camera set-up must be positioned for optimal viewing. Switching between cameras is important to provide some visual relief to guests. The lighting has to be magical. Guests should feel like they are not merely watching a video and that their online presence actually matters. Invest in an emcee who will welcome guests and keep them engaged with fun activities and entertainment planned for every minute of the call,” Sawhney suggests.
Add A Signature Element
Special music, food or a dress code can help the party feel more put-together and professional. For Ashok Hinduja’s 70th birthday, music was the signature touch. “Music makes a party!” recalls wife Harsha. “We had three renowned maestros — Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam and Anup Jalota — who set the mood for the celebration. They sang Ashok’s favourite songs and took requests from our family and guests.”