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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour Guidelines and Tips

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Just like planning any get-together, virtual happy hours require some thought and preparation.  Even though this may not be a registered event, the party planning guide has some good first steps. . Here are some *tips to help you plan one for your friends or organization:


  • Keep the gatherings small and manageable- no more than 10 people - otherwise your guests won't be able to be heard and conversations won't flow well. Encourage participants to “mute” themselves when not speaking if the audio quality starts to suffer. 

  • Just like you would for any party, set a start and end time.

  • Have attendees use the grid option (labeled as “Gallery” on Zoom)  so they can see everyone who is there.  

  • As the host, provide suggestions on drinks and snacks for the guests.  Make sure to include EANABS (equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages, like kombucha, sparkling apple cider, iced tea, sparkling water) as drink options. 

  • Is this a themed event? A wine or beer tasting? What about a cocktail hour? Is it something more casual? Do you want guests to dress up a bit, or are sweats OK? 

  • If there is a theme make certain it is not insensitive or offensive. 

  • If doing a cocktail hour, have an easy-to-make signature drink that guests can make together.

  • Think about the timing of where folks might be around the country or world (coffee might be appropriate if it’s morning in some places).

  • Do your best to make sure people are alternating between alcohol and EANABS.

  • Avoid drinking games as they promote rapid consumption of alcohol.  

  • Be mindful of how much alcohol you are drinking. People tend to overpour drinks for themselves. 

  • Try to keep the conversation light.

  • Have planned activities on hand to encourage everyone to be involved. Groups can watch a show or movie together if one person shares their screen. Also consider multiple player online video games. 

  • Be a good host and encourage each guest to engage in the conversation.  Check-in with people who may not be talking much. 

  • Use headphones in order to not disturb your roommates (if they aren’t participating).

  • This is about keeping social connections while physically distancing, so make it about the conversations and catching up rather than about the alcohol.  


*Some of these suggestions are shared from the New York Times, How to Have a Successful Virtual Happy Hour,article published on March 20, 2020.