Virtual events might feel like a consolation prize in this unusual year where it’s difficult to gather safely with those that we love. But if you’ve attended a well-produced online event, you know that they can be really fun. And it almost feels like you’re “there” with the other guests. 

The holidays are coming up and many people who typically host a gathering with family, friends, or colleagues might be grappling with how to take it online. Virtual events are new and the technology can be daunting, to say the least. And let’s face it, we’re all having a bit of screen fatigue. But after hosting dozens of events online, we can say that it’s always worth it to muster through those challenges because, in the end, you’ll feel reconnected with the people you are missing. The vibe may be a little different, but it’s still a warm and fuzzy feeling when you leave a fun virtual event.

Keep it interactive. 

Whether it’s an activity that everyone can easily do together or a game that can be played online, having structure at your online event can keep things interesting. We recommend starting the event off by picking a cocktail (or mocktail) for everyone to make together. If someone in your group is an expert, have them lead the group in the cocktail making. Be sure to send out an ingredient list in advance to ensure people have enough time to gather them and participate. If the cocktail is made from things people may already have on hand at home - or ingredients that can be easily substituted - even better.

Move on to a group activity or an online game once everyone has created their cocktail. What does your crew normally do in person that might be able to be recreated virtually? Think about games or activities that get everyone involved or can include spectators. Jackbox games are a fun option for lots of ages (be sure to look for the family-friendly version if you have children tagging along). 

Virtual events can be as short as one hour or as many as three hours depending on how much fun your guests are having! If you have a larger group of people or people that do not know each other as well, break the larger group up into smaller groups to allow for mixing and mingling. You can assign these randomly, or if all guests have recently updated their Zoom application they can choose their own room. 

Finally, if you're still feeling overwhelmed we are offering a party package to help. After months of hosting and perfecting our clients’ virtual events, we’ve cracked the code for what’s fun (and we left out what’s not). We created an option for you to take the best of the best with our Be There Holiday Hang. You will create your own adventure as you host your virtual holiday party with our platform. This is perfect for families, friends, colleagues, and basically anyone you want to celebrate with right now. Your party includes:

  • games
  • contests + activities
  • virtual photo booth
  • custom DJ mix
  • and more!

Who knows, maybe you’ll have so much fun, you’ll be choosing this online format again in the future even after things improve from the pandemic. Good luck planning and let us know if we can help!

David and Devlin recently married with a safe and socially distanced wedding and we were thrilled to celebrate with them! They had a small, intimate luncheon wedding at the Leland Tea Garden in Burlingame, CA. We offered them photography for their elopement and live-streamed the wedding so they could include their East Coast friends and family! A handful of friends joined in-person while their online guests tuned from afar and watched the live broadcast of the couple reciting their vows here in the Bay Area. They’ll be reliving the moment next year in a larger celebration, but it was wonderful to help them move forward with something small this year, though! Everyone is making adjustments during the pandemic and couples are still moving forward with safe weddings. It feels great to be a part of them! 

C+A Photographer: Shelley Anderson

C+A Live Stream Technician: Ersson Bartle

There seems to be a theme happening in 2020...couple's are still going through with the a small wedding while postponing the larger celebration to a safer time in 2021). Oya and Nick originally planned a June 2020 wedding at the Ivy Room in Chicago, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. They still chose to get married on their original wedding date with an intimate justice of the peace ceremony at Chicago's City Hall. They asked us to commemorate the special day with a wedding day couple's photo session at the University of Chicago's iconic and beautiful campus. And it turns out an abandoned college campus was the perfect place for a socially distanced photo session! Here are a few of our favorites. Oya and Nick, we can't wait to celebrate again with you next year!

C+A Photographer: Hadassah

 
Cage + Aquarium is excited to bring "Be There" virtual event and live streaming services to all upcoming Neighborhood Nuptials wedding dates. Read on to hear all about this unique opportunity for couples to throw a small, yet beautiful, wedding and support local businesses in their Chicago neighborhood at the same time. The first pop-up takes place on June 28th at the Lytle House. We are joining our planning partner in crime, Naturally Yours Events, to donate the proceeds of this event to the NAACP and The Brave Space Alliance, a black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center in the South Side of Chicago. Thank you to Naturally Yours Events for this guest post below!
 
When COVID-19 initially hit, the wedding industry didn't know how large of an impact it would eventually have on the future of events and large celebrations. Now we have been surrounded by a vendor community pivoting their businesses so we all can still celebrate love in a safe but fun, memorable way!
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak, the team at Naturally Yours Events have conducted many conversations with their 2020 couples about their wedding plans- answering questions about cancellation, if/when they should postpone, how to plan a party for the future, as well as offering additional services with a new Postponement Planning package. They were heartbroken each time they helped a couple through changing their plans and it doesn't get easier. Postponing a wedding is a very emotional experience as two of their team members have even experienced with their own weddings. 
 
With all the uncertainty they see their couples facing, Naturally Yours Events began to brainstorm how there can still be a focus on positivity, love, and community amidst our current climate. They wanted to create a way for people to still get married this year because they believe engaged couples shouldn't have to put their lives on hold as they wait for life to return to normal- or whatever normal will end up looking like.
 
With personal experience from courthouse weddings to elopements and the most intimate of small weddings- the team knew there was a possibility to create a unique, meaningful experience in which to say "I Do's" that was much more exciting than the beige basement of city hall. Wanting to focus on supporting local Chicago small businesses, the team collaborated with neighborhood venues across the city of Chicago and partnered with environmentally and socially responsible wedding vendors within the community. All of this led to the founding of Neighborhood Nuptials where couples can get married in their neighborhood, their way.
 
Neighborhood Nuptials is popping up for one day at each of their neighborhood venue partners. Engaged couples plan their nuptials with the assistance of Naturally Yours Events, say their vows in front of the gorgeous backdrop of a local wedding venue, capture every moment with a designated photographer, and live stream all the excitement to their friends and family with Cage & Aquarium's Be There service. 
 
Naturally Yours Events plans weddings & events that are full of personality and they reject the idea that weddings have to look or feel a certain way. Keeping with that philosophy of cultivating creative event experiences, they encourage couples to choose from thoughtful additions to make their Neighborhood Nuptials truly personalized and unique. From cake & champagne toasts, lush seasonal personal flowers, brunch & dinner packages, professional officiating, hair & makeup services, to live-streamed dance party receptions and more- couples have the opportunity to make the most out of their special day. 
 
Neighborhood Nuptials' first wedding ceremony pop-up is scheduled for the day Chicago's Pride Parade was supposed to take place before the coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold. They'll be popping up in the Edgewater neighborhood at Lytle House on Sunday, June 28th. To start planning their nuptials, couples can fill out a style questionnaire on the website and then get connected to a planner to coordinate all the details so they can just focus on the "I Do's" and not the To-Dos.
 
Other pop-ups are coming this summer to Chicago neighborhoods including West Town (July 11th at Fairlie), South Loop (July 18th at Mae District), Bridgeport (August 8th at Sculpture Garden), Logan Square (August 22nd at The Joinery), West Loop (September 19th at Ignite Glass Studios), and Ravenswood (September 26th at Artifact Events). 
 
Vendor Partners in upcoming events:

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