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How to Throw the Perfect Event in Lockdown

Woman having a picnic with lots of food and flowers

From weddings to graduations, many important celebrations look a lot different these days due to Covid-19. The way we mark milestones in our lives is always changing, and lockdown has been no exception. The pandemic is shaping the types of celebrations we are able to have, from virtual gatherings to distanced outdoor festivities.

Michelle Esteban walking outside in an orange outfit.
Preston Farrell

To help you prep for your next event, we spoke with Michelle Esteban, founder of the luxury boutique event planning and design firm The Occasion. She gave us all the tips and tricks you need for your next party to keep your friends and families safe while still having fun.

Enjoy an exotic getaway – virtually

Black couple sitting on a couch watching TV on a laptop

Due to government restrictions and safety precautions, many people are avoiding travel and staying put in their homes. But this doesn’t mean you can’t imagine you’re somewhere far away, whether that be a tropical beach or a European expedition.

Esteban explains there are many ways to create the look and feel of a vacation from the comfort of home. If you wanted to do something that makes you feel as if you’re in Tuscany, for example, you can download a travel documentary from Netflix or have a virtual tour on YouTube. “Airbnb has a lot of online experiences that you can do virtually. The [host] could be in Barcelona or Jamaica or New Orleans,” she says. “You feel like you’re literally there doing the wine tasting, tasting the cheese, and all that kind of stuff.”

She also adds that these experiences are affordable and, if you want to have one with friends, you can split the cost and all chip in to participate. Traveling to pretty much anywhere without actually leaving your couch? Sign us up!

Related: 10 things you never thought to consider while travelling, after Covid-19.


Try a mental health party

Woman sitting on bed on her laptop

A trend Esteban has noticed is that Gen Zers are having smaller parties focused on mental health, where a therapist virtually answers questions and facilitates discussions. Esteban has clients who are having these “parties” and, instead of all bringing wine, they chip in to pay for a psychologist. “It’s the idea of ‘let’s get $100 together and bring in a therapist,’ to essentially have a group session,” she says. “I’m working on one right now where the list of questions are given to the therapist ahead of time so there will be icebreakers and things to chat about.”

Related: Mental health awareness: 10 terms you need to drop from your vocab.

Hold a drive-by graduation

Young woman graduate throwing confetti

Many convocations are either being postponed or held virtually, which can be a bummer for grads wanting to celebrate with family and friends. Esteban recommends holding a drive-by to safely celebrate outdoors.

“You can get a bunch of cards with well wishes from neighbors, and set a time maybe saying you’ll be having a bunch of people coming by from 10 until six honking saying happy graduation,” she says.

You can even play music while people come through with their cards, and if you want to add a special touch, you can also hire a photographer to get some snaps of the big day.

Related: 20 Canadian jobs that don’t need a degree but still pay well.

Get outside for a picnic

Two women sitting on a picnic blanket with food

A simple picnic with friends is inexpensive and fun. All you need is a basket, some blankets and some delicious food.

Esteban says it’s a great way to enjoy the warm weather while physically distancing. “People are having parties for pretty much everything right now, and a lot of people are doing it. It’s just the mere fact of getting out and speaking to people.”


She suggests bringing music to enjoy while you chow down, so take the time to prep a playlist beforehand and charge up your speaker.

Related: The ultimate real housewives playlist.

Other tips

For those of us planning events such as weddings, Esteban stresses the importance of finding vendors that have negotiable deposits and dates. Just in case lockdowns get extended, it’s always safe to know you can push your special day without losing your $$.

Related: The perfect ages to get married (and the worst).

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