Dating can be challenging enough when you live near the object of your affection. When you’re far apart, it can seem downright impossible. There are many reasons why you might not be close to the person you’re dating. One of you may have to go away for school or work. You might fall in love with someone you met online. You may actually live close to your love interest, but challenging schedules might make dating difficult. A global pandemic may even keep you apart from your partner, but what’s the likelihood of that, right?
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These are all obstacles that can be overcome, though. It just calls for a little creativity. There are many ways you can plan a special date with your love interest even if you can’t be together. More and more people are turning to virtual date nights as a way to show they care for someone from far away.
Here, we break down the steps in planning the perfect virtual date. We’ll also share some examples of date nights you can plan.
How to Plan a Virtual Date Night
Virtual date nights should be on everyone’s date night bucket list. But if you’ve never planned one before, you might not know where to begin.
Follow these steps, and before long you’ll be on your way to an amazing date night without even having to leave your home.
Tip: These steps might also give you ideas for how to plan a larger virtual event, whether it's a birthday party or memorial service. If you're planning a virtual memorial for a loved one, some platforms like GatheringUs have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.
Step 1: Pick a date and time that works for everyone
One of the most challenging issues of setting up a date night is figuring out the logistics. Do you and your love interest live in different time zones?
You’ll need to figure out a time that works for all parties. Do you work opposite schedules? Your activity will need to make sense for both parties.
Step 2: Make sure everyone has the right equipment
While we’re on the subject of logistics, it’s also important to make sure you have the equipment to make virtual date night work. You’ll likely need things like a webcam, a microphone, headphones, and a good internet connection. You can pare these items down if you’d rather just use your phone or laptop.
You’ll also need to figure out on what platform you’ll connect with your date. That could be via Skype or Facebook Messenger, or any number of video programs.
Ideally, you will have done any troubleshooting independently before the date. If you’re struggling to make everything work, it can start the date on a sour note.
Step 3: Send an invitation
One cute way to ask someone on a virtual date is to send them an online invitation. This works whether you’re in an established relationship or interested in kindling something new. You don’t have to include all the information.
For date and time, you can always write “to be determined” to ensure that you pick a time that works for everyone. Include any plans you have for the date unless you want them to be a surprise.
Step 4: Make sure everyone has the necessary supplies
We’ve already talked about the logistical supplies you need to make a virtual date night work. But you should also make sure both parties have any date supplies on hand, too.
Are you cooking together? You’ll both need to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand. Having a virtual happy hour? You’ll need the requisite alcohol and mixers. You can learn more about these ideas in the next section.
Step 5: Pick an activity that can be easily done on-camera
The best virtual dates tend to involve activities. That keeps the date from being just a boring or awkward conversation. But the activities you choose shouldn’t take you all over the house, either.
If you’re having your virtual date by the computer, you need to choose something that can be done in that immediate vicinity. Having a virtual date via phone screen can give you some additional freedom. That’s why it’s important to figure out your setup first, as that will help dictate any restrictions you may face.
Step 6: Set an approximate end time
Some dates go so well that you never want them to end. That may be the case with your virtual date. However, you may realize during your virtual date that you just aren’t clicking with your new love interest.
It’s never a bad idea to have an escape strategy planned, whether you’re dating in person or virtually. Having an end time set for the date is excellent for letting you tap out if you just aren’t feeling it. If things end up going well, you can always end up extending your date—or scheduling another one.
Fun Virtual Date Night Ideas
Dating is important for so many reasons. Early in a relationship, it helps you gauge whether you share the same interests with a prospective partner. In a more established relationship, it allows you to connect and strengthen your bond. Here are some ideas on how you can adapt date night to a virtual space.
1. Dinner date
A dinner date is a classic for a good reason. It allows you to catch up with a partner or get to know a new love interest. For a more laid-back dinner date, you could both order the same kind of cuisine from a restaurant in your respective locations. While you enjoy, say, Chinese takeout, you can compare your favorite dishes.
Feeling more ambitious? You and your partner can prepare the same meal from your own kitchens. Pick an easy recipe that works for everyone’s skill level. It can make you feel closer to someone when you both prepare the same meal at the same time. The feasibility of this will definitely depend on your setup, though.
Whatever route you take, don’t forget to set the mood! A soft playlist and some candles can make even a remote date feel intimate and romantic.
2. Virtual happy hour (or coffee klatch)
When you first start dating someone, you may not want to commit to the time or expense of a dinner date. Meeting for a cocktail is often a better way to see if you have chemistry with someone. Not sure what to talk about? Try some of these questions that’ll make you think.
You can draw out the time together by having another drink if you do hit it off. If you aren’t vibing, you can call it quits after one. This holds true virtually or in-person. Not a big drinker? You can always opt for coffee or tea instead.
3. Have a movie date
Several streaming platforms, including Netflix and Hulu, have begun featuring a Watch Party option. This allows two or more people to watch something in sync even if they’re far apart.
You can pick out a date night rom-com, or even start binge-watching a TV series together. You can also pause the simulcast to chat about what you’re watching. It can be a fun way to share your interests as well as a great bonding experience.
Read our picks for movies to watch before you die if you're in need of some inspiration.
4. Enjoy the arts
Over 75 museums from around the world offer virtual tours of their collections. You and your date can take in some of the world’s greatest pieces of art from your respective couches. This activity is fun for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Does a virtual tour seem too passive for you? You could also incorporate a more hands-on activity and do some crafting together. Pour paintings are a fun activity, and even total novices can create something beautiful. You could also play with clay, or even have a coloring contest. It keeps things active and light.
5. Have a virtual book club
If you’re in an established relationship, this is a great way to connect with your partner. Take turns reading books selected by one individual.
It helps if the books have a certain personal resonance. You can discuss them together and learn why they are so well-loved or impactful.
Not sure what to read? Our list of must-read books has got you covered.
6. Get your game on
Family game night is a classic activity. Now you can make virtual game night a thing, too. You can grab your gaming headsets and play a videogame together.
There are now virtual versions of classic board games like Monopoly and Clue, too. This kind of nostalgic activity paired with modern technology can be great fun.
7. Music to your ears
On any number of streaming platforms, you can find concerts from hundreds of amazing artists.
If you and your love interest share a favorite artist, see if you can find one of their shows to take in. If you’re early in a relationship, you can also take turns playing songs for one another. Learning about the music someone loves can give you a lot of insight into their character.
8. Go on a hometown date
If you have met someone online who lives somewhere else, it’s nice to learn about where they live. Let them take you on a virtual tour of their town.
They can share the restaurants they enjoy and tell you where the hotspots are where they live. You can turn around and return the favor. You can learn a lot about someone by seeing how they experience life.
Revamping Romance Through Virtual Dating
So many things can be done online these days. You can work remotely. You can attend classes online.
You can buy digital gifts for people. So why not try virtual dating, too? These virtual date night ideas can help you plan an out-of-the-box date night to remember.