When I offered to throw my sister-in-law a baby shower for her sweet baby girl I had no idea we’d be swapping our girls luncheon for a virtual gathering. While I watched my typical party-throwing playbook fly out the window, my biggest concern was how I would make the event feel special without the flowers, fun banners and themed cupcakes. More importantly, how was I going to recreate the energy that comes with women coming together, physically, to celebrate the mom-to-be?
Through a little research and the help of some fantastic Etsy shops, I was able to pull together a thoughtful shower to celebrate both mom and baby. I’m excited to share my tips for pulling off a virtual shower that doesn’t disappoint.
Pick an online hosting platform like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.
I chose Zoom out of comfort and ease. These days, through business calls and homeschooling, most people have used the platform and are familiar with how it works.
Plan the flow of the shower
You’ll want to give guests something to do throughout the shower like playing games, chatting with mom-to-be, or watching her open gifts. I chose to play two guessing games (The Price is Right and Guess How Many) along with Bingo as our mom-to-be opened her gifts. We also scheduled time for open conversation at the beginning and end of the shower. I highly recommend having a few talking points ready in case there’s an awkward silence.
Choose your activities/games and prizes
I chose three games to play and purchased templates from Etsy so the games looked cohesive with the theme of the shower. When you’re unable to decorate with balloons, flowers, and more, you can still add little details that help it feel like a special event. More on that later!
You can either email everyone their game cards or print and mail them to each guest. Depending on the level of safety you’re optimizing for you may want to email the cards and have everyone print their own.
For prizes, I chose digital gift cards from giftcards.com that I easily emailed to the winners after the shower.
Create a custom background (if using Zoom)
The lack of an actual venue makes an event less appealing than most so to create a little fun you can create a custom background and send it to everyone to use during the shower. Etsy again is a great place to find backgrounds or have one custom made for you. Because of quarantine, this is now a thing.
Send invitations and a rundown of the event at least 3-weeks in advance
Use a service like Evite or Paperless Post to send invitations for the shower. Let guests know the event will take place online and forward to more details to come closer to the date. To build excitement, think about telling guests about a game or two you plan to play and that you’ll have mom-to-be opening gifts live. It’s nice to give everyone a heads up as well so they can plan to send a gift that can be opened. Make sure everyone is aware of where to send gifts (to mom-to-be) so there’s no confusion.
Send a reminder email 24 - 48 hours before the shower
This is the time to give everyone the link to the virtual shower and explain how to use the platform for anyone who’s unfamiliar. Sending this email a day or two in advance allows guests to download the platform app or familiarize themselves with it.
In your email be sure to include your custom background (if using) and instructions for how to upload it and access it during the shower. It does take a little time to set this up for anyone unfamiliar with Zoom but totally worth it when you see the end result.
Send mom-to-be flowers the day of her shower
As a sweet gesture, send mom-to-be flowers that arrive on the day of the shower. She’ll feel extra special looking at her beautiful stems during the event, making all of this feel a little more normal.
Give guests a 10-minute buffer before you begin
As the host, make sure you’re logged in on-time and ready to start chatting with guests as they arrive (virtually). Give around 10-15 minutes of time before you jump into the first activity allowing everyone to sign on and get settled. During this time have a few talking points ready to fill any awkward silences.
Open gifts during the shower
Virtual showers are immediately less personal than an in-person event so think about having the mom-to-be open her gifts live in front of her guests. We played Bingo while gifts were opened adding a fun element.
Thank everyone for coming and being flexible!
In a time when we’re all craving in-person connection, thank everyone (including mom-to-be) for being flexible and open to a virtual event. These are crazy times and we could all use a little appreciation.