Let’s celebrate and help a new mom prepare for the stork! These days, due to the social distancing concerns that go along with the coronavirus pandemic, expectant mothers and hosts everywhere are abandoning “in-person” baby shower plans to have such events online.
In the past, technology has been the saving grace for moms-to-be whose family and friends live far away. Military families, especially, have been enjoying the benefits of online baby showers for years.
Granted, it’s not the same as seeing loved ones face-to-face and enjoying the time together. But there are also many perks to a virtual baby shower, such as lower costs for the host and more convenience for guests. Many of the things you love about baby showers can be easily replicated in an online format.
Here are nine steps to make your virtual baby shower a success.
1. Understand Mom-to-Be’s Expectations
The best place to start with planning is to ask the honoree what she has in mind. The hosts can start by sharing the ideas below with the guest of honor for feedback. Making sure that expectations are met will ensure the party is a success.
With the mom (or dad)-to-be’s help, select the date and time. Keep in mind that the date should be at least a month out to allow for organizing and setting up the invitations ahead of the recommended time to send invitations of roughly three weeks ahead of the shower date.
You’ll need the guest list (or both parents if it’s a coed shower) with email addresses and first names. Consider having several smaller showers with people who all know each other instead of having one or two bigger ones. Keeping the guest list at 25 or under will help with the coordination of discussion and playing games.
Also ask for needed information for the invitation, such as nursery colors, the gender of baby (if known), and links to her baby registries.
2. Select and Test an Online Meeting Platform
Just like with a face-to-face shower, the venue makes a big difference, so choose yours with care. Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are all popular free options that are not too difficult, even for the least tech-savvy guests.
You may want to check out this relatively new platform that is dedicated to making a virtual baby shower easy — Web Baby Shower. According to their website, you can set up a shower in minutes and all of the steps are included (adding baby registries, sending personalized invitations, and the online platform for the event).
It’s a good idea to do a trial run with a couple of close friends or family members using the platform you choose (and any bells/whistles you plan to use during the shower) so that you’ll be completely comfortable with it when the big day comes.
Be sure the hosts and guest-of-honor have strong internet connections (being connected directly to your internet via a cable vs. wireless is optimum). Close any unnecessary applications or windows on your computer/laptop prior to launching the party.
3. Send Out Digital Invitations
Sending out invitations electronically gives those invited an easy way to get links to baby registries and RSVP -- and include the link and other important details to enter the party.
Knowing the headcount ahead of time will help the hosts to better plan the time needed for all activities.
Ask that all gifts be sent directly to the Mom/Dad in advance so that they can be opened online during the party.
4. Include Links to Online Baby Registry
Expectant parents have been using online baby registries for years, and the process is familiar to most. The parents-to-be simply shop online at their favorite stores or on Amazon and add desired items to a public list which can be shared with the guests.
You may want to ask those invited to drop their favorite baby items in the invitation platform as comments that can be shared with the guest of honor. (We hope SlumberPod is on the wish list, as our customers say it’s a total game-changer for room-sharing where ever you are!)
5. Don’t forget Decorations and Food
It’s true, a virtual shower likely has a different feel regarding decorations but there are fun things that can be done to make the event festive.
If you are the host, consider sending the mom or dad-to-be decorations (streamers, balloons, and banner) for the room that she’ll be sitting in during the shower. Etsy has tons of great ideas depending on the room and your budget.
Or if you’re using Zoom, select one of their special party-themed backgrounds. To make it really festive, ask all guests to use the same Zoom background. Here’s a guide to make it easy -- from What’s to Expect.
If budget allows, a nice touch can be delivering lunch or a few sweet and savory bakery items from a nearby, well-rated cafe.
6. Plan Games
Many traditional baby shower games are off the table now. However, there are still lots of fun games you can play during your virtual shower. If you’re a tech-savvy host, you can use your Zoom platform to create “break out rooms” to separate the group into teams for friendly competition.
Some favorite virtual games include:
- “The Price Is Right” where guests have to guess the price of various baby items.
- “Name That Baby Tune” where you play the music for a popular children’s song or nursery rhyme, and your guests have to guess what it is.
- “Celebrity Baby Name” to match each baby name with the famous mom.
- “Who’s That Baby?” can be fun if you ask all attendees to send their baby picture to one of the hosts ahead of time to put into a simple PowerPoint presentation.
7. Have Prizes and Party Favors
Giving out prizes to game winners is a major part of the fun of any baby shower. You can purchase a few gift cards, each for a value of $5-$10, and give them out as prizes. Some ideas: takeout or delivery from a popular restaurant, or Amazon gift cards.
Party favors can still be part of the fun by planning ahead. Sending “mug cake” ingredients ahead of time to everyone on the list (think an individual portion of cake) or an individual decorated cookie would allow guests to enjoy something yummy together during the party.
8. Prepare for Opening Gifts
If invitations are sent at least 2-3 weeks in advance, gifts can be sent directly to the parent-to-be and will be ready to open during the shower -- right on-screen so your guests can watch. Have a google sheet document open so you can capture all of the gifts and send the list to the honoree for help when writing thank you notes.
9. Share an Agenda
After getting feedback from the honoree and the plans are made, hosts should share a “schedule” with all attendees (including the guest of honor) ahead of time (a few days before the shower, you can include this information in the reminder).
Sharing the plan helps everyone to know what to expect and also helps to manage the time. Try to keep the schedule at an hour or less, if possible. Here’s a sample we’ve created using feedback from our customers and fan base:
- Welcome from the hosts (2 minutes)
- Share parenting advice (5 minutes)
- Play games (15 minutes)
- Open gifts (10 minutes)
- Virtual nursery tour (10 minutes)
- Wrap-up / good-byes (5 minutes)
A virtual baby shower is a wonderfully creative and versatile alternative and will make memories that the expectant mother and/or father will cherish forever. Remember to capture screenshots as well so the parent-to-be has pictures from the party just like they would if it were an in-person party.