From giving birth with a mask on to going to ultrasounds alone, the pandemic has certainly changed the way we do pregnancy.
In order to continue traditions, like celebrating a parent or parents-to-be, some creative people have turned to hosting virtual baby showers when in-person events were not possible.
For instance, when it became apparent that my baby would be born during the pandemic, my best friend immediately got to planning a virtual baby shower for me. She is a teacher, so I knew she would brainstorm and plan the best possible online get together.
And, since it was all happening virtually, I had the chance to help a behind-the-scenes and even replicate the event afterwards for my cousin who was due shortly after me. I learned a lot along the way, so if you’re looking to tips on how to host a virtual baby shower yourself, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Virtual Baby Shower?
A virtual baby shower is an online, live-streamed event in place of a traditional in-person baby shower. Instead of people gathering in one place and watching you ooh-and-ahh over cute little baby clothes, you can set up a phone or computer to stream the video to family and friends in different places. They ship the presents ahead of time and you can even include things like games or favors for them as well to feel included.
The nice thing about a virtual baby shower is that even outside of pandemic times, it can be a way to include family and loved ones who can’t attend an in-person party too.
And either way, the purpose of a virtual baby shower is the same: to celebrate a new parent and their little one. We can all get on board with that, right?
“The nice thing about a virtual baby shower is that even outside of pandemic times, it can be a way to include family and loved ones who can’t attend an in-person party too."
How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of how to throw a virtual baby shower. Remember: there’s no right or wrong way to do this, so get creative and focus on celebrating. But if you need some guidance, here are the steps we learned work best for our virtual baby showers:
Step 1: Choose a time
Coordinate a date and time with the expecting family. You can opt for a morning brunch soiree, an afternoon thing, or an evening happy hour. An hour or so is plenty.
Step 2: Get the technology down
This is important, especially for any older family members who may not be as familiar with technology as you are.
We opted to set up a Zoom link. I’ve found it’s the easiest platform for a virtual baby shower. You could also consider a Facebook Live, but I think Zoom is simplest. Also, since the success of the shower is grounded in technology make sure you and the person of honor both have a good computer/iPad camera ready to go for the virtual event.
Step 3: Create an invitation
Create an invite graphic with the party information. Canva has fantastic free templates, so there’s no need to be a graphic designer to create a fancy invitation. Then, nail down the guest list and distribute your beautiful invite.
You can email the invitation directly to each guest, send via text message, or create a Facebook group and share the party information there. Since virtual baby showers are relatively new be sure to include a few tips for partying virtually, such as:
- How to join Zoom. Click the link at the designated party time. Make sure your microphone is not muted if you want to say something!
- Where to be. A quiet location is ideal because background noise makes online gatherings difficult.
- Bring snacks. A party isn’t a party without a treat, so include a few fun ideas for party food and a custom drink that guests can mix up to enjoy while they participate.
- Gift registry info. Just like any other baby shower invite, your virtual baby shower invitation should include clear instructions on how to find your baby registry so guests can “shower” you with gifts.
“A party isn’t a party without a treat, so include a few fun ideas for party food and a custom drink that guests can mix up to enjoy while they participate."
Step 4: Appoint a Zoom host
The Zoom host can be you or another friend, just not the person of honor.
The party host will be in charge of welcoming guests, moving the virtual shower through the schedule, asking questions, and managing the overall facilitation of the expecting parents’ special day. (Get ready for lots of “You’re muted!” comments, sorry!)
Step 5: Make a plan for gifts
A big part of a Zoom shower is the opening of gifts. With a virtual shower, guests have three options:
- Porch drop a gift if you live nearby
- Mail a registry gift directly to the person of honor
- Mail a registry gift to the shower coordinator, so you can wrap it for presentation
Step 6: Decorate
Just because you aren’t gathering in person, it doesn’t mean that the party has to look like a work Zoom call. Determine the baby’s party theme—maybe something that will coordinate in the nursery—and supply whatever is needed to decorate the space.
Think colorful backdrop or art, balloons, a banner, and/or a tabletop item or two like a framed ultrasound photo or children’s book.
Step 7: Map the party schedule
Just like a regular shower, virtual showers need a schedule of events to be successful. Here is a brief outline for what you might consider:
- Game–choose something simple that virtual guests can follow along with, such as a guessing game about the parent-to-be or a word scramble that they can print off ahead a time. See below for more great virtual game ideas!
- Person of honor interview– have the guest of honor talk about how pregnancy is going, share an ultrasound or maternity shoot photo, discuss potential baby names, or dish on their birth plans
- Game–one great idea is to have the guests submit words of advice ahead of time (have them email you advice so you can compile!) that you can read aloud; this keeps everyone involved and helps highlight virtual guests and make them feel special.
“Consider having guests submit words of advice ahead of time that you can read aloud to include all the virtual guests."
Step 8: Plan the games
Games at a virtual shower take a virtual spin, of course. Try one of these ideas to amp up guest participation:
- Baby Guessing Game: When you launch this game, have your pregnant parents share the due date, previous children’s weights, etc. and then guide guests to hop over to a site like babybookie.com to submit their guesses. Tell them the closest guess come baby’s birthday will win an e-gift card!
- Google Form Quiz: If you want to play one of the traditional baby games, like guessing celebrity kids’ names or what baby animals are called, input the game details into a Google form and share the link in the Zoom comments sections so everyone can participate.
- Guess That Baby. You’ll need your guests to submit photos ahead of time, but this one can be fun–have guests email you pictures of them as a baby, then display for the whole group to guess.
Last but not least, let all your planning come to fruition on party day. Just as when you host an in-person shower, be sure to enjoy the event. Your efforts will shine and most important, the person of honor will feel loved and celebrated.
And hey, if you’re not pregnant, maybe you should take the lead on that whole “special drink” thing, right?
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…