If you're like most people, you associate baby showers with great baby shower games that moms-to-be will love, adorable baby shower party favors, or even baby shower prizes that guests actually love. Or maybe you're more about themes, and you think about boy baby shower ideas, girl baby shower ideas, or parties inspired by books or movies. What you probably don't think of is technology. But when life prevents everyone from getting together, technology is exactly the thing that will bring more power to your shower. A virtual baby shower means that the party can still go on, and it can even be bigger and better than the "real thing." Think of it this way: You can freely invite friends and family who normally would have been too far-flung to attend in-person. Here's how to pull off a memorable fete to honor the mom-to-be in your life—and maybe even start a trend with a drive-thru baby shower.
How do you choose the right videoconferencing program?
If the trickiest part of an in-person party is narrowing down food choices, the trickiest part of a virtual baby shower is choosing from dozens of video conferencing choices. Stick to the easiest option that you're also most comfortable using, and choose one that can accommodate the number of guests who are attending. There's FaceTime (up to 32 friends can chat at once, as long as they have Apple products), Zoom (up to 100 friends can chat at once for free for up to 40 minutes; longer with paid subscriptions), Google Hangouts (up to 25 friends can chat at once; everyone needs a Gmail account), Facebook Messenger (up to 50 friends can chat at once, though only 6 people are visible at a time) and Skype (up to 50 friends can chat at once, for up to 4 hours). Google recently announced that its premium video conferencing platform, Google Meet, is now free for everyone.
How do you send out invitations?
To make a virtual baby shower feel more party than corporate conference, take a moment to send out e-invites with a theme. Try Paperless Post and Evite—they have invitations specifically for virtual parties. (Bonus: Paperless Post also offers both pre-designed and custom Zoom backgrounds to match invites or complement your theme.) Minted is a great option, too.
When including info about your virtual baby shower, go beyond the time and date. Let guests know which videoconferencing program to use (and include a suggestion to try out the program before they join your party), and include a link to your meet-up. You can also introduce fun ideas to create a "theme" by asking guests to wear a specific color, don a party hat, or include a decoration or sign in the background when they join the party.
How do you gift at a virtual shower?
One big part of a baby shower is opening gifts (and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all those tiny clothes). You can approach this a couple of ways: Either give guests a firm deadline to send gifts to the mom-to-be to open or ask guests to reveal the gift on-screen, by holding up the gift to show the mom-to-be or showing a photo of the gift.
Since social distancing might still be part of everyone's daily routine once the new baby arrives, show some love to the parents-to-be with a few gifts that will help them get through the early months. Sign them up for a meal service or set up an account for a wash-and-fold laundry delivery service (even if they have a washer and dryer, this will take one more chore off their to-do list). Or gift them indulgent soaps, shampoos, and body lotions (to maximize super-quick showers) and extra-comfy loungewear.
Keep up the energy with games.
While you can't do some of the classic game options like decorating onesies and guessing what kind of candy bar is smashed in a diaper, you can still keep everyone entertained by opting for more trivia-based games. Focus your questions on trivia about the mom-to-be, funny facts about baby care, or even guessing games about the baby's size and weight. If budget allows, set up the virtual baby shower on WebBabyShower.com. For $80, you'll have access to an all-in-one platform for planning and hosting the virtual baby shower, including virtual themes, a guestbook, private albums, quizzes, and a scoreboard.
Helpful tip: To keep everyone from talking over each other, have guests write their responses on sheets of paper to hold in front of the camera.
Take "photos" of the special day.
Depending on which video conferencing platform you use for your virtual baby shower, adjust the settings so you can record the festivities. After the party, go through the recording and pause to take screen grabs of all the memorable moments. Email the best of the bunch to the guests after the party, along with a thank-you.
How can you surprise a mom-to-be?
If possible, arrange a delivery of the mom-to-be's favorite dessert or perhaps a stunning bouquet in the middle of the party. This unexpected treat will make her day, while also adding a "real life" element for her to enjoy during the virtual festivities.
For the ultimate surprise, consider a drive-thru baby shower either in lieu of your virtual baby shower or as an unexpected bonus "party" to brighten her day. Coordinate with local friends and family to drive by her home at a certain time, asking guests to decorate their cars and create signs to honor the mom-to-be. Give her a heads-up to be by her window or at the door at the appropriate time (or, set up a "viewing station" with folding chairs on her lawn, decorated with balloons and streamers).
Not enough time? Set up a virtual sip-and-see.
Whether the baby shower was already shelved or the parents-to-be would prefer to celebrate after the little one arrives, planning a virtual sip-and-see is similar to planning a virtual baby shower. Raise a glass to the new parents by having a bottle of bubbly from their local wine shop delivered the day-of the festivities.
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