Being pregnant in general can be a stressful experience, so it goes without saying that being pregnant during a pandemic makes that stress two-fold. Staying socially distant and not being able to see your friends and family is one of the hardest parts. Though the logistics are a bit different, a virtual baby shower could be just the thing to lift your spirits — and at very little expense compared to an IRL shower. Whether you’re planning one of your own, or you’re hosting one, here’s everything you need to know about throwing an online soirée for a mom-to-be.
Pick your date
The beauty of having a virtual event is that there’s no travel required, so you have a wide variety of dates and times to choose from. But, there are a couple of things to think about during a pandemic that doesn’t necessarily apply to in-person events.
- Consider shipping delays for your baby shower gifts if you plan on opening them during the shower.
- If your guests span different across different time zones or even countries, factor in the time difference. If you have a lot of people who are in a different time zone, you can even consider hosting a separate virtual shower earlier or later in the day.
- Cap your party at 30 or 60 minutes. Even though it’s virtual, you still want to respect people’s busy schedules. Depending on the activities you plan on doing, an hour should be plenty of time.
Choose your “venue”
Pick the platform where you want to host your virtual baby shower. If you’ve never used video conferencing before, make sure you give it a test drive so you know how it works and you’re not fumbling on the day of. There are a few different options, but among the most common ones are Google Meet and Zoom. Below, we highlight the pros and cons of each:
- Google Meet: You don’t need a Gmail account to log on to Meet, but the meeting organizer will have to give you access. This is a great option for up to 100 guests for up to an hour for free, but it will let you show only 16 participants in the gallery view. You don’t have to download/install an app to use it: Just schedule the meeting on your Google calendar, and share the link with participants (or invite them straight from the calendar). You can share your screen, mute guests, chat with them in the text box, and add backgrounds to your video. The free version doesn’t give you access to record the meeting.
- Zoom: This video platform also allows for up to 100 guests as well, but you get 40 minutes for free. You have the same benefits as Google Meet, though you can also use a whiteboard and record the call, which is great for keeping a memory of your special day. If you have a larger guest list, Zoom lets you see 49 guests in the gallery view. You can use Zoom through a web browser, but it works best on the app.
Lastly, consider using a site like WebBabyShower. While this platform can’t actually host your video chat, with a one-time fee it centralizes all your virtual baby shower info into one place, including your registry, photos, invites (plus RSVP tracking), games, and more.
Set a theme
Just because you’re not having an in-person party, doesn’t mean you can’t add a few personal decor touches. Choose the area of your house where you plan on setting up your computer or laptop. You can jazz up that section with balloons, diaper cakes, and a dessert bar (because, why not?). Have a friend who’s handy with Photoshop to design a special Zoom or Google Meet background that all the guests can use for your special day.
Narrow down the guest list and send the invitations
One of the best parts about having a virtual party is that your loved ones from all over the world can attend your party — and you don’t have the same financial limitations you would as an in-person shower. Still, you’ll want to narrow down who you want to invite (decide if you want to make it co-ed or just women, kids or no kids), and send out an invite. You can send a personal e-invitation with a platform like Paperless Post (which features tons of beautiful designs and helps you keep track of your RSVPs) or send a physical invitation with an affordable service like Minted, which has designs that are virtual party-specific.
Create a baby registry
Many major retailers (Amazon, Walmart, and Target, for instance) let you easily create an online baby registry. A site like Babylist lets you add products from any e-commerce site that you want, as well as creating college funds or group gift contributions for more expensive items.
Having trouble where to start with getting your baby registry together? Check out our must-haves list. If you’re planning on opening gifts during your virtual shower, think about adding a date to your invitations for guests to send their gifts to avoid shipping delays because of the pandemic.
Come up with the games
Admittedly, virtual baby shower games might not have the same pizzazz as they do in person, but it doesn’t mean they still can’t be fun. Keep them short and sweet and, if possible, interactive for your guests. Below are some of our favorite ideas:
- Who’s That Baby?: Ahead of time, ask guests to email baby photos of themselves. Use the screen sharing capability on Zoom or Google Meet and the host can try to guess who’s who on the screen.
- Baby Bump Challenge: This one needs no prep. Ask each guest to find something in their home and — after turning their camera off — they get 60 seconds to stuff their top or shirt with an object (or objects) to look like they’re pregnant. The mom-to-be gets to choose the most realistic-looking bump and each guest can guess what’s inside the winner’s shirt.
- Baby Shower Trivia: Get a chance to give each of your guests a time to chat with you with a baby shower trivia game. Come up with one question per guest (here is a great place to start) — it can be completely random to keep the game moving.
To keep things even more exciting, give out a simple prize to the winner(s) — a $5 or $10 gift card will do.
No need for food
While a meal during an in-person baby shower is normally one of the main activities, this is one thing you don’t need to worry about during a virtual party. You could ask people to bring a mocktail or cocktail during the event to toast the new mom.
Even with all the planning in the world, there still might be things that are out of your control (like spotty WiFi or technical difficulties). Try to keep in mind that the most important thing is celebrating a new baby in the world, despite the challenging circumstances of being remote.
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