With all the complications around the pandemic and social distancing, many people feel as if their baby showers have to be cancelled. But actually a bit of innovative thinking is all you need to ensure this important event can go ahead. Although it may not be what you originally had in mind, a virtual baby shower can tick all the boxes of what a baby shower should be. Added to that is the fact that, as mentioned in our recent article, our pregnant friends really need extra support in these challenging times. A virtual baby shower may be just what they need.
In the following multi-part guide to planning the ultimate virtual baby shower, we provide you with all the hacks you need for a great event.
First speak to the mum to be
Remember, virtual or otherwise, the baby shower is focused completely on the mum-to-be. Therefore, it’s crucial that you speak to her before planning an event. You will need to discuss:
- Convenient dates and times (the event happening at least a month before birth)
- Who should be invited
- How big an event this should be and whether it might be better to have several smaller events (we recommend keeping the guest list to around 20 or less for each event)
- Whether male partners and friends should be invited
- If she has any activities she would like included, such as specific games she would enjoy
- Information that affects what gifts to buy (eg. baby gender or colour of the nursery in their home)
Decide on a venue
In a normal world, you would think carefully about what kind of venue is best for the mum-to-be. Popular choices are restaurants, cafés and homes. Just like you would normally, research the different video call platforms (which are to be your venue) with the mum-to-be in mind. Zoom and Skype are both free, easy to use and popular, meaning that many attendees will already be familiar with the platform. There are also various screen sharing options on both these platforms that allow you to share photos, videos, or your screen for playing games with. An increasingly popular alternative is the baby shower specific platform ‘WebBabyShower’. This is a market leading virtual baby shower platform that includes automated invitations, a guest book, gift registry, photo albums, and game functions. It’s not free for the host of the event, with plans starting at $29, but it may save you a lot of hassle.
Prepare the invitations
The world was already trending toward digital invitations, so there is already a huge amount of resources out there that can help you design gorgeous, cute and elegant invitations. If you choose to go with the platform ‘WebBabyShower’ mentioned above, then invitation designs will already be provided. We also love Paperless Post, they have a huge number of beautifully designed baby shower specific digital invitations, including lots of free ones. Although these days people may have a little more time on their hands, standard etiquette applies: aim to send your invitations out around 4 weeks beforehand. Giving people enough notice to plan attendance and gifts is an important way to ensure the success of your event.
Physical invitations are also still a good option, especially if you enjoy doing personal arts and crafts. Personally crafted invitations both physical and digital show you value the event, and will help capture the attention of invitees. If sending out digital invitations, it may be necessary to follow up in case any of the invitations have ended up in spam folders.
What about gifts?
In the UK it is not traditionally considered good manners to send out gift lists with the invitation (just google ‘baby shower gift list’ and check out those Mumsnet pages!). So it’s probably wisest to produce a gift list (in collaboration with the mum-to-be of course) and mention on the invitation that a gift list is available for anyone interested. Or you could simply trust your attendees to get suitable gifts for the mum-to-be.
Here at Little Blooms Baby Gifts we have some great options that are sure to delight any mum-to-be. Uniquely, our baby gift bouquets use REAL flowers that through some amazing chemical wizardry never wilt. What could be better than organic cotton clothes, gifts and real flowers arranged in a beautiful bouquet?
Can I still have decorations?
Yes and yes and yes. You just have to be a bit innovative about it.
If you’re using zoom, then there’s a great feature you may already be familiar with called ‘virtual backgrounds’. Basically, these are backgrounds that fill the space behind and around you on screen. Choose a fun image that fits well with your baby shower theme, and everything will look a lot more fun. You can coordinate with the mum-to-be and any other co-hosts by either using the same image as your virtual background or using the same colours or themes. If you want to design a good background, you could use Canva where you can create fun images for free (they even have a separate section of templates for virtual backgrounds!) and we will shortly be adding some of our own to this article for you to use.
Physical decorations are also a great choice. Virtual baby showers make things a bit easier as you only need to focus on the area of the room that others can see behind you. Wall hangings and balloons are very camera-friendly and are also something that can be coordinated very well between attendees. For a kind and special touch, you could have the decorations delivered direct to the mum-to-be.
Don’t limit yourself, try to be imaginative with your decorations. It’s worth spending some time searching for great baby shower decorations on Etsy, there are some really fantastic options. We really love gold confetti balloons and baby themed bunting, but there are so many other intriguing options and generally at very reasonable prices.
What about food?
Food and refreshment is undoubtedly an important part of any baby shower but as I’m sure you are aware, eating together on a video call is an experience which can be far from joyful (especially with the wetter kinds of foods, soup is definitely a no go). However, if everyone has agreed to eat together and don’t mind a few sound effects then it’s still possible to enjoy some refreshments together. One way to get the most out of this in a rather sophisticated way is to find some great recipes for snacks or mocktails that everyone would enjoy and get everyone to make them before the baby shower to enjoy together on-screen. A nice touch would be to get some of her favourite foods or treats delivered to the mum-to-be, she is after all the focus of this event.
Create a schedule
The ideal baby shower normally has four key parts: welcoming guests and general chit chat, baby themed games, opening any gifts (although this is not compulsory, the mum-to-be may prefer not to open gifts in front of everyone) and of course, the final thank you and goodbye. For example, if you planned on doing a 1-hour event, you could arrange the schedule like this:
- 10 minutes welcome and general chit chat
- 35 minutes games
- 10 minutes opening gifts
- 5 minutes virtual goodbyes
You can adapt these ratios to the amount of time you are planning for your baby shower or adjust the schedule to your own needs. Bear in mind that virtual events can drag on quite easily, so try to keep things moving and keep the proceedings light.
If the mum-to-be is willing, opening gifts on camera during the virtual baby shower can be a nice touch that shows appreciation to attendees. It is important to remember, though, that this will only be possible if invites are sent out several weeks before the event, with 3-4 weeks’ notice being optimal. To be considerate, care should be taken to ensure all guests are thanked equally for their gifts to maintain the joy of the event without causing any hurt feelings.
If the mum-to-be would prefer not to open all gifts on camera, she could share photos of the gifts with appreciative messages on social media. Regardless of the method chosen, individual thank you cards should be sent to thank each individual who generously contributed a gift.
We hope after reading this guide you will feel excited about your virtual baby shower. Really, it need not be any less of an event that an in-person baby shower. In fact, it can be much more fun! So prepare well, because your baby shower is going to be an event to remember!