One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is having a baby shower. Expectant mothers are usually so excited to meet their baby that the baby shower feels like Christmas. With each gift opened, momma can envision her baby wearing the clothes, reading them the books, bathing them, and putting them to sleep. She can imagine her baby playing and laughing and crawling. Baby showers are supposed to lift spirits and be fun for all involved. Games are a staple during these parties because it can get pretty boring for guests to watch the opening of gifts (during large parties). You can pause gift-opening every so often and play a game to keep people engaged.
Sometimes a face-to-face baby shower isn’t an option. Sometimes you have family and friends that don’t live near. Or you could be ordered to self-isolate due to pregnancy concerns or the coronavirus. Or maybe you just don’t have the means to throw a big party. Thanks to today’s technology, it’s no longer a requirement to gather in-person to have a party. You can simply throw a virtual party. In order to plan a virtual party, make yourself a checklist. First, choose a venue.
Google hangouts, skype, Facebook, or Zoom, are all good choices. Pick a date (allowing enough time for people to send gifts), and pick a theme if you want guests to dress up or decorate. You can also pick a background in Zoom! Send the invitations (either by mail or e-vite), choose games, and share a recipe for a drink or dish so that everyone can feel more like they are together! You can plan how you’re going to open gifts and allow guests to share kind words for the parents and baby to be. Don’t forget to record it!
Even though virtual baby showers have been a thing since 2000, many people are just now hearing about them, thanks to the lockdown regulations of the coronavirus outbreak. Now that you know they exist, you can get to work planning one for yourself or a friend or family member. Don’t miss out on the fun just because you can’t gather face-to-face.
The first step to planning a virtual baby shower is deciding which venue you want to use for your video call. Many websites offer conference-style video calls. It is the 21st century, so of course, there is a platform that exists solely to throw virtual baby showers. With WebBabyShower, you can customize the site and invite as many guests as you’d like.
However, you need to keep in mind that it is a video chat, and a lot of guests can cause a bit of chaos, so keep the number reasonable. You can include a virtual guestbook that can be printed afterward for your baby book or personal records. There are game suggestions, quizzes, and a scoreboard available. The cost to plan your virtual baby shower with this website is $80. All you really need to do after planning is to decide which video chat service you want to use.
Social media sites are popular for planning events, especially because most of your guest list is likely to also be on your friend’s list. You can announce the date, gift ideas, video chat service being used (with directions on how to join), theme (if you want them to dress up or buy certain themed gifts), what special drink or dish you’d like everyone to make at home (if any), etc.
You can even include a link to your registry, if you have one set up. Facebook is the most common place to set up events and send invitations. Just be sure, when creating the event, you set it to private so that random people don’t try to connect to your call and kick out people you actually want participating.
Yes, you can have a virtual baby shower without including video. Still, a live stream of the gift opening and games is the most fun for all involved, especially during the coronavirus lockdown. We need as much cheer as we can get. There are many options available for video call services, including Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, and Google Hangouts.
All that is required from you, and your guests, is a connection to the internet. You just need a computer or phone that has a webcam (so that you can see and send video footage). If you have the means, you can connect to your tv so that you can see everyone better.
Zoom is one of the easiest video call platforms to use. It is a free service that can connect up to 100 people (500 for a fee) and doesn’t require anything to be downloaded (unless you want the app on your phone). To gather on the call, each guest must have the ID and password given out by the host of the call. You do not need an account to access the party. With the free version of this program, you can have 40 minutes. For more time, you can purchase a longer call or close the call and start a new room.
Skype is another video service that is free and can be used on phones, tablets, and PCs. You don’t have to download an app if you are on a web browser, though there is a convenient app download available. Skype allows as many as 50 guests at your virtual baby shower and does not require a password to join the call.
Facetime is a video service that comes free on all Apple devices, including tablets, computers, and phones. You can connect as many as 32 devices via cellular data or Wi-Fi. To join the call, guests must be invited by the host and must have an Apple device.
Facebook Messenger is a great option because it’s convenient. Everyone is already using it (mostly everyone). The host can start the call from any device that has Messenger downloaded on it, or they can call from a web browser. However, the call can only be joined from mobile devices. You must have a Facebook account to use Messenger and video call services, and only four people can be in the call at once. This option would be great if you want to have a small shower with a few family members or friends.
Google Hangouts is another popular service that is used for virtual baby showers. The only thing you need to be able to join a call via Hangouts is a google account. It’s easy and free to sign up for an account if you don’t already have one. It’s important to note that only ten devices can connect to the video call, but as many as 250 guests can be included if the call doesn’t include video.
Each service has the capability of chat to cut down on excess noise and confusion. You can share pictures, send links, use emojis, and (obviously) chat throughout the call. The only platform that doesn’t have a chat accessible from the video screen is FaceTime. It will open up iMessage.
While many people still to traditions and have specific people plan their baby showers, bridal showers, etc., it’s not a requirement. The parents-to-be can plan the entire party, if they want to. But, if you do want to have a friend or family member plan the party for you, it’s still completely possible to plan it together or approve their plans via email, text, social media, and phone calls. Whoever the host is, they will need to be prepared to do all of the planning, inviting, and setting up the call.
Invitations/Thank You Cards
If you don’t want to take the time, or the energy, to write out, and mail, individual invitations for your baby shower, you have another reason to love living in the 21st century. It’s no longer the only way to invite friends and family to something you’re hosting. Digital invitations are very popular and the design possibilities are endless. You can make virtual invitations via Evite, Greenvelope, and Paperless Post.
Virtual invitations can include GIFs, music, and active links to your event page or gift registry. Virtual invitations aren’t only convenient; they’re eco-friendly. If you like the feeling of sending or receiving invitations in the mail, that’s still an option, too. No matter how you decide to send your invitations, don’t forget you also need to send “thank you” cards, so your guests know that you appreciate them coming and that you are thankful for the gift they sent.
You may be thinking that a virtual baby shower sounds great, but you’re wondering how you’re going to incorporate decorations. Even though this party isn’t face-to-face, there’s no reason you can’t still decorate. That’s half of the fun, anyway, right? Simply choose where you’re going to be hosting the video call and decorate that area in your favorite theme.
When shopping for decorations, keep in mind that you won’t be needing any kind of tableware or cups. You won’t be needing to buy food or drinks. You can simply focus on wall decorations, balloons, etc. If you have friends or family that wish to help you decorate, they can put together a box of decorations and mail them to you or drop them off to you. You may even be able to have a co-host with you at your house to help things go more smoothly.
It’s hard to imagine being able to play any sort of game via a video call, but it’s possible. You simply have to think outside of the box (or look online for ideas). You can even give out prizes still – simply mail them or deliver them to the winners. Many traditional baby shower games can only be played in-person, but some games can be adapted for virtual play. Write down the winners of each game and what prize they won. After the call, have the winners send you their addresses.
You can play The Price Is Right by holding up four or five items (formula, diapers, wipes, bottle, pajamas) and telling everyone to write down what they believe the total cost would be. When everyone is done recording their guesses, have them hold their answers up to the camera. The person who guesses the closest to the correct answer wins.
There is an online game called sketchful.io, which is like Pictionary and is a lot of fun, whether you can draw or not. Honestly, it’s more fun when you can’t draw well. You can create a private room and send invitations to your guests through the chat function in your call and then play the game.
JackBox is an online gaming platform that offers dozens of games that can be played from phones, computers, and gaming systems. Though there are limits to how many people can be playing the game at a time, guests can join the game as “audience members,” watch the games and vote on winners.
The matter of receiving and opening gifts for a virtual baby shower may have a few party planners a little puzzled. How can we make sure everyone gets their gifts to the parents-to-be in time? How can we open them on camera without it taking too long? How can we keep guests interested during gift-opening time?
You can have your guests mail the gifts to you in advance and then either open them before the shower or during the shower. If you open them before the shower, you can simply hold up each gift to the camera and thank the person who sent it. If you hold onto them until the shower, you can open them up on the camera. If you’re worried about guests getting bored while you’re opening gifts, you can pause every so often for a fun game to keep them invested.
If you want to have your guests open them on the call, you can have them hold onto their gift until the shower and open them up one by one during the call. Then you can drive around collecting the gifts, or have them mailed. If you have some guests who want to watch you open and some guests that want to open themselves, you can do a little bit of both. That would be another way to keep things interesting.
If you have guests that can’t get the gift to you by the time the virtual baby shower is live, there are ways that you can still show those gifts off after the party is over. If you use WebBabyShower, you can keep your site active for as long as six months (for $50, it can stay open for a year). Facebook events can be accessed as long as you have them up, which means you could post photos to the event when you receive new gifts in the mail. You can even post updates when the baby is born, dressing them up in outfits from guests or showing them with toys from guests.
If having a face-to-face baby shower isn’t an option for you during your pregnancy, you’re lucky to live in the times you do. You have options, and you don’t have to sacrifice the feeling of togetherness, the sharing of drinks and dishes, or the fun of opening presents and playing games. You can have all of that in your virtual baby shower too.