I am beyond excited these days. 2020 will be the year that both of my daughters will have their first babies! Such happy and weird times. However, in these days of social distancing, it poses a bit of a dilemma in celebrating. After a great deal of discussion, my oldest daughter and her husband, who has a large circle of close friends and family, decided a virtual baby shower was the way to go. Once decided, her very pregnant sister and I knew we needed to figure out how to hold a virtual celebration that didn’t feel like an awkward work Zoom meeting. We kept the same theme, the mom and dad-to-be are major book lovers, so a book-themed shower was something we had always had in mind for her. Just making the switch to virtual was the challenge. I thought I’d share some of what worked for us.
Use virtual invites.
We sent our invitations out virtually, embracing technology from the start. We used Paperless Post for our correspondence and loved how easy it was. We also decided to use Zoom as our platform (as I already have the premium plan), allowing us to plan for an hour or so without interruption. With the invites out, we needed to figure out how to make this virtual baby shower feel more interactive.
Help your guests feel included.
We landed on mailing each guest a party pack, hoping that would help guests feel more engaged. In ours, we included the shower game boards we would be using, a bookmark shower favor, as well as some of the expectant couple’s favorite treats.
We chose games that were simple. We played a game called Storybook quotes to keep on theme and one of the mama-to-be’s favorites, Scattergories. A third game was played that had guests voting from their computers on such questions as “who was potty trained first mom or dad” or “who weighed more at birth,” which everyone seemed to enjoy (Along with the cut-out baby pics the couple use to indicate their answers)
3. Plan an activity.
In-person showers usually have an activity that also serves as a keepsake somehow, and we really wanted to recreate something as close to that as possible. In the end, we landed on asking our guests to make books in advance for the baby (this would also work for decorating a onesie, blocks, etc.) and then asked them to send them so the mom and dad could have them open on shower day. For these book lovers, we knew it would be something they’d cherish. We included instructions and supplies in the party packs we mailed, which were also self-addressed with postage paid to make it as convenient as possible.
4, Stay in touch.
My daughter wrote to our guests several times to give them opportunities to ask questions if they were struggling with Zoom and just garner excitement (all sent via paperless post).
5. Have a signature cocktail.
During one of the check-ins, we sent over a recipe so that guests could all experience the same cocktail as the parents to be. It was fun to see all the different takes on the Bellini recipe we shared.
6. Decorate the space
How much more festive is the vibe when you decorate. You can keep it simple but don’t skip. You want it to feel festive for everyone involved. We decorated where the mom and dad would be sitting and a little area off-screen where we served a small breakfast before we got started.
7. TEST YOUR TECHNOLOGY!!!
This was a big one. Test out before the shower! We had Mom and Dad on one computer, and my daughter hosted from another. The guests were shown on the TV so mom and dad could see their friends and family. My daughter was obsessive and checked all the microphones and timed how long each game would take. So on actual shower day, we had only slight blips (we couldn’t play the playlist as planned), and our guests didn’t spend time waiting for any issues. We encouraged people to use the chatbox during games, which was so much better than everyone talking over each other.
After settling in and saying hello, we settled in and played a few games, then toasted the parents-to-be. We then presented their books, which were a huge hit. I loved how creative everyone was! My daughter and son-in-law read a few of them aloud for the guests. The books covered many personal stories and ranged from sweet to hilarious to a beautifully illustrated watercolored book. I am sure these books will become treasured keepsakes.
We made sure to schedule a 10-minute break so everyone (especially the mamas-to-be) could refill their drinks or take a bathroom break. The Parents to be then opened gifts and cards. We knew this would not take a ton of time as most gifts arrived unwrapped. But it was still fun, and who doesn’t enjoy a tiny onesie??
We made a baby shower playlist on Spotify for background music that played in the background. We kept the music low, and our virtual guests could not hear it except during our 10-minute break. But my daughter loved it as several of her childhood favorites were included. Here it is if you’d like to listen.
It ended up being a day that was fun and celebratory, and in the end, that’s what we were going for. The parents felt supported and connected during this special time, and although they missed hugs, they felt loved.
That is it for today! Thanks for taking a peek at our virtual book-themed baby shower. We are still awaiting this baby’s arrival, but we have had some very happy news. My daughter Alyssa and her Husband welcomed Luca Remy just two weeks ago, and we can’t wait to meet his cousin soon!
And baby boy number two is here!! Anders Kent arrived on 10/2/20. Both he and mama are perfect! I am beyond blessed.
Until next time,