Are you a mom-to-be? Are you a sister or best friend of an expectant parent? Are you grappling with planning a virtual baby shower during this global pandemic? If so, read on!
I will take you through the steps of planning a virtual baby shower. I will share tips and resources on how to do this. I am fresh off planning one for my bestie who lives across the country. I’ve learned a lot during this process and I’d love to share my insights with you!
What is a virtual baby shower?
As the name implies, this event is planned online with a group to celebrate. It is easier than ever to utilize simple tech tools to pull this off— video conferencing at its best!
Everyone logs in at an appointed time to celebrate and socialize with the expectant parents.
Here are steps and tips to plan the perfect baby shower.
Choose a point person (or Host)
As with any event planning, the organization is key. Choose a point person. Tasks need to be done in sequence. It can be mom-to-be, of course, who plans her own shower. Or the planning can be managed and hosted by a best friend, sister, or small group.
In my case, I collaborated with a group to get each task completed for our mutual mom-to-be. We communicated through 3 different time zones and 1 person was overseas! It can be done!
I will help you navigate each step of the process and give you things to think about to make the planning go smoothly!
Compile a guest list (form small groups)
Ask the expectant parents to compile the email addresses of their close friends and family. Since it’s a virtual event, friends from across the country (and the world) are free to join.
Keep in mind multiple time zones and adjust accordingly to find a workable time.
Break the full list into mini-groups of 5 to 10 people based on shared past and experiences. (for example a group that works together; a group of family members; a group of old friends from college.)
Although Zoom supports up to 100 users on a free 40-minute chat— I do not recommend this! The best video conferencing is done in small groups.
Avoid chaos. The goal is for mom-to-be to have sufficient time with the group and that everyone has a chance to speak and join in.
Make sure the registry link is complete
Ask mom-to-be if her registry is complete and ready to go. The registry is something the expectant parents need some time to work on.
In my experience, Babylist is a seamless online registry platform. You can put anything onto this baby registry from any store. It has a clean, easy to use interface.
Use Zoom for your virtual venue (40 minutes is free!)
It seems like just about everyone is using Zoom for their work video conferencing these days. The great thing about this service is that it is reliable, easy to use, and most importantly— free— up to a point.
As host for a virtual baby shower, you can use the Zoom free plan. 40 minutes is the limit. Too short you think?
Remember this is not a traditional baby shower. You have small groups of 5 to 10 people. (Not 50 people together in a noisy room.)
This means you can plan multiple baby showers (or “meetings”) over the course of a morning and have breaks in between.
It is easy to set up a virtual room with a unique ID and password and email the “meeting” link to your guests.
You can select a preference called “Join before host” which means that the guests logging in can join the meeting without the host being present. You can also assign the host duties to another user if you need to leave the meeting early!
Use a checklist to keep you on track
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay organized! There are a lot of moving parts when planning a virtual baby shower and staying ahead of the game is everything.
This checklist really helped keep me organized in the initial phase of planning.
Pick a date
Ask mom-to-be what her preferred day and times are. Likely, pinning down a date for a virtual event will be much easier than you think.
(Remember the days of in-person venues and all the complications with that?)
Work ahead of time
You have important dates to work with: the shower date and the baby’s due date.
Invitations need to be designed and sent out 4-6 weeks before the shower date. Traditionally the baby shower is 4-6 weeks before the due date.
You want to give guests enough time to buy gifts and ship them to the expectant parents. You also want your guests to have plenty of time to clear time on their calendar.
Tip: Planning starts 2-3 months before the baby’s due date. Yes, we’re talking a long lead time here!
Just like staying organized, I can tell you that delegating tasks and collaboration can help keep you sane. Take suggestions from sisters and close friends of mom-to-be.
Let others take ownership of certain aspects. (for example: assign someone to order the flowers; assign someone to drop-off the drink supplies; collaborate on theme and agenda).
Make sure that all the details associated with planning this event are aligned with mom-to-be’s preferences. Make this as special as you can for her!
Customize or design an Invitation
There are so many quality resources for customizing an online invitation these days. From Greenvelope to Paperless Post to Minted, you can’t go wrong with choosing an adorable template! You can add a Zoom link, registry link, and track RSVP’s.
If you’re a designer, you can design the invite yourself! This is the route I took and it was fun to create an original piece of art and design the layout myself.
Tip: Invites need to be designed and sent out 4-6 weeks before the shower date.
Plans for the Duration of the Virtual Party
Choose a theme
In the world of video chat, we can only be so creative. Think of a theme that is perfect for mom-to-be. Does she love flowers? The ocean? Paris?
The theme also applies to the styling of the invite, the kind of drink recipe you choose, and how you dress for the video chat. It can be an added surprise to have flowers and something sweet delivered to mom-to-be the day of the shower.
A theme can help the virtual event feel more like a traditional party.
Share a drink recipe
Celebrating with expectant parents, mom-to-be is obviously not drinking alcohol. It is fun to share a mocktail recipe with guests and give them steps on how to make it.
Since this is a celebratory event, it adds something familiar (a drink in hand) to enjoy with others in the group.
Guests will have plenty of time to prep the drink and have it ready when they log in. For those who are drinking alcohol, you can provide the cocktail version of the mocktail recipe! Everyone wins!
Consider a shower game
Playing a virtual shower game is optional, of course. Because I’m recommending a 40-minute video chat, there is definitely not enough time for traditional games.
You want the emphasis to be on catching up, sharing stories, and opening presents.
If you want to include one game, you can look at all the options online (there are many) and choose your favorite. You can adapt it to work with a small group and not let it go over 10 minutes.
One baby game to consider is Baby Pool. It doesn’t take much time for guests to “guess the day and time” of the baby’s arrival. The host (or the expectant parents) can quickly jot down names and their guesses.
Once the baby is born one lucky guest will win a gift card! Voilà!
Consider opening presents on camera
Some guests will opt for sending a cash gift through the registry. Other guests will want to ship a gift to the expectant parents’ home.
Since there is plenty of time for the gift to arrive, it’s a good idea to get the packaging off (leaving the gift wrap) and open presents in the last 10 minutes of the video chat. Optional of course, depending on if mom-to-be wants to do this!
Before and After To-Do’s For the Virtual Baby Shower
Send email reminders to the guests!
Like any other scheduled event, you can bet many people either don’t add it to their calendar or they might even forget.
Tip: Remind guests of their scheduled day and time slot for the virtual baby shower. Send an email 1 week in advance, and 1 day before!
Surprise mom-to-be with flowers and other goodies!
Since you’re not getting together in person, there is nothing better than mom-to-be receiving a beautiful bouquet to start off the shower day.
I’ve had the best experience with Farmgirl Flowers and recommend their gorgeous bouquets. They ship all around the country. They also have sweet treats and self-care items. You cannot go wrong!
Send thank you’s
Don’t forget to keep track of who gave what gift. Have the host or mom-to-be’s partner jot this information down. (Don’t stress it— sending thank you cards 3 months or more after the baby shower is acceptable!)
Enjoy the celebration!
Once the baby is born, the baby shower will feel like it was eons ago. Trust me!
I hope my tips and resources have taken some of the guesswork out of planning a virtual baby shower.
It’s a challenging time in so many ways. You can still find creative solutions to celebrate these life milestones and bring your closest friends and family together— even using Zoom!
Maureen Lowe is a Bay Area native that relocated to the high desert mountains of Southwest Reno with her family in 2017. Mama to her active pup and toddler boy, Maureen is a textile designer and graduate of CCA San Francisco. With a lifelong love of nature and the arts, Maureen has made it a mission to explore Reno’s scenic trails and cultural offerings to find kid and dog-friendly outings that work in all seasons.