It was 32 years ago, but I remember my baby shower as if it were yesterday. We convened in my godparents’ beautiful garden house, a home I’d known all my life. Surrounded by family and life-long friends, I basked in the glow and hope of new motherhood. My son kicked my giant belly the whole time, anxious to escape. We giggled at the adorable baby clothes; my mother gave me a gorgeous bassinet.
Every mom-to-be deserves a day like that. Yet, as with so many other important life milestones at the moment, baby showers have gone virtual. How can you throw a virtual baby shower that’s special enough to make a new mom feel really loved?
A virtual baby shower may seem disappointing at first, but let’s look at the bright side. Perhaps most-importantly, friends and family who live far away and might not have attended in person even in normal times can be part of your virtual shower. Kids love these kinds of events and can sometimes be hilarious online, so they can make fun virtual guests without tearing up your house. If you use Facebook or WebBabyShower, your party can also “live” for months — maybe even forever — online, so you can enjoy it again and again. If you’re embarrassed about opening presents in front of everyone, an online shower provides alternatives.
Who, When and How?
It might go against traditional etiquette, but it’s perfectly fine for you, or you and your partner, to throw your own baby shower. However, it helps to have a designated host to keep things moving and avoid lulls. Virtual showers don’t have to be long — 30 minutes is plenty, and people can always stay online longer if they’re having a great time. A guest list of five to 10 people generally works best, or people end up talking over each other, but if you want a big party, go ahead!
Choose a date that allows enough time for friends to ship gifts. Next, choose a virtual venue; this can be Facebook, Facetime, Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. Everyone will be able to enjoy live video, as long as everyone has an internet connection and a phone or computer with a webcam.
Zoom is easy to use, allows up to 100 connected devices, and only needs an internet connection and web browser (computer, tablet or smartphone). The free version of Zoom allows up to 40 minutes of meeting time per “room”; you can buy additional time or just close out the first room and start a new one. Skype is similar to Zoom and allows up to 50 devices, but it’s not password-protected. Google Hangouts requires a Google/Gmail account (free), but video calls are limited to 10 or fewer devices. Facetime is also free and allows up to 32 connections, but is limited to Apple devices. Facebook Messenger’s free video call service requires a Facebook account, is limited to four devices, and requires guests to use the Messenger app on their phones.
All these options have chat functions, so you can share photos, send links or express yourself in emojis.
Invites & Decorations
Feel free to send handwritten invitations (and thank-you notes later), or use sites like Evite or Paperless Post to invite participants. Many online sites offer extras like music, GIFs, and active links to your registry and event pages. Don’t forget the decorations — they help set the theme. Guests will see what’s behind you on camera, so think cute décor and balloons. If you’re using Zoom and want a special setting, check out their virtual backgrounds.
Virtual Baby Shower Games
Games are a traditional part of baby showers. Your host can interview you ahead of time and then create a list of fun questions about the expecting mom. With Baby Word Unscramble, you compile a list of baby-related words, scramble them up and have guests unscramble them. Jackbox offers six party packs (prices vary) that up the energy level, although they’re not for kids.
Funny gifts will have everyone laughing. You can open your gifts on camera or have guests open them for you on camera during the virtual shower and then send them to you later, or you can do a mix of both (hint: pre-open shipping boxes). It’s nice for hosts to contact guests before the party and suggest they prepare something special to say to the expecting parent(s).
Virtual baby showers have been around for quite a while. If organizing your shower seems daunting, you’ll be happy to discover the website WebBabyShower. For under $80, it offers an all-in-one service, including step-by-step guidance, a customizable site, unlimited invitations, a virtual guestbook you can print later, games, a private photo and video album, and links to your registry. Your only additional task is to choose which of the free virtual venues you’d like to use for your event. Another site, BabyList, offers a gift registry, as well as free Virtual Shower Bundles that include a digital invite header, custom Zoom backgrounds, games, thank-you cards and a virtual baby shower checklist.
The Big Day
If guests are less tech-savvy, practice with them ahead of time and then enjoy a little one-on-one visit. One the big day, test your video chat setup before the party begins — technical difficulties are a buzzkill. Dress for fun — a zany or themed outfit will help get the virtual party going. Have a blast!
Virtual Baby Shower Organizing List:
- WebBabyShower shower planning site
- Virtual Baby Shower Bundles
- Paperless Post
- Jackbox games
- Amazon baby registry
- BabyList gift registry
Virtual Baby Shower Shopping List:
- Set of virtual baby shower invitations, activities, games and thank-you notes
- Baby carriage
- Mom+Dad=Me baby onesie
- Fuzzy onesie with ears
- “Grandma was here” kisses onesie
- “I was Daddy’s fastest swimmer” onesie
- “Baby Love” wood cover photo album/scrapbook
- Who Knows Mommy Best shower game questions
- Baby Word Unscramble game
- “He or She?” balloons
- Hearts-on-a-string decorations
- “Boy or Girl?” wall banner
- Blue-themed balloon arch/garland with 135 pieces
- “Mother-to-be” rhinestone tiara
- “Taco Bout a Baby” decorated balloon backdrop set
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Crista Worthy writes about aviation, travel, wildlife, and more from her home in Idaho.