A virtual baby shower is where you have a baby shower that reaches across state lines and around the globe.
It is an event where the mom or parents-to-be are able to share the celebration of their new arrival using technology as a way to bring everyone together.
A virtual baby shower differs from a traditional baby shower in many ways. For one, there is not central meeting place for the event, and the guest of honor and her guests can join in wherever they may be as long as they can get online.
For the host or expectant parents, there does include some work in making sure that attending the virtual baby shower is as easy as possible.
Here are some pros and cons to having a virtual baby shower:
- No need to book a venue, just make sure that you're somewhere with a good internet connection
- No intensive set-up or breakdown of the event
- No need to provide food and drinks for guests
- Guests can "attend" in their pajamas
- Guests do not need to travel far!
- Family and friends who are technologically challenged may find it difficult to "get it"
- Unexpected technical difficulties
- Difficulty in making the baby shower a group event
- Timing the baby shower across time zones and schedules
Although for some people, it may not even be an option. Some expectant parents may find themselves living abroad or far away from family and friends due to work or academic opportunities. Other expectant parents may be in the military, and so it becomes difficult trying to find a place where everyone can get together.
Whatever the reason may be, soon-to-be parents should still find a way to celebrate the occasion of expecting their new baby with the people that they love.
As you will not be spending too much money on booking a venue and crafting a menu for the party, you should work on putting that effort in finding ways to make the virtual baby shower as fun and easy as possible for guests.
If you want to create a true virtual baby shower from start to finish, then you may opt for sending out electronic invites for your virtual baby shower. Although since you are having a virtual shower, it may be nice for your invited guests to receive a real invitation in the mail and perhaps a virtual reminder before the big event.
Paper invitations also give you a chance to include some special extras for your invited guests, like maternity photos, baby shower games, raffle tickets and whatever other extras that will help guests feel included in your big event.
If you are sending paper invites, then you will need to adjust the invitation wording so that guests know that it is a virtual baby shower.
Virtual Baby Shower Games
One downside to having a virtual baby shower is that you won't be able to do many of the traditional baby shower games (although some may view that as a positive!).
Although there are still some fun ways to include games in your baby shower invite. Some games that work out well can just be games that you mail to people to play on their own, and so you may not award prizes, but at least they will be able to play a baby shower related game in honor of your virtual event.
If you would like to give out prizes for winners of your baby shower games by mail, then a return envelope is a must, plus it gives people an extra incentive to attend if they think they might be a prize winner.
You might get a ton of people who send back game sheets, and so to figure out a winner, consider doing a live drawing of all the people who finished their game pieces and find a winner that way.
Some baby shower games that work being sent via mail include:
Virtual Baby Shower Activities
- Advice Cards for Mommy or Parents-to-be
- Wishes for the Baby
If you are including games and activities with your invitation, then you should make it super easy for others to participate by providing a return addressed envelope that already has a stamp. This makes it simple for people to share in the fun.
If your return goodies are a bigger size than a regular sized envelope, then make sure that you give your guests the appropriate sized envelope and postage.
For example, if you giving your guests advice cards that measure 5x7 to fill out, then make sure that your return envelope is big enough to fit them. The easier you make it for guests to participate, then the more participation you'll get in return.
Even if you are having a virtual baby shower, it is still acceptable to receive gifts. In fact, that's mainly the point of the shower, to shower the mom-to-be and baby with gifts. The tricky part about a virtual baby shower is asking guests to ship to gifts to a particular location.
If the parents-to-be are registered online at Amazon.com, then it could be easy to add the correct shipping address to the registry, but for other places, it may be a matter of guests sending the gifts to the parents.
Asking guests to ship the gifts can be an inconvenience and it will cost them, so be warned that some guests may choose a smaller gift to account for the cost of shipping.
An alternative would be for guests to send you a gift card as a gift, which would be easy, especially if you are providing return envelopes for games and activities. A suggestion for gift cards near the registry information may be all that people need to get the hint.
Some traditionalists will not like the idea of a virtual baby shower, and some will especially not like the idea of asking your guests to send gifts, so you will just need to be warned of some pushback if you do go the virtual route. For the most part, virtual baby showers are not completely unheard of these days, especially in an age when family and friends live far and wide.
Sharing the Fun Virtually
There are several ways that you can share the baby shower with other virtually. The biggest challenge may be ensuring that everyone can get together at an appointed time and that the virtual platform that you use for the baby shower is accessible to everyone.
Here are some popular video sharing platforms that you can consider for your virtual baby shower:
- Skype: Skype is a videoconferencing platform that is free to use if everyone invited already has a Skype account. With the video conferencing option, you can include up to 25 people. Skype has been around for a while, and so there's a good chance that a lot of your guests already have an account, if not, then it's relatively easy to set one up. Skype also allows everyone to see everyone else, so it makes it more of a community event.
- Facebook Live Video Streaming: Facebook has a live streaming option on its platform where you can invite certain friends and family to a video stream. This is a great idea if a lot of your guests are already on Facebook. Unlike Skype, others can't be seen, so it would be a streaming video of your party that other can comment on while watching.
This is a great option if you are having gifts delivered to the expectant parents' house and so they can open them online for everyone to see what they received. The Facebook live video streaming service also allows you to save to video so that others can watch it later, so this could be an ideal way to share the event even if others can't be there live because they'll have a chance to watch it later.
- Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is very similar to Skype, although everyone with a Gmail account can access hangouts, so you might find that more people on your guest list have a Gmail account than a Skype account, in which case, using Google Hangouts might just be easier. Simliar to Skype, everyone in Google Hangouts will be able to see one another, so that can be a fun bonus.
Note: Before committing to a virtual option, please check to make sure the platform you are using offers the features that you need to make your baby shower a success. If you are unfamiliar with a platform that you are considering, then jump online and test it out. The more comfortable you are with the technology, then the better chances you will have of making it all work out.
Hybrid Real and Virtual Baby Shower
If you have a lot of family and friends who may live in the same city and know each other really well, then consider offering locals an option to get together in a common location to attend the virtual baby shower. This would then make it a sort of hybrid shower.
If you have someone who can host a space and maybe connect the virtual shower on a big screen, then that would be a great way to offer some guests the best of both options. If you are asking someone to host the virtual shower, depending on the host, then they might be able to decorate a bit and make it more of a traditional shower in some sense for you.
The Big Event - Live!
Here are some tips to make sure that your virtual baby shower goes without a hitch:
- Set-up Your Space: Consider where you would like to have your virtual baby shower and make sure that space is suitable for a live broadcast. If you want to host it in your living room, then you might consider putting up a few decorations to make it more festive. If you have the nursery set up,then it would be super fun to have your baby shower there so that you can show off your baby's room to all your family and friends.
- Send out Reminders: Before the big event, consider sending out some reminders to those that said they will attend. Reminders can be sent out through email or text a day or so before the event. It may also help to have some instructions if needed to remind people where to log-in.
- Check Your Connection: Well before the event goes live, remember to check your own internet connection and log-in to whatever platform you are choosing so you know that everything is working and give yourself time to troubleshoot if necessary. It is probably a good idea to go live about 10 minutes before the actual event time, just in case others need help getting in.
- Virtual Baby Shower Games: If you sent baby shower games through the mail and will be awarding prizes, then it may be best to get the winners announced once most of your guests are online. Since it is a virtual baby shower, your guests may not be able to stay online the whole time, so to be considerate of their time, let everyone know the winners right away - and if you have the prizes you will be mailing out, it may be fun to share that with them too.
Sending Thank You Cards and Prizes
After the virtual baby shower, remember to send out thank you cards to all those who were able to attend. If you have baby shower prizes to send out too, then sending the prizes with the thank you cards is a good way to go.
Treating your virtual baby shower as much like a real baby shower as you can will make it a much better experience for everyone - especially those who are making the time to attend. By having a virtual baby shower, you also open up the opportunity to get others comfortable with virtual meetings, and when the baby comes, you can do introductions virtually if distance is still a barrier.