The limitations of social distancing and quarantine have put all sorts of major life celebrations—think weddings, birthday parties, and graduations—on hold. Good news: Just because you can't socially gather in person doesn't mean you can't throw a virtual baby shower instead. "Virtual baby showers still offer a level of intimacy despite the lack of physical presence," says Lisa Cokinos, founder of B. Lee Events. "Plus, it allows family and friends in other states and countries to participate, as well as work colleagues," she says. "With busy lives that often curtail weekend social activities in a normal environment, this type of celebration also provides the participant the availability to be as involved as they want to be."
How exactly does one go about throwing a successful baby shower bash online? We asked Cokinos for advice on how to pull it off virtually, and here's what she had to say.
Plan ahead (with a firm guest list).
Whether a baby shower is virtual or not, Cokinos says planning ahead is always key to ensuring the festivities run smoothly. "Similar to a traditional shower, whoever is throwing the shower must arrange and organize the date, time, registry, and guest list for the event," she says. "Large virtual events could be a bit hectic, so it will be important to establish a firm guest list as well as a clear schedule of events to manage the event."
Send electronic invitations.
Once your guest list is in place, Cokinos says the next step is sending out electronic invitations—sites like Etsy, Paperless Post, Evite and Green Envelope offer dozens of stylish and themed options—to set the virtual tone for the event. "The invitation should evoke the theme (if any), include the date and time, registry websites, log in and password for the streaming platform, and a schedule of events so guests who cannot join in immediately at the designated time can still participate within the time period of the event," she says.
Only decorate one room of your home.
Arguably the biggest perk of throwing a virtual baby shower is you'll have less post-party cleanup, which is why Cokinos says you should stick to just decorating one room of the home for the event. "Depending on the established theme for the event, coordinate décor (balloons, banners, and/or florals) to match the invitation," she says. "This décor will be concentrated in one area of the guest(s) of honor's home, and visible to the virtual participants."
Handle gifts electronically.
Since a virtual platform often enables a large group of participants, Cokinos recommends streamlining the gift-giving process electronically. "A few days before the event, ask participants who have made purchases on the registry to indicate to you what was purchased and provide an email note," she says. "Compile the gifts together in a slideshow along with the notes so the parents can see what they will eventually be getting. If you can manage actual video messages from the guests, check out the Marco Polo app to create video messages or compile videos, then upload them to Vimeo."
Consider a different platform.
According to Cokinos: "The best platform for large group meetings remains to be Zoom because up to 100 people can participate and you can record the entire event so the parents-to-be can watch it over and over again for up to 30 days." However, if video isn't your thing, she suggests checking out WebBabyShower.com, a website devoted solely to virtual baby showers. "They offer an all-in-one place for all your baby shower needs, including a customizable site and unlimited invitations, a virtual guestbook that you can print when the shower is over, online baby shower games and quizzes, and a private photo and video album."