So, your best friend moved to Singapore and all your mutual sorority sisters want to throw her a baby shower. That’s a whole lot of airline miles for finger food and punch. Unless you’re rich, you may have to choose between flying to her for a shower or flying over for those critical days right after birth when she is recovering. Talk to the mom, but many women prefer help in those first few days. Thankfully, there are digital options you can use to help her prepare long distance.
Before the Shower
The first step to hosting a successful virtual shower is to find the right hosting service for your party. There are several meeting hosting services for you to choose from. Be sure to check out the site to see that there is no additional advertising, and that you have a strong bandwidth with little or no lag. While the mom-to-be should be able to see every guest, it might be important for guests to be able to see each other. It can be a wonderful way to let everyone visit. You should also look for other add-ons such as the ability for guests to respond with text in addition to their pictures to you as the host, the mom and each other.
If you are hosting a global baby shower, consider choosing a web hosting service that automatically tapes the event. That way guests that may not be able to participate live because they must work, or sleep will still be able to be a part of the love and support.
The next thing you should do is to set up a simple website for the party. You don’t have to be an IT expert to build an attractive website anymore. Most now use a drag and drop interface from almost any web hosting service. If you feel overwhelmed by the mere mention of building a website, look at creating a private page on Facebook or your preferred social media platform. Here you can post the gift registry, pictures, and share memories and advice.
Just like any other shower, start with baby shower invitations. Since this is a virtual shower, consider using evites instead of traditional paper invitations. Not only does this send the right tone, but it also makes it easier to keep track of the guest lists. It also ensures that you have every guests email, making it simple to add them to a virtual party room.
Since this is a virtual shower, you may be limited to the number of guests you can invite. It depends on the hosting service you choose. So be aware of this limitation when you send out your invitations. Just like a traditional shower, you need to provide the web address for the shower as well as the address for shipping goods. If the party guests span time zones use GMT to be sure to let them know when the party will be live for them.
You might think that since this is a virtual baby shower with no physical presence, you don’t need to decorate. You would be wrong. You can send the Mom decorations that she can set up around her while the party is in progress. These can be simple stand up cards, balloons or flowers, depending on the theme you have chosen. But decorations aren’t limited to the physical world. Think about the web hosting as well. Ask your guests to send you pictures of the parents, as well as their loving wishes for mother, father and child. You can use these to create a short video collage to use before and after the shower so that your guests aren’t staring at a blank screen while they are waiting for the party to start.
Like decorations, food might also seem superfluous. But it doesn’t need to be. You can include everyone in party treats. Simply set up small boxes with candy, cookies and other treats along with game pieces that your guests can use during the party. Pack the boxes with colorful paper shreds or confetti to complete the party feel. Mail these out to your virtual guests in plenty of time to ensure that they will be available during the party.
Virtual party games are just as much fun as the real thing. Baby care Mad Libs are fun no matter where you are. Simply ask your guests to give you nouns verbs and the like. You can use them to replace words in your favorite children’s story or choose from any of the hundreds of Baby Shower Mad Libs available online. You can send out cards for the guests to fill out at the party that predict the baby’s size, weight and date of birth.
You can also take pictures of the Mom and Dad and cut them into pieces so that the eyes are in one block, the nose in another and so on. Give your guests the pieces as well as the cartoon outline of a baby’s face. Ask them to show what the baby will look like if it has Mom’s eyes and Dad’s ears, etc.
You can also compile the advice, pictures and memories and print them out into a guest or photo book as a permanent keepsake for the Mom.
While many companies deliver world-wide, some don’t. Keep that in mind when you discuss the gift registry with the expectant mother. It might be best to choose vendors close to the mother that will allow guests to order online. This will save shipping costs and allow guests to spend more on things the baby actually needs While it is moving to see the Mom open her gifts, keep the experience unique to the party. Don’t upload pictures and post them on social media. It can make things awkward for people who didn’t attend.
Thank You Notes
Even though the shower is virtual, consider sending out paper thank you notes. It’s a nice touch that gives all your guests something tangible to keep. It also helps out the Mom, especially if she is living halfway across the world.