How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower
How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower
October 22, 2020

How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower

How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower.
Photo by @sonken
Got an internet connection? Family and friends all across the globe can join in for your baby shower.How to Throw a Virtual Baby Shower

When we think of baby showers, we typically imagine a group of a dozen or so close relatives and friends all gathered in the same place at the same time. But what if your friends and family live far away? Or what if, due to the coronavirus outbreak, your in-person baby shower had to be canceled?

Enter the virtual baby shower. That’s right: virtual. All online, no matter the distance. The concept of virtual baby showers has been around since at least the year 2000, but if you’ve never heard of it, we’ve gathered all the best tips, tricks and websites to help you plan an online baby shower that no one will have to miss out on due to distance.

What is a Virtual Baby Shower?

Virtual or online baby showers are generally the same concept as traditional baby showers and can happen before baby arrives or after, like a sip and see party.

But some things are going to have to be a little bit different. Mostly, we want to acknowledge that a virtual shower isn’t going to totally replace a real one. You can’t have many of the same games, refreshments or general feeling of in-person mingling, and it’s also a lot more casual—we honestly can’t blame your guests for wearing yoga pants to your virtual shower. (Though some guests may appreciate the chance to dress up!)

And you may have concerns about whether it’ll be awkward to try and replicate IRL party vibes in the virtual world. “Am I responsible for preventing conversation lulls?” “Should I have music playing?” “I feel weird opening gifts on camera!” It might be awkward, and that’s okay. Sometimes real-world parties are awkward too. We do have some advice on how to make your virtual shower less awkward, though. (Or maybe you’re secretly happy to have an excuse not to open presents in front of all your friends and family.)

This situation isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t normal. Whatever you’re feeling about the situation, whether it’s disappointment, relief or something else—that’s totally normal. And if it helps, here are some stories from Babylist users who tried their hands at virtual showers and had a blast.

If you are thinking of taking your baby shower to the web, here’s Babylist’s guidance on what’s going to be unique to a virtual party and how to plan for it.

The Tech You Need for Virtual Baby Showers

By default, a virtual baby shower requires a virtual place to meet up. Thankfully, in the current age of technology, there are plenty of options for websites or apps to get your gang all together on-screen.

WebBabyShower: If the name didn’t imply enough, this website exists just for virtual baby showers. For under $80 (cheaper than the average in-person shower), WebBabyShower offers an all-in-one place for all your baby shower needs, including a customizable site and unlimited invitations (keep in mind that too many guests can get chaotic on video chat, so we recommend keeping it to a manageable number), a virtual guestbook that you can print when the shower is over, games, quizzes and scoreboard, a private photo and video album and links to your Babylist registry. The only thing you need to do is decide which free video service to use. How easy is that?

Social media sites are also a popular go-to for planning baby showers online, especially since a lot (if not all) of your guests are likely to be on there already. Facebook is particularly good for events given their streamlined invite system and integrated video chat system through Facebook Messenger. Just make sure the event is set to private.

Video Chat Services

While it’s possible to have a virtual baby shower without video, we think a live stream of the party is way more fun for everyone. There are lots of options, but we recommend going with a free video service like Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Facebook messenger or Google Hangouts. As long as you and your guests have an internet connection and a phone or computer with a webcam, then a live video is possible. You can even hook up your computer to your tv so it’s much for everyone to see (and for you to see everyone). When deciding which video service to use, be sure to keep in mind who your guests are and their level of tech-savviness.

  • Zoom: Probably the simplest and easiest of the video service options, Zoom is free for everyone to use, allows up to 100 connected devices (500 for an extra charge) and doesn’t require you to download an app, though there is an app option. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser (you can use a computer, tablet or smart phone). The host sets up a virtual room with a unique ID and password, then sends out the information to guests. Guests don’t need an account to gain access to the party. Keep in mind: The free version of Zoom allows up to 40 minutes of meeting time per room; additional time is available for purchase, but you can also close out the room and start a new one.
  • Skype: Similar to Zoom, Skype is free to use on any computer, tablet or mobile device, and it doesn’t require you to download the app if you’re using a computer web browser. The key differences: it allows up to 50 devices, and there’s no password protection.
  • Facetime: Facetime is the free video service for Apple devices, including iPhones, tablets and computers, and it allows up to 32 connected devices (still plenty for a baby shower). You can connect via cellular data if you have a data plan, or via WiFi without using any of your data. Multiple people can join a call at once using their Apple ID, and they have to be invited by the host. Keep in mind: The major downside to Facetime is that it works only with Apple devices (sorry Android and non-Mac users), and if you’re on a Mac, you need OS X Lion 10.7 or later.
  • Facebook Messenger Rooms: Facebook’s new group messenger service works great for large groups (though if you have a smaller party, regular Facebook Messenger video calls still exist). Anyone can use Messenger Rooms, even without a Facebook account, so you won’t have to create an account just for grandma to join in the fun. And there’s no time limit, so you can keep the party going! The service also has a few extra features that can make your virtual baby shower extra special:
    • You can personalize the room name to be anything you want. Make it fun, make it hyper-specific, make it unique.
    • Guests can use masks and AR filters to make things look extra fancy (or extra silly). Need an idea for a party game? Give a prize to the guest with the best filter.
    • Guests can customize their backgrounds with decorations. Got a shower theme? Try to make it match!
  • Google Hangouts: This service only works if you have a Google/Gmail account, which is free and fairly easy to sign up for. Keep in mind: Google Hangout video calls allow a maximum of 10 devices, but up to 250 participants if the call is audio/phone only.

Each of these video call options has a chat function, too, so you can share photos, send links or express yourself in emojis. Most chat functions are accessible directly within the video screen, the exception being FaceTime, which will launch iMessage.

To-Do: Create Your Babylist

With Babylist, you can add any item from any store onto ONE registry. You’ll even get a Hello Baby Box full of free (amazing!) goodies.

Do Virtual Baby Showers Have Themes?

Of course! They don’t have to, necessarily, but themes have always been a beloved (and adorable) part of planning baby showers—they’re fun, they’re nice to look at and they help bring all the various elements (think invites, decor, food, everything) together.

To help make your virtual shower theme easier to plan around, we’ve created four custom Babylist Virtual Shower Bundles. Each bundle has everything you need for your choice of popular baby shower theme—”Little Cutie,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Boho” or “Bees”—including:

  • A digital invite event header
  • Custom Zoom backgrounds
  • Games
  • Thank you cards
  • A virtual baby shower checklist

Who Hosts a Virtual Baby Shower?

It’s totally okay for the expecting parents to host their own shower. You can also have a close friend or family member help you host, especially if you live with them. But even if your chosen co-host lives far away, it’s still totally possible to coordinate via text, email or social media since the party is entirely virtual anyway. (No matter who is hosting, this Virtual Baby Shower Checklist will come in handy.)

Virtual Invitations (and Thank Yous!)

Digital invitations are super popular and totally streamlined, which means the only hard part is choosing which design to go with (trust us, there are thousands). If you download the Babylist Virtual Baby Shower Bundle mentioned above, you get a digital invite/event header for emails and Facebook events.

There are also websites like Paperless Post, Evite and Greenvelope, which have beautiful virtual invite options, many of which include cool extras like music, gifs and active links to your registry and event page—not to mention they’re totally paperless, which is a bonus if you’re going green. Of course, you can still send physical invites if that’s what you’d prefer, and there’s definitely something special about receiving an invitation in the mail.

Thank you cards (or thank you emails, if you’re staying virtual and paperless) are still an absolute must. And the traditional etiquette still applies: one to two weeks after the shower is the best time to get your thank yous out.

What about the Decorations?

Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean your shower can’t have decor. Your guests will still see it on camera, and it can really help set the theme of your party. It may all be gathered in one space in your home (there’s no point in decorating an entire room when only one part of it will be seen), so you may have to think a little outside the box when it comes to choosing and setting up decorations. Tableware? Probably not necessary. Wall hangings and balloons? Definitely camera-ready.

If you have a co-host who wants to help with decorations but they don’t live near you, you might suggest they put together a box of cute, theme-matching decor to send to you. They could include a box of cookies or cupcakes, too!

Pro tip: Using Zoom to host your shower? You don’t even need in-person decor thanks to Zoom’s virtual backgrounds! Just put a virtual background up on your account and let your guests think you did all the hard work. Check out these custom Babylist virtual backgrounds that come in our Virtual Shower Bundle.

Virtual Baby Shower Games

Just because you’re not all in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t play games and have prizes to win. Many of the most common baby shower games (the ones usually played on paper) can still work as virtual activities, and here are a few suggestions we think work well for small groups online:

  • The Price Is Right: Hold up a series of four to five baby items (bottle, bodysuit, box of diapers, can of formula, etc.) to the camera and have everyone write down their guess of the total price for all items added together. Then, have all the guests show their guesses to the camera. The closest guess to the actual total cost of the items wins!
  • Sketchful.io: Online Pictionary-like games like this one are an absolute blast, whether you’re an artist or not. Create your avatar and a private room, send out invites (copy and paste the link into whatever chat platform you’re using or send it via text) and get drawing!
  • JackBox Games: JackBox offers dozens of fun multiplayer games that are playable from your computer, gaming system or phone. And you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy them, either. Though each game has a limit on how many people can play at one time, guests can also join in as audience members to watch others play and even vote on things.

How to Open Gifts at a Virtual Baby Shower

Guests can send their gifts to you so you can open them on camera for everyone (if you want to), or you can have guests hold onto their gifts during the shower and open them for you on camera so you can see (then they can send them to you later). Or you can do a mix of both, in case some guests want to send their gifts sooner but others won’t be able to ship the gifts to you in time.

If guests will be sending gifts to you after the shower date but you still want to show them off, one of the unique features of having a virtual baby shower is that it doesn’t have to last just one day. WebBabyShower allows your site and all the photos and videos to stay live for up to six months (or one full year for an additional $50), and Facebook events are accessible for as long as you keep them up. So you can post photos of belated gifts or, once baby arrives, show them off in that bodysuit your aunt sent for all your guests to see!

Virtual Baby Shower Checklist

Download or print this checklist if you’re hosting a virtual baby shower!

Download the Virtual Baby Shower Checklist

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