Baby showers are an occasion to celebrate a new life. Guests “shower” the parents-to-be with gifts and advice. People play games, share food and fun, and strengthen bonds. Typically organized by loved ones or coworkers of the expecting couple, such celebrations have been postponed or canceled because of the pandemic.
Without the welcome wagon, a parent may feel that their new child hasn’t been celebrated, which shouldn’t happen even in less-than-ideal circumstances. When family and friends can’t congregate in person, you can make it happen with a virtual baby shower.
How to organize a virtual baby shower
The host of a baby shower is often a close relative, friend, or coworker. This person should be willing to plan or delegate tasks in order to throw a party for the guest(s) of honor. If you want to host a virtual baby shower, you can expect much of the same planning as for an in-person gathering. The exception is finding a location and providing food for the festivities because the party will take place over a live video chat.
Here are the essentials to making the party happen:
Ask the expecting couple for the names and addresses (email or physical) of the people they would like invited to the shower. If it’s a surprise party, get this information from someone close to the couple. Since no travel is involved, a virtual shower can accommodate far more guests than an in-person bash.
You can send a virtual baby shower invitation via email or a paper invite through regular mail. You’ll also need to send a web link to the online venue. If possible, provide this link digitally even when using paper invitations. You may also include information on where the couple is registered.
Online video platforms
All the attendees will need to join the party is a device with a camera and a microphone, such as a phone, a tablet, or a computer. Schedule a test video chat ahead of the actual event to resolve any technical issues.
Here are four free options to video-conference with guests:
- Facebook Messenger Rooms: Guests can log in using a specific link even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Only those with a link may enter the “room,” where up to 50 guests can video-chat for an unlimited amount of time.
- Google Meet: If you have a Google account, you can set up a virtual video chat with up to 250 participants. Meetings are encrypted and have privacy protection. A guest doesn’t need to have a Google account to join the video chat via the provided link, but they will need the host of the Google Meet (who may be a person other than the host of the party) to grant them access to the virtual shower. Guests who would like to join from a mobile device must have the Google Meet App and be signed into their Google accounts.
- Zoom: You can schedule a video chat with up to 100 guests on this platform. Only those with the relevant link can join, and for extra security, you can make the chat password-protected. Guests using their phones will need to download the Zoom App. If you’re not a paying customer, the video chat is free for 40 minutes, after which you may pay for extra time or sign out and have all guests sign back into a new video chat meeting.
- Microsoft Teams: You can currently invite up to 300 guests for a secure video chat with a free subscription to Teams. You can even create a special virtual baby shower background and make it look like all participants are in the same room.
Baby shower controversy
Here are a few points of contention about baby showers and some solutions to help navigate the controversy.
Is a shower asking for gifts?
No. According to baby shower etiquette, the expecting couple don’t throw the party themselves. Although it’s traditional to offer a gift, the idea is to celebrate the baby.
Is a baby shower bad luck?
In some cultures, it’s considered bad luck to purchase baby items before the birth. If this is the case, wait until the baby is born to throw a virtual shower.
Can there be more than one shower?
Yes. The people in our lives tend to be compartmentalized, so multiple showers are completely normal. A soon-to-be grandparent may want to throw a party for family members, a best friend may want to host one for other friends, and a co-worker may want to organize a shower for colleagues.
Does a couple need to have a gift registry?
No. A gift registry is a list of items the family wants or needs. Although helpful as a guide for well-wishers keen to buy a gift and a way to prevent duplicate purchases, a registry can feel like asking for gifts and isn’t necessary. In case there is one, etiquette dictates that the items on the list should be of modest value.
Is it tacky to have a shower for someone who already has a baby?
No. Even though parents may have all the necessary baby items after their first child, every baby is a cause for a celebration. A “sprinkle,” or a small shower, is a great way to honor the new child.
Virtual baby shower ideas
Just because the party will be virtual doesn’t mean it should lack creativity. Ask the guests to don fancy hats or prepare their favorite beverages. (You can even be the one to provide the beverages or other indulgences when inviting people to attend.)
A theme can add coherence to a party. A good place to start when deciding on a theme is the nursery. Are the parents-to-be decorating with animals or vehicles? Maybe they’re thinking sporting goods or the alphabet? Match the invitation and decorations (if used) to the nursery plans.
Guests tend to use the theme as a guide when purchasing gifts. The cards and wrapping paper could end up framed as wall art in the baby’s room.
Virtual baby shower games can help guests feel more involved in the online experience and infuse humor in the occasion. Try some of these ideas:
- Virtual trivia using Kahoot: Sign up for a free account and create your own trivia game at Kahoot. You’ll be able to send out a link, and the guests can play the game live. Suggestions for trivia include stories about the expecting parents when they were babies or matching adult animals with the names of their babies. If the shower occurs after the birth, the game can revolve around fun facts about the new family member. (Keep in mind that guests will need to open a new window in their browsers to play.)
- Guess the Baby: Ask the shower guests to send baby pictures of themselves in advance. Use the screen share option in your video chat to show one baby picture at a time, and ask attendees to guess who it is.
- Price is Right: Have guests guess the price of baby items and enter their answers into the chat function during the shower. Just as in the game show, the winner is the person whose guess is closest to the actual price without going over it.
- That’s Meme: Use fun photos of the parent(s)-to-be and have a caption contest to create custom memes.
Provide an address where gifts should be dropped off. Since they will be sent at different times, they will need to be stored until the day of the shower.
Thoughtfulness goes a long way, especially in times of isolation, when it’s easy to feel forgotten. Try one of these ideas:
- Ask the people invited to the shower to send a written message for the new baby or advice for the parents. Assemble the messages in an album for the family to read, either including the original written notes or their digitally printed versions.
- Send a cake or cupcakes to the guest(s) of honor on the day of the shower. If the budget permits it, you can have treats delivered to all of the guests.
- Have the guests contribute to a group gift for the baby. For example, assign a letter, number, or shape to each guest and have them create and send artwork for their assigned symbols on paper of a specified size. Laminate each page and bind the collection together for baby to read one day.