Raise your hand if you're pregnant during this pandemic! It has certainly been an interesting time to say the least -- pregnant or not. This is actually my second pregnancy and I have a 2 year old son Xander. We are expecting our baby girl next month in June (eek!) and her name is Gabrielle!
So earlier this year, we had planned to do a "baby sprinkle" not a full-blown shower for Gabrielle. Mainly because we were having a girl and I had given quite a bit away of Xander's newborn stuff to friends/family who were expecting a child last year. A sprinkle is basically a low-key version of a baby shower. It's not as grandiose and over the top like your first baby shower typically is. I am a believer in showers or you can call it "celebrations". Some people don't think that you should have more than 1 shower if you have more than 1 child, but I say "why not?". You still may need a few new things for the new baby (diapers, wipes, new bottles for example). And yes, we are re-using Xander's items like the Pack N Play, the Mamaroo, the nursing pillow etc. however we needed some basic new things for our baby girl like girl onesies/outfits and accessories.
Well, due to COVID-19 and the quarantine order, our baby sprinkle/shower was indeed cancelled. While it was certainly a bummer, we completely understood and it was honestly out of our hands. I talked with my mom and my mother-in-love and we decided to go ahead and still have a virtual baby shower so that we can still celebrate Gabrielle and give our family/friends something to look forward to while we are all at home anyway.
Now many of you who are pregnant now are probably considering this option. I am happy to announce that our virtual shower was a huge hit, it went way better than I could have ever expected to. And yours can be a hit too! I wanted to blog about this because this is such a new concept and a reality that all of us are facing right now with events being postponed/cancelled.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to host a wildly successful virtual baby shower:
1. Treat this like a REAL event
What made this shower so successful is that we treated this like a real one. Trust me, it took a LOT of work behind the scenes and just as much effort as if we were doing a live event. There were lots of new nuances (i.e. technology) that we had to learn and adapt to so that took extra time. The pro is that you don't have to physically drive to the venue the day-of and you're not paying a huge catering bill, but you still have lots of work to do.
If you treat this like a real event, your efforts will definitely show.
2. Decide who is hosting the event
Thankfully my mother-in-love was happy to host the event for me. I was way too overwhelmed at 32 weeks to be hosting this event and doing all the work behind the scenes. I highly HIGHLY recommend that someone else (not the pregnant mama) be chosen to host the event. Choose whomever you want or trust (mom, sister, friend). Just make sure they are clear on what you want them to do and the roles they will play. Don't assume they know what you want or don't want. Yes, pregnant momma can be involved, but don't think about doing it all on your own - big mistake!
3. Have an agenda, but keep it simple sis ;)
This is what our agenda looked like:
Our goal was to keep the event down to one hour. In the beginning of our virtual shower, we allowed our guests to say hello and introduce themselves and where they were calling from. This was a nice ice-breaker and gave our guests a chance to speak and be engaged. If you have a lot of guests, try to keep the ice-breaker to a total of 5 min or less or give each guest a quick 10 second intro so you can keep the event flowing. If everyone doesn't get a chance to speak in the beginning, you can let them have a few words towards the end of the shower.
As you can see, our agenda was simple and to the point. I will go into detail about each activity later on in this post.
4) Decide if you're going to open gifts
If you're opening gifts, alternate the gift opening session(s) and game activities.
Unless you have 5 gifts to open, we highly recommend that you don't spend more than 5 minutes opening gifts. We ended up doing two rounds of gift opening. We don't want to bore our guests by them watching us open gifts the whole entire call. So it went something like this:
Play a Game (5 min)
Open Gifts (5 min)
Play a Game (5 min)
Open Gifts (5 min)
Play a Game (5 min)
Your guests will really appreciate this because it keeps the event FRESH. The last thing you want as a guest is to be staring at a computer screen, unengaged and super bored. By alternating the activities and gift-opening, you keep the event interesting and flowing well.
TIP: All of our gifts arrived as packages, so I had Jamison pre-open each package the day before the shower so that when it came time to open the gifts, it was an easy grab-n-go and we didn't waste time cutting open the box during the middle of the shower. Find ways to save time and be efficient as possible!
5) Choose a platform to send all the invites
One of my favorite electronic invitation companies is Evite. We chose Evite because it was free and easy to invite guests using their phone number or email address. Another option for an invite is to create a private Facebook event. The only downside is that you may have guests who don’t have social media accounts.
6) Choose a video streaming platform.
Zoom, the obvious choice, has taken over the majority of our lives. It’s easy to use and super user-friendly, in fact I use Zoom for my podcast interviews! They do have a free version available. Now in our case we were hosting a decent sized virtual event so we needed the paid version of Zoom. Thankfully my mother-in-love has a premium Zoom account and since she was the host of our virtual shower this made it super convenient. We had unlimited guests and unlimited time to host our shower. Another streaming platform you can use is Evite, they have a new feature (it's in beta) where you can video chat right on their app, but it only allows 10 people - FYI. For my virtual shower, we had over 50 attendees so this was not viable for us but for those who have smaller, intimate events, their beta option could be perfect and easier than using a 3rd party video streaming platform.
7) Engagement is KEY
Since we are meeting virtually, keeping your guests entertained is going to be a huge and will be an indicator of whether your event was successful or not. How did we do this? We had a fun, pretty theme (tropical flamingo, pink/green) and we had games/icebreakers ready to go. We encouraged our guests to use the chat feature especially during game time to submit their answers so everyone isn't talking at once. Also, we had music playing in the background for the early birds who showed up on time!
8) Send party favors to your guests
My mother-in-love had the idea of sending our guests party favors in advance. I’m so glad she did this. She ended up mailing out pink mini-champagne bottles that were packaged so cutely in pink and guests could use it to toast at end of the sprinkle/shower. One, most people like alcohol. Two, it was a way for us to show appreciation of their time and generosity. Three, it gave us something to look forward to at the end of the shower after the baby name was revealed. The champagne bottle was a Sutter Home white zinfandel, super cute!
9) Have at least 3 games/activities ready to go
Here are some games we recommend for a virtual shower (I bolded the ones we did in our shower, it's also in the agenda above):
The Price is Right (gather some baby items like diapers, pacifiers and have the guests guess what the total price would be)
Bingo (download or purchase a template from Etsy, share with guests via email)
Baby Name Poll (have guests guess what the name will be)
Guess the # of jelly beans in the jar
Guess the belly size of the mom to be
Here's a photo of how we did our baby name reveal, I held up a canvas that I painted with her name on it. I also had a teddy bear that was dressed in her newborn outfit with her name on it, but the font on the outfit was too small:
Here's what our bingo card looked like, I believe this was ordered from Etsy:
TIP: *Be sure to have prizes for the winner of each game. This gives guests an incentive to participate. We decided to do e-gift cards from Amazon which was easy to email directly to the guests.
10) Don't host by yourself, please delegate!
My mother in love was the host and lead the entire event, however she had dedicated family members to assist in certain roles. One of the aunts lead Bingo and one of the aunts lead The Price is Right. We also had our cousin be the note taker for the gifts, she would write down the gift and who bought what so we could send thank you letters afterward. We had another family member moderate the chat and keep up with questions being asked and the game responses. The key here is to delegate. You cannot manage all of this as one person. Again, treat this like a real event and use your resources.
11) Have a theme
We kept it simple, but I knew going in that my vision for Gabrielle's shower was a tropical theme: think pink/green with flamingoes and flowers. I had a nice little backdrop, it wasn't overly fancy but we had a welcome sign (originally for the in-person shower and gifted by our lovely host!), I pinned it up with some thumbtacks and then I had some flamingo figurines on the table behind me along with the champagne party favor and cute letter-board from Target. The figurines we found at Hobby Lobby! Having this backdrop was much better than a blank wall and showed that we wanted to have a little fun. My advice is to have a theme, it doesn't have to be an animal or over the top, but pick one or two colors and just go with it!
Overall, my biggest takeaway from having a virtual shower is the amount of effort you put into it is directly correlated to the success of the event. We had SO much fun that at the end of the shower, no one wanted to leave! We had finished right at an hour, but we all hung around for another 10-15 minutes just chatting and reminiscing on good times. A good sign of a great event, is when no one is in a rush to sign off LOL!
One last thing, since we have a 2 year old and didn't have our babysitter with us, we actually managed quite well by putting Xander in the high chair. Be sure to have snacks, juice, and entertainment on the ready! Surprisingly he did VERY well but by the end of the hour he was ready to get out :)
I pray that your event goes well and your pregnancy goes smooth. I know it's unusual times, but it doesn't have to suck - we can still make lemonade and make the best of our circumstances. I feel that Gabrielle had a wonderful shower and she was so loved by our family and friends. It definitely goes down in history and I can't wait to tell her the stories when she gets older.
If you have any questions about hosting a shower or if I left anything out, please don't hesitate to reach out below in the comments or find me on IG @CourtneyGavin23
My dress is from Pink Blush :)