12 Tips for Throwing a Great Virtual Baby Shower

An expecting mom showing a baby outfit to her computer during a virtual baby shower


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In the wake of COVID-19, it’s not uncommon for many parents-to-be to feel more comfortable opting out of the close physical contact of a traditional baby shower. But it can also be more important than ever to connect with loved ones and celebrate happy news and new beginnings.

Enter the virtual baby shower! By shifting your celebration online, it’s possible to create a fun—albeit modified—version of the usual gift-giving festivities.

That said, hosting a virtual shower presents a whole new world of technology and logistics. You’re not alone if you feel a bit overwhelmed when considering the ins and outs of this type of gathering. Here are 12 tips to get you started on the path to a successful virtual baby shower.

Give Plenty of Lead Time

Just like when throwing a traditional, in-person baby shower, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of lead time—perhaps even more than you’d usually need—to plan an online party.

Not only will guests likely have to mail gifts to the parents-to-be, which takes extra time, but nailing down the logistics of this less-familiar shower format may also take a bit longer. Give yourself at least a month to plan, and be sure to send your invitation four weeks or more in advance.

Discuss Preferences With the Parents-to-Be

At a party that celebrates parents-to-be, their input matters! As you begin to gather ideas for their virtual shower, include the new parents in the discussion.

Perhaps there are certain shower games they always dread (the “name that poo” candy-bar-in-the-diaper game, maybe?) and don’t want played. Or some expecting parents might like to be joined by a small, intimate family group in person while connecting with others online. Do your best to accommodate what they want and don't want.

Manage Expectations 

Expectation setting is an important step for everyone involved in a virtual shower—including you as the host. A virtual shower may be a useful substitute and have lots of advantages (such as the ability to include faraway loved ones), but don’t expect it to be the same as the traditional shower.

You, your guests, and/or the parents-to-be may feel some sadness over the loss of a special celebration in its usual form. So don’t be surprised if some strong emotions come up.

Meanwhile, technology issues may put a damper on things during the shower itself. Whatever arises, try to let it simply be without judgment, remembering that you’re making the best of a tough situation.

Keep It Short

Another expectation to set? The length of your shower. “Zoom fatigue” is a very real phenomenon.

To help everyone genuinely enjoy the festivities (without burning out by the end), keep it short. An hour or less is often best for an online shower. Be clear in your invitation about how long guests should expect to be online, and stick to those parameters.

Choose a Platform

After living with pandemic restrictions for months, we’re probably all familiar with a panoply of videoconferencing apps, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, House Party, and Webex. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so give some thought to which one will serve your celebration best.

Zoom, for example, has a time limit of 40 minutes without a paid membership, but can accommodate up to 100 invitees. HouseParty, on the other hand, has no time limit but can only include up to eight people. Once you’ve chosen your platform, provide instructions in your invitation for how to access the shower online.

Select a Theme

Here’s where you get to have some fun! Just like an in-person shower, a virtual shower can have any theme you like. Does mom love to travel? Is dad a Star Wars fan? Choose a theme you can get creative with and tailor your games, décor, and invitation around it. 

Find an Invitation

As lovely as it is to receive a hand-written shower invitation in the mail, it’s not so easy to copy and paste a Zoom link from a piece of paper. For virtual showers, a virtual invite makes more sense.

Evite and Paperless Post now offer entire categories of invitations for virtual events—many of them free of charge. Choose from a variety of pre-made invitations or design your own to match the theme of your shower.

In addition to a videoconferencing link, be sure your invitation includes details on accessing baby’s gift registry and how guests can send gifts.

Plan Realistic Games

Clearly, in an online format, some of the typical baby shower games are off the table—but that doesn’t mean you and your guests can’t still have some fun. Verbal or pen and paper games are solid bets for the virtual experience.

A baby-themed word scramble or “guess the celebrity baby” sheet can be emailed to guests ahead of time. Or try a round of trivia questions about the parents-to-be (or trivia related to your theme).

And don’t forget about prizes! After game time, get addresses from your lucky winners so you can send prizes in the mail. Gift cards mail well and are always appreciated.

Think About Food and Drinks

Someday in the future, we might be able to eat and drink through a screen, à la Willy Wonka’s WonkaVision. For now, though, sharing a themed cake or mimosa virtually takes a bit more effort.

Depending on your budget and the number of attendees, you might have the means to send a little something edible to each guest to enjoy during the shower. If not, consider providing a tasty treat and virgin drink just for the parents-to-be. Then, in your invitation, ask that guests come prepared with something to nibble or a drink in hand to toast the happy family.

Make a Plan for Gift Opening

At a traditional shower, there’s ample opportunity for chit-chat to fill the space while opening gifts. At a virtual shower, however, you may need to get creative to prevent awkwardness during gift opening—particularly with the stubborn packaging of mailed gifts.

For a party with a large group of attendees, consider having the guest of honor open the gifts beforehand, then hold each one up to the camera with a few words of thanks. Background music can also help prevent dead air, so select a few songs that go with your theme to play at gift time.

Another possibility may be to provide an easy activity for guests to complete, such as writing an email of encouragement and advice to the parents-to-be while they unbox gifts.

Do a Trial Run

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Especially if you’re new to leading virtual meetings, it’s smart to work out the kinks with a trial run. Set aside some time a few days ahead of your shower to get comfortable with your camera setup and background.

Then invite the parents-to-be to jump on a quick call to make sure video and sound are working properly. With this extra check-in under your belt, you’ll feel far more confident the day of the real celebration.

Give Yourself Some Grace

The truth is, none of us could have predicted the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as we emerge from the worst of this difficult time, we’re all navigating a new normal as best we can. Even if things don’t go as perfectly as you might hope during a virtual shower, your guests will likely give you some grace.

Do your best to offer yourself the same kindness. Laugh at your mistakes, roll with the punches, and remember that this celebration isn’t about you, anyway—it’s a celebration of beautiful new life entering the world.

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  1. Bailenson JN. Nonverbal overload: A theoretical argument for the causes of Zoom fatigue. Technol Mind Behav. 2021;2(1). doi:10.1037/tmb0000030