Having to shelter in place doesn’t mean you can’t have or host a baby shower. In many ways, this can actually be a unique, budget-friendly way to celebrate a mom-to-be! Here are my tips on how to throw a great virtual baby shower or virtual baby sprinkle.
Pick a date.
Sundays seem to work well as Saturdays are when a lot of families typically have other plans scheduled, while Sundays seem to be more free, based on my experience. You should plan for roughly 1 to 1.5 hours but no longer than that. For this particular baby sprinkle I hosted, I picked Sunday around brunch time as it was fitting with my theme. If you are inviting a lot of moms with young kids, afternoon nap time when the little kids are asleep could be another good timeslot.
Pick a theme.
A theme brings the overall party together, but it also helps you make decisions. It’s much easier to pick decor and games and things if you limit your choices to ones that fit your theme. I ended up going with a “mom-osa” brunch theme (a play on the word “mimosa” if that wasn’t obvious) . I actually ended up choosing this by browsing baby shower invite cards for inspiration (check out Minted or Zazzle for the best ones) and picking one that I could build off of and do some interesting things around.
Send out invites.
Send out your invites 3-4 weeks ahead of time. I wouldn’t send it out much earlier than that, as people aren’t often planning their schedules much further ahead than that timeframe. They also are more likely to forget about the event as it gets closer to the date.
Include a short link (vanity URL) to your mom-to-be’s registry if you’d like. I have a very comprehensive baby registry checklist here in case she needs ideas!
Build up the anticipation with a physical invite and party kit!
This is one of my top tips. Because these parties are virtual, it’s hard for folks to get excited about it. Make it feel more “real” by doing something tangible to prep for the invite. This also makes people feel like this is a party they won’t want to miss. It shows that the party is going to be organized and not just some random Zoom call to chitchat.
I sent out the invites in the form of these “mom-osa” kits. The gift boxes were $5.50 from Target, then I just added plastic champagne flutes (about $1 each), filler material from Dollar Tree, and little bottles of champagne and orange juice.
The invites are from Minted. Minted lets you easily customize and personalize your invite.
I ended up just hand delivering these boxes to the guests (key here was that the invite list was so small, which made this all feasible, but you can get creative if you have a large guest list) and shipped out one box via a USPS Flat Rate Box. All in all this is maybe a $100 or so expense, but given that there weren’t many other party expenses, this was something I was happy to do. A physical shower, on the other hand, could run you close to $500 if you have to book a venue and have many guests. For the mom-to-be, I included a small sparkling mimosa drink in place of the real thing.
Also consider sending your mom-to-be some simple decorations to put up behind her during the virtual shower. This makes for nice pictures and just adds a little dimension to the party.
The technical setup
I would strongly recommend using Zoom for your virtual shower as most people are familiar with using this now. It’s also free for your guests and they don’t need any accounts set up to join.
Note that you will need to have a paid Zoom account in order to host the meeting for longer than 40 minutes. Just pay for it for the one month (check for discount codes!) and then cancel if you no longer need it. I believe I ended up paying around $12. Fortunately, I was able to use my paid Zoom account for hosting both my husband’s virtual birthday party and this baby sprinkle as they were within 30 days of each other.
Add a custom short link/vanity URL
You could set up a “vanity URL” so it’s easy for your folks to get to the Zoom meeting by using a site like bit.ly or any other site that offers custom shortened links. It’s also easier for writing on the invites. Our party URL was something like www.bit.ly/babyboy + the baby’s last name. It was easy to remember and easy to type. That URL then redirected to the Zoom meeting.
Do a dry run
Even if you’re super familiar with Zoom and screen-sharing, I would still recommend you have a friend meet you in your personal meeting room and quickly run through the “presentation” a day or two before the party. You really don’t want to have microphone, audio, or screen-sharing issues during the party.
If possible, plan to present your slides from a laptop different from the computer you’ll use to join your Zoom meeting. This just helps you easily see what everyone else is seeing even when you’re presenting. You won’t have to ask, “Can everyone see my screen?”, which I’m sure you already hear multiple times a day during work meetings. I log into the second computer as “Presentation” with microphone/audio and video off and the other device as myself with microphone/audio on and video on.
I really think the key to throwing a great virtual party (of any kind) is having a very tight agenda. Don’t worry about not having the downtime to chat. Your guests will have the opportunity to do this in the beginning while folks are getting set up and during the “events” of the party. I don’t think you should block off time just for chatting. The virtual nature of these parties demands structure, especially if you have many attendees.
Here are some of the key things I would suggest for having a great party that flows well and for making sure you don’t have a ton of awkward silent moments:
A nice, short intro
During your intro, welcome all the guests. Have folks introduce themselves if not everyone knows each other. Maybe also ask the mom-to-be to show her belly. Mention you have a lot of fun things planned and then get started. You could do a quick toast as long as you planned this in advance and guests are prepped with their drinks.
A slide deck
The slide deck provides a focal point for conversations. It also helps bring the theme together and just overall makes the party feel more structured. Here is a preview of what my slides looked like.
Instantly receive a link to download my virtual baby shower slide template by filling out the form below. This can be used in PowerPoint or imported into Google Slides.
Virtual Baby Shower Games
These are going to be the highlight of the party. Games give your guests something to do so you’re not just sitting around. Here are my top virtual baby shower game ideas and ones I personally used:
Game Idea 1: What’s in my diaper bag?
To play this game, you or another co-host shows your current diaper bag with contents concealed. (I used my personal diaper bag, the Caraa Diaper Baby Bag–check out my full review here.) Pick a random order for guests to start naming items they think are in the diaper bag. If they guess incorrectly, they are out of the game. Last guest standing wins. You could do this by teams if you have many guests. Try to make sure you have 15+ items in the diaper bag.
A nice “twist” to this game could be preparing a brand new diaper bag with essentials and gifting the entire diaper bag and contents to the mom-to-be after the game.
Related post: Check out my post on diaper bag must-haves here!
Game Idea 2: Name That Baby
This game works best if you’re able to get baby pictures of your guests ahead of time. If not, you can totally do this with just celebrity baby pics taken from the internet. I ended up doing a combo of guest baby pictures and celebrity baby pics. This was fun because the guests often mistook guest babies for celebrity babies. I found that it was important to give clues for the celebrity babies since there are so many possibilities and the babies don’t always look like their adult versions. Also, be sure to pick celebrities that all of your guests are likely to know.
Name That Baby is a nice starter game to help break the ice. With guests just shouting out their guesses, it helps liven up the party very quickly.
Game Idea 3: Family Feud
This was my favorite game and one I’ll likely use for all parties going forward. I found a great Family Feud PowerPoint template online. Please consider donating to the original creator like I did if you find the template useful!
I customized the template to use questions related to babies and parenting. This was super fun and I saved this game for the end of the party to end the party on a super high note.
You will need Microsoft PowerPoint to use this template. It does not work with Google Slides unfortunately. I was able to start a 30-day Office 365 trial in order to use PowerPoint for the virtual baby sprinkle I hosted. Be sure to also click “Enable Macros” when prompted after opening the file. The macros are what make the PowerPoint slides function like an actual interactive computer game.
For the logistics of this game, I split the guests into two teams. It actually worked out that the guests were from either the mom-to-be’s side of the family or the father-to-be’s, so we split up that way. Definitely take into account whether you think this type of team split makes sense for your guests or if it would be more fun to just have random teams, for example. This could be a great way for guests to interact with each other who may have never met previously.
The rules were slightly different from the real Family Feud game. Instead of one family working to answer the entire board and the other family has a chance to steal after three strikes, we just alternated giving answers between the two teams. The first team with three strikes lost, but only if the other family was able to give a correct answer “to steal.” I will admit it was pretty fun pressing the little “X” strikes when someone got a wrong answer.
Be sure you have an answer key printed or written so you know which number answer to click on when someone correctly gives an answer.
Other fun things to do
In addition to games, also add in some other meaningful “events” before, after, or in between games. I had the mother of the mom-to-be prepare a short toast. This was a nice way to start the party.
After our first game, we had everyone go around and give their best parenting tip. Obviously, be conscious of whether this would be awkward for any of your guests. I knew I had some guests that likely wouldn’t want to talk on the spot, so I gave them a heads up a couple days before the party that this was coming up and let them know that they could speak if they wanted to or not. If you have a lot of guests, you could have everyone send in their best parenting tip to you ahead of time and you could compile them all into several slides.
If you have enough time and think it’s a good idea, you could also have the mom- or parents-to-be open any gifts that were sent. I opted to not do this as I wasn’t sure everyone sent gifts and I didn’t want it to be awkward for anyone. We also had too many games planned that we wouldn’t have had time anyway.
Ending the party & taking pictures
After the last game, thank everyone for coming. Maybe throw up a slide with a picture of the mom-to-be with her belly and her partner/family.
Be sure to take at least one good picture (a screenshot — on a Mac, press Command ⌘ + Shift + 3) with all your guests in the frame. You could take one at the beginning of the party just in case you forget or in case some folks end up having to leave the party early, but also be sure to take one at the end once folks have loosened up and are actually genuinely smiling and not just being forced to do so for the picture. I also recommend taking screenshots during games as well!
Thank your guests via email or group text/chat and share the pictures you took! Crop them nicely (I use Preview on Mac to do this quickly) so they’re not showing your entire messy desktop and also choose a handful of the best ones instead of spamming with all.