I found that there is a way to bring friends and family together for this joyous occasion without feeling pressured to have a traditional baby shower. “No it can't quite be at grandma's house, but it could be at grandma's house on the net at Aunt Sally's and Cousin Linda's. You have the ability to make it global,” suggests Robin Elise from About.com in regards to online baby showers. With this in mind, hosting your own online baby shower can be fun, easy and economical. Here's how I did it.
How to Start
If you are familiar with Facebook at all you will know that they have an "events" page where you can create your own event. After you have clicked on that page you enter in the span of time you would like your party to run for. A month or less is more than enough time for everyone to leisurely decide if they want to attend the party or not. You can chose any amount of time that suits you for your own party. With the soon-to-be parents involved in the invitation sharing, this takes the guess work out of mailing out invitations. We all know that the first baby shower is the most important and sometimes the only shower for the parent's-to-be, so let the sharing begin!
Next upload a picture to spiff up your events page. Choose a cute photo from Google images that suites your shower theme nicely. You can chose any image you'd like from your own computer. A picture of the parents-to-be or an ultrasound picture would be suitable as well.
Since this is such a new concept, many people are not aware of what is expected of them. That is where your hostess skills come in. In the description portion is where you introduce yourself, explain what exactly a virtual baby shower is and what is expected of your guests. If you know the gender of the baby I would recommend adding this in your party description as well. It just makes gift buying easier for your guests. I had a lot of questions in regards to how this works and my standard answer was, “it is simple.” And it really is that simple once you wrap your brain around the fact that it is casual and not very traditional.
In order to keep things fun and upbeat introduce party games. Every week for the entire month you can post new game in the comments section of the events page. All your guests are required to do is to check into the events page every week and give their answer. Keeping in the party game spirit I offered a $20 gift card to each winner.
Here are some popular games I chose:
- How big is mom-to-be's belly?
- How big do you think the baby will weigh?
- On what day do you think the baby will be born?
- And last, but not least, your traditional word scramble. The quickest person to inbox me the correct answers won.
To make gift buying easy and economical for your guests, ask the parent's-to-be to register at any number of stores that have registries. This makes shopping easy for your guest and takes the guess work out of buying for the new parents. Posting links in the description that take your guest directly to the registrant's page is also very helpful. Once the guest had access to the registrant's gift registry, they were given the option to have the item they purchased shipped to the registrant's house or to the store for pick up. Most orders over a hundred dollars were eligible for free shipping. This is a very popular option.
The most popular stores that had online registries included:
The second gift buying is an easy one, simply post the soon-to-be parent's address. This mailing address can be used for those who would like to buy something other than what was in the registry.
What if the mother-to-be asks, "How am I going to host this shower in a way that people don't feel like they are just sending presents?" I would encourage her to get as involved as possible by posting comments and responding to them as well. Get the soon-to-be daddy involved as well. He can respond to comments and post videos and picture as well. My sister posted many photos of her voluptuous baby bump and responded to many of our guest's comments. This created a very warm comfortable feeling within the online baby shower that I had created.
With a little added humor, you can even enjoy party cake. Virtual party cake, that is. What woman isn't counting calories as they sit there with a plate full of guilty pleasure at a traditional baby shower? I found a picture on Google images of an absolutely adorable shower cake and posted it for everyone to take a virtual bite out of. Our virtual party cake was calorie free and the best part was, you could eat as much as you want without feeling bad. So why not have a second helping? This was a great way to end a happy occasion.
So how do you include people who are not on social media sites or technologically savvy? Send paper invitations out to those individuals with the same instructions that you had posted on the web for our virtual baby shower guests. There is no reason why these people can't participate as well.
There are many other ways to have an online baby shower if you don't want to use Facebook. As Web Baby Shower states on their How to Host Long Distance Baby Showers, “You can set up a 'home page' for your long distance baby shower at any free (or even paid) blogging services. Most are very simple to set up and use." Google’s Blogspot, WordPress, or even TypePad.com are also great blog services to use if this is the avenue you'd like to take.
This same site also suggests trying a video baby shower by using such services as:
So break out the video camera or camera on your laptop and give it a whirl!
Minus all the decorations, invitations, stamps, confirmation phone calls, and food, I'd have to say this is by far the most stress-free and economical way to host a long distance party. I would highly recommend this concept to anyone looking to bridge the distance between loved ones. As my sister stated after the shower was over, “This was by far the best way to have a shower under the circumstances. We received so many gifts and it was so easy!”
So, get the most out of your social media and host your own online baby shower today.