Despite living through a very distressing pandemic, my daughter, and many daughters all over the world, are getting ready to deliver babies. Life as we knew it has changed, and how we traditionally celebrated the birth of a baby has changed. Maybe forever. And here’s why.
Some background: My daughter’s best friends had been planning a baby shower to take place in California. Everyone was so excited to celebrate Amanda and Darren’s first baby! They bought invitations, decorations (seen in the photo below, including a poster, balloons, etc.), and were planning the menu for the baby shower. Then, Covid-19 closed down California. Amanda and Darren have been sheltering-in-place for two months. So, Amanda cancelled the baby shower. But, when I spoke with Amanda’s friends we decided that we could plan a baby shower virtually — after all, Zoom is being used for all sorts of meetings, and the young parents to be would still need all the baby things. So, I had a talk with Amanda and convinced her that even though we couldn’t be with her in person, we still wanted to celebrate their baby and give them gifts to show our love and support. She finally agreed. And, quickly, her two best friends converted their baby shower plans into a virtual Zoom party. Good ole Zoom! Who knew how important this tool would be to the average person, even my 96-year-old mother!
And it was FABULOUS!!! There were over 30 guests, including all of Amanda’s Michigan aunts, cousins, and even her 96-year-old grandmother (my mom!). So, the good news is we were able to invite friends and family all over the country who otherwise would not be able to travel to California.
Here’s how you can plan a baby shower, or any type of celebration virtually on Zoom:
Step #1: Send Invitation & Gift Registry Via Email
The party organizers, who were also the hosts of the Zoom call, sent out the invitation about 1.5 months before the baby shower to give everyone time to order gifts online or send gifts well ahead of the shower. You can use regular email or Evite.com to invite everyone to the party. Be sure to include instructions for first-time Zoom users on how to pre-install the Zoom app, and how to navigate inside the program. If you have a loved one, like my mother, who is in assisted living, and doesn’t own a computer or tablet, inquire whether they have someone on staff who can set up a tablet or computer with Zoom.
You are invited to join us to celebrate Amanda and Darren on the upcoming arrival of their baby boy! We were hoping to get together in person, however, given the current situation of COVID19, we didn’t want to miss a chance to celebrate virtually. So, we’ll party on Zoom!
Date: May 9th
Time: 11am – 1pm Pacific Time
What To Expect: Here is a link to their gift registry to get the party started. We will send out the Zoom Call information shortly. Make sure and install Zoom on your device before the party. Bring your own refreshments and snacks. There will be gift opening, games, and some surprises!
We can’t wait to see everyone (virtually)!
Step #2: Set Up Zoom Call & Send Out With 2nd Email Reminder
The party organizers followed up to make sure everyone was receiving the invitation emails, especially the guests who don’t use technology regularly. A 2nd email included the Zoom Call information.
Right now, you can get a FREE account on Zoom to host a party.
Step #3: Baby Shower Party Agenda
On the day and time of the baby shower, all the guests click on the Zoom link and join the “conference room.”
- Welcome & Chit Chat
- Gift Opening
- Each Guest Offers Advice To The Parents-To-Be
We started the Zoom call pretty informally, with everyone chatting and seeing who was on the call. Then, the hostess got the party started by introducing herself and setting the agenda for the 2-hour party. They broke up the gift opening with games in between, so it was a little gift opening, playing a game, then back to gift opening, etc. This added variety to the two hours.
Step #4: The Baby Shower
If you plan it right, the actual Zoom Baby Shower will be such a joy and everything will be better than you imagined! Our party sure was!
We LOVED watching Amanda and Darren open their gifts! Here’s how they handled all the gifts as they arrived at their home by mail: Darren was the one who opened the boxes, took out the gift cards, and made a list of each gift and who it was from. He stored the gifts in the spare bedroom. Amanda did not see any of the gifts ahead of time. So, for the party, Darren brought Amanda each gift and she opened it in front of us.
Here’s a TIP FOR USING ZOOM FOR A BABY SHOWER:
When it’s time for the parents-to-be to open gifts, here’s a way to put their window front and center on your phone, tablet, or computer screen. On Zoom, when there are many attendees, it will display each attendee in a small window on your screen (Gallery Mode). When the pregnant parents are opening gifts you’ll want to have their window the largest on your screen. Here’s how to “pin” their window and keep it the largest: Right-click on the window you want made larger, or double-click on the window. It’s called “Pinning” the window. This will keep their window front and center even if other people are talking. You can unpin the window when you want to return to Gallery View and see everyone in small boxes on your screen.
We play two games that really were fun and kept everyone engaged and interactive! First, the host shared her screen and showed some really cute baby and young child photos of the parents-to-be. I furnished the photos of my daughter, Amanda! And Darren’s mom did the same!
Game #1: Which Parent Will Do It First?
The party hostess asked a series of questions and everyone was supposed to shout out either the Mother or Father. Example questions: Who will diaper the baby first? Who will get up in the middle of the night for the first feeding? Who will read books to the baby more? Who will sing to the baby? Will the baby say “mama” or “dada” first?
Game #2: How Much Do You Know About The Mother-To-Be?
The party hostess asked personal questions about the Mother-To-Be, Amanda. Example questions: Does Amanda prefer tea or coffee? White chocolate or dark chocolate? Does she buy more shoes or purses? Chinese or Mexican takeout? Would Amanda rather have a dog or cat? Hint: Ask questions that only her friends and family would know the answers. It was fun and honestly, I didn’t even know all the answers!
Share A Piece Of Advice
Amanda later told me she enjoyed this the most. Each attendee was called upon by the host to give a piece of advice to the parents-to-be. And the host wrote down each response and is planning to include all the advice in a little book that she will give to the parents later. This was so personal, meaningful, and quite moving. Remember to give the attendees a heads-up during the initial agenda setting so each person can be thinking about what he/she wants to say. One cute example of advice was given by a retired pilot who said, “As a former pilot, the best advice I have for you is to put on your face mask first before helping your children. In other words, take care of yourself first and foremost, then you’ll be a better parent and able to take care of your children.” Great advice for everyone!
The Future of Baby Showers
I’m sure you’ll come up with different baby shower games and ideas, but I think this is a good plan to get started. It’s really possible to honor the birth of a baby and come close to the same closeness and well wishes. When life returns to normal and we can have in person baby showers again, you may want to include a Zoom call for those people who can’t travel. You could set up a tablet or computer with a wide view of the party, and use Zoom to broadcast the party. It really was meaningful and felt like were in the room with our kids and all the guests. I highly recommend Zoom for baby showers or any type of celebration.
Do you have any thoughts as to other gatherings you can hold on Zoom during this period?
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What a wonderful explanation I hope I would have a baby shower on zoom. I feel like with all the tips you gave me all I would need to do is bring my champagne and plan the rest.