How to Throw A Virtual Baby Shower
I'm not one for big reveals so our precious baby news has been kept semi-quiet...until now! Plus I've got plenty of decor inspo, menu ideas and planning tips for your next shower.
In just a few short months, yours truly, will be bringing a new life into this world. HUNGRY FOR LIFE 2.0! Kalo and I could not be more excited to meet our sweet girlie but damnnn folks pregnancy is not for the faint-hearted. From the start it's been quite the roller coaster ride and that includes trying to put together a shower for loved ones spread out all over the globe. I was skeptical how it would turn out but our perfectly imperfect, totally digital party was a huge success thanks to a few of my favourite women. And now, I have a whole bunch of practical tips to share with those of you in similar positions. Here's how it all went down.
1) When in Doubt Theme it Out
Our little one is nicknamed Bambina so I thought an Amalfi-inspired shower theme would be completely on brand for her. Imagine lemons everywhere, painted tile tablecloths, pink balloons and plenty of pasta. From the decor to the food and even my dress, we were transported to southern Italy without ever leaving our living rooms. I know for Kalo and I it was a very special afternoon. The moral of the story is choosing a theme truly grounds any party. As the host, your goal is to create a visual memory and today more often than not that visual is seen through a web camera instead of in person.
To recreate this fun, fresh theme Amazon, Etsy and US stores like Home Goods and Target will be your best friends. It's all about the small details so try to get your hands on lemon-printed paper plates and napkins, pink and yellow straws, ceramic tile coasters, vintage glasses, decorative drink pitchers and food platters. Why stop there? Greenery garlands, pops of lemon and fresh flowers totally scream Positano. I'm also a huge fan of the balloon arch these days. They are so dramatic and festive plus building one could not be easier. Do yourself a favour by buying the full arch kit online and invest in the small balloon pump. Oh and to get more of your guests involved, think about sending them decor kits. Clever, right? But I'll get into that a little later. FYI if you're hungry for some more decor photos check out Instagram and Pinterest.
Food, as always, brings everything together. At a shower you'll want to keep the menu light yet satisfying. Encourage your friends and family to get in the Italian spirit with these easy recipes for Antipasto Tortellini Skewers from Half Baked Harvest, Fregola Pasta Salad with Citrus and Bucatini al Limone. Did anyone notice that pasta was featured in all? ;) I just can't help myself. Also, be sure not to skimp on the lemony sweets. Try making Pound Cake Parfaits with Strawberries, Challah Bread Pudding with Limoncello or Ina Garten's Lemon Bars. I made Giada's parfaits and they were to die for. Really quick, I have to give a shout out to Kate at Green Door Bakery. She made the most tasty and beautiful custom-designed cookies for my shower. Any HFL readers in Chicago need to check her out ASAP.
2) Consider the Guest Experience
We hosted our shower on Zoom. It's a platform I think a lot of us are familiar with and if not it's fairly easy to learn how to use. I suggest putting the "meeting" link on your shower's invitation so everyone has plenty of time to get set up with an account. Now, are you ready for the the most important piece of advice I can give you on the subject of virtual showers? Do your best to limit the number of invitees. If you're thinking that's easier said than done, I completely understand. Basically, the more screens you have the more distractions there will be and overall the amount of engagement drastically decreases. I recommend around 15-20 people but for a cheeky workaround jump to Tip 3!
Something else to consider is your camera set up. Try experimenting with different angles on multiple devices keeping in mind that some creative muting is required to avoid echos. My mom and I did several tests a couple weeks then a day or two prior to make sure we both had all the right equipment, cords, tripods, etc. Technology has a way of making our lives super efficient yet ridiculously difficult and frustrating at the same time. Am I right? It's best to be prepared so you can simply enjoy the big day.
3) Encourage Small Gatherings
I'm pretty proud of this next idea because I think it made all the difference in the happy vibe of Bambina's shower. We set up party hubs in Chicago, Phoenix, Portland and London that way some folks could meet up to celebrate the good old fashioned way. These gatherings made it possible for us to increase the guest list, reduce the amount of individual screens which in return bumped up the positivity and excitement levels. I loved looking at the different groups and witnessing their bustling parties unfold yet I felt like I was part of the action. So there you have it. Simply let your guests know who else is invited so they can get together with others in the same area. And don't forget about time differences because a late dinner party in the UK means brunch for Arizonians.
4) Mail Out Decor Kits
Even though your girls may be far away you can still make a virtual shower feel special by sending out boxes full of party supplies and treats. Pack up everything they would need to decorate the space in front of their computers like balloons, banners and bunting. Inside our kits we also included personalised M&Ms, homemade limoncello, lemon scented candles, pretty plates, and lemon infused olive oil. Get creative. This will surely inspire your guests to do the same.
5) Embrace the Awkward
My last bit of advice is not to worry too much. Let's face it, when you go digital some things will be out of your control. Promise me you'll take all the random background noises, silences and frozen faces in stride. Oh and I guarantee you'll say "what, what?" a million times over but that's okay. All you have to do is look at the screen to see how many people showed up for you. That's love right there. Keep in mind, like any party it's best to have an agenda to keep the ball rolling. Hellos are first, play games (e-gift cards make for great prizes), open gifts and then it's time for what us gals do best CHIT CHAT. Hands down this was my favourite part of the shower because I haven't seen quite a few family members in such a long time. #hungryforhome
So did I sell you on the whole virtual experience??? Trust me, I wasn't a believer either until we dove in and made the best of our long-distance situation. Gigantic thank yous go to my Mom, SIL Angie and cousin Carlie. Their hard work and enthusiasm made Bambina's day one I'll never forget. I have to thank everyone who logged in as well to celebrate our baby's upcoming arrival. And to close, I wish all the brides or mamas-to-be out there good luck hosting your next shower. Feel free to give me a shout if you need any help.