Lifestyle

How to throw a virtual bridal shower that people will enjoy

You don’t have to cancel the celebration!

A woman having a party at her computer Credit: Getty Images / svetikd

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Though we’ve spent the last few months in a new state of normal, plenty of celebrations are still happening. There are birthdays, graduations, and weddings to be joyous about. If you’ve been tasked as a maid of honor, you likely had an oh crap moment about how to host a bridal shower. But fear not, we’ve rounded up ideas and activities to make the party interactive, enjoyable, and fun for everyone no matter their location!

How to organize the shower

invites
Credit: Paperless Post

Decide between virtual and tangible invites.

Just like a party you'd throw in your own home, you still need to worry about the logistics of a virtual bridal shower. Here are a few steps you'll want to confirm before setting the party in motion:

Know who's coming
If your party isn't a surprise, you can straight up ask the bride who she'd like to invite to the shower. This isn't frowned upon—in fact, unless you know every single member of the bride's extended family—it's necessary. Since your party will be virtual, you don't need to worry about capacities or budgets—you just need to know who should be there. If you are throwing a surprise party, try enlisting the help of the bride's friends and close family members to make the invite list.

Pick the date
One of the silver linings of quarantine is that most people have free time on their hands, so you don't have to worry about juggling too many schedules at once. But with family members in different time zones, it's a good idea to get a quick pulse check on dates and times that work best for the bride's crew. Try using an online service, like Doodle, to find the time that works best for everyone (and please don't forget to check with the bride first!).

I recently read an amazing post about a husband who organized his wife’s birthday in a staggered format. So, throughout the day friends and family members called in, Facetimed, and joined Zoom calls so his wife could have meaningful conversations with each one as if she was mingling around the room of an in-person party. This is a great option for people who are more introverted or for anyone who wants to catch up with guests in smaller groups instead of having a more collective gathering.

Send out invitations
When selecting invitations, you can choose from virtual or tangible options. Virtual invites are quick, easy, and environmentally friendly. However, you can’t hang them on the fridge or add them to a scrapbook. Try virtual invites from Paperless Post, which even has a tool that helps you track RSVPs. If you want a tangible memento, consider getting custom calligraphy cards from a local business near you, or turning to a site that carries custom invites, like Etsy.

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Pick the right platform
There are lots of video hosting sites out there, but you can't do much better than Zoom or Google Hangouts. With both, people can join from all over the world, which might even be cooler than an in-person gathering. You can send invites to the bride’s friends no matter their location, which is sure to bring joy to everyone sharing in the celebration. However, Google Hangouts limits your guest count at 10, so unless you're working with an intimate crowd, Zoom is probably your best bet.

What activities to include

games
Credit: Something Turquoise; Printed Party

Send PDFs of game cards before the party starts.

A virtual bridal shower can be just as fun and interactive as an in-person one. You can host a multitude of games like He Said She Said and Wedding Madlibs. For well-acquainted groups, you can play Guess the First Dance Song, where you create a playlist of guests’ first dance songs and people have to guess who the songs belong to. You can also coordinate with guests ahead of time by sending Madlibs or PDF sheets for people to fill out and then share while on the call. You could have trivia about the bride, the couple, and even the wedding event itself.

Playing a slideshow or video is easy since you’re already sharing screens. People can display their favorite photos with the bride as their icon, or can take turns sharing a memento. These are great ways for everyone attending to get to talk without it getting glitchy, and it’s a sentimental touch. Animoto is a simple platform that makes it easy for anyone to put together a slideshow or video to share.

Pick a fun theme everyone will enjoy

table
Credit: KatieDobies/Getty Images

Pick a theme for guests to celebrate with props and desserts.

A big part of many bridal showers is a theme! Think about the wedding style (destination wedding, fandom-themed, picnic, nautical, tea party, traditional, etc) and plan the shower to have a matching theme. My company threw a shower for my old boss. We all showed up with ocean and water decorations and stuffed animals since her wedding was planned to be on a boat at Boston Harbor. It was a fun way to show we all adored her style choice and it gave us a way to visually connect using virtual backgrounds and props around our house. If you select a theme, be sure to give options to guests about what they could display to get their imaginations going!

Other fun ideas are a karaoke-themed party where guests take turns signing songs for the honorary couple, or a drink-themed party where guests share cocktail recipes inspired by the bride!

Don’t forget gifts!

gifts
Credit: Traci Beattie/Getty Images

Send gifts directly to the bride's home.

Since guests won’t be gathering in one location, be clear about what those who have gifts should do with them. Instead of tangibles, they could donate to the soon-to-be newlyweds’ honeymoon and the significant other or colleague can surprise the bride with a check. (Can you tell I like surprises?) Or, to save some shipping woes, you can also coordinate gifts to be delivered directly to the bride’s house where they can open them on the call (or separately if that’s not their thing).

Yes—you can still throw a surprise party

Surprise
Credit: kkshepel/Getty Images

Don't forget the champagne!

Just because you aren’t able to be in-person doesn’t mean you can’t surprise a bride! There are a handful of ways to pull off a good virtual surprise party. Coworkers can set up an inconspicuous meeting that is actually a party with friends, family, and colleagues invited. Significant others can do the same thing under the guise of a virtual concert, lecture, or trivia night! Guests can come prepared with stories or a toast. And make sure that whomever is physically with the bride has a crown, sash, or props to make them feel special! And, of course, have dessert and champagne!

You can have alcoholic drinks delivered by using online delivery from places like Saucey or Shipt. These types of services allow you to search by zip code and select what you’d like to send, making it easy for guests to coordinate their beverages and social distance at the same time.

At the end of the day, showing up and supporting the bride (and couple) is what’s important. Connecting during a call and sharing in the activities and champagne is a great way to focus on the positive events around us.

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