News flash: Bridal showers don’t have to be thrown in person. Hosting a virtual event—that is, group video calling via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or another platform—can be just as fun!
A bridal shower is one of those moments a bride looks forward to from the moment wedding planning begins, and with social distancing measures still in place, so many brides-to-be are devastated to have to cancel their showers.
Have friends who live in different states? Or others who can’t find childcare for their kids? Virtual showers solve all of these problems and allow your crew to get together no matter where they live or who they’re with.
Transitioning your bridal shower from an in-person pre-wedding celebration to a virtual get-together allows you to celebrate safely with all your nearest and dearest.
While this is especially practical now, in the time of COVID-19, when gathering isn’t advisable, virtual bridal showers could be here to stay for the long haul—at least in some capacity.
In the future, long-distance guests who can’t make the trip for both the pre-wedding event and the big day can join via video call. Boutique Events Group is your ultimate Wedding Reception Venue to create your dream wedding.
And with careful planning, your virtual bridal shower can be as fun and joyful as the traditional version.
How to Plan and Host a Virtual Bridal Shower
Figure Out the Guest List.
While a bridal shower guest list traditionally includes only guests invited to the wedding, you have more flexibility with a virtual event—especially if you are hosting a small, family-only ceremony.
You should include the same guest list you originally planned—it should be those that love and support you most.
You could consider expanding the list if you want to include a larger group of people who may not have been part of the in-person one but could blend in and enjoy the virtual one!
Adding out-of-town friends and extended family adds to the festive spirit of the event too.
Right now, everyone is looking for an opportunity to celebrate something, no matter how intimately close they are to the person being honoured, so we recommend going big!
It is one hundred per cent appropriate to invite individuals who will not be invited to the actual wedding.
In the past, this was considered uncouth, but we are all trying to figure out the best way to make everyone feel included, and this is an excellent opportunity for just that.
Tie the Event Together With Something Special
The number one thing to think about is creating consistency—that’s how you can make guests feel like they’re celebrating the bride in person.
Whether that consistency is established through an item for the party everyone has, a standard video call backdrop, or virtually sharing treats and cocktails, choose one thing everyone attending the virtual shower has.
Send Digital Invites
Sending digital invites for a virtual shower creates a unique feel for the event vs. sending a text or email.
With so many beautiful digital options available, including Joy’s, it will be easy to find one fitting for the shower theme and couples’ preferences.
Invites also allow the shower host to convey all the information they need to share with guests, such as the virtual meeting link as the shower location.
You can opt to create pretty virtual invitations. Then, choose which video conferencing platform you’ll use.
Zoom or Skype, for example, are practical options that are easy to use and can accommodate an extensive guest list.
Alternatively, you may want to maintain the tradition of sending actual invitations by mail to help things feel more festive.
Couples whose wedding celebrations have been impacted by the coronavirus still deserve to feel as showered with attention and love as they would with in-person celebrations.
That’s why we recommend sending printed shower invitations to the bride and guests, just as they would for an in-person shower, with the location being the virtual meeting link.
Consider adding a dress code to the invitation to create a more celebratory virtual atmosphere.
For example, specify dressy casual or cocktail attire for a couple’s shower, or ask everyone to dress in the bride’s favourite colour (and she is white).
This will set the tone for the shower and help the virtual stream to look more unified.
It may feel strange to collect RSVPs for a virtual shower; however, a headcount is still crucial for two reasons, and digital RSVP systems like Joy’s help you gather the information you need.
The host will need to make sure the live stream platform they select for the shower can accommodate the size of the group without capping attendees or cutting off the live meeting after a certain length of time.
If the shower host wants to send refreshments, favours, or festive decor to serve as a backdrop for the virtual shower to guests, they will need to know who is attending and everyone’s addresses.
Get Creative With Food.
Instead of the buffet or seated meal you would have provided at an in-person shower, get creative with food and drink deliveries to both nearby and far-away guests.
Food and drink play a key role in almost every celebration in life and should be the same at a virtual event.
If all guests are local, dropping off a homemade picnic basket or box of foods can be a fun way to connect with everyone.
If guests live all over the states, you can work with a national delivery company to send everyone the same treats, snacks and or meals. Whatever food you send should be easy to enjoy and not require too much work.
A virtual event can also include your family’s culinary favourites—even if they’re incorporated in a slightly different way than in the past.
If it is a family tradition for Aunt Sally to make her Italian cookies for a shower, perhaps she makes them for herself to enjoy and gives some to the bride-to-be.
She’s still honouring her tradition, and everyone will appreciate that! This also helps things feel a bit more normal for Aunt Sally.
When you can’t clink glasses in person, try the next best thing: send all guests a signature cocktail recipe, and ask everyone to prepare it at home and enjoy it during the shower.
Or, you can make things even more straightforward and just ask everyone to pick up a split of champagne that you can all open together on screen.
Alternatively, if alcohol delivery services are available in your area, consider having wine or champagne delivered to each guest’s home before the shower.
You can do the same thing with food delivery, too: Arrange to send treats to each guest through a delivery service such as Goldbelly, DoorDash, Postmates, or Caviar, or check to see what your local bakeries offer (if all guests are in the same locale or if they deliver out of town).
Many bridal showers include a recipe-sharing element. While a virtual shower can’t replicate the same impressive spread of delicious treats for guests, you can create a similar effect by having guests share their favourite hors d’oeuvres or dessert recipes in advance.
These can be shared with the bride and all the guests virtually, and everyone can share the history of the recipe and how it came to them during the shower—giving everyone a tangible memory to hold on to.
(Alternatively, you could collect recipes in advance and compile them in a thoughtful custom cookbook)
To add a lively and tasty touch to the shower, the hosts can send refreshments to guests ahead of time, such as mini bottles of champagne, wedding-themed iced sugar cookies, or whatever food or drink goes with the shower theme of the couple’s personality.
A more budget-friendly option is to include a request in the digital invitation such as “Have a drink in hand to toast to the couple!” rather than sending refreshments to guests.
If hosts go this route, they could still consider sending a food, dessert, or beverage delivery to the bride or couple as a special touch.
Include a Theme, Activities, and Decorations.
Pre-planned activities can help smooth over the initial awkwardness of a large-group video chat—and help your guests get to know each other.
Plus, bridal shower games are a tradition the bride might not want to pass up. Games are a must.
They are a great way to keep things moving, lively and everyone participating.” For example, send out virtual Bingo cards while the guest of honour opens gifts or set up a trivia quiz about the couple.
Encouraging virtual guests to decorate their backgrounds in advance offers easy entertainment.
If supplies or time are limited, you can encourage guests to create or come up with creative virtual backdrops and make it a competition with different categories. If your guests aren’t all creative types, keep it simple with a basic theme.
Encouraging a colour theme is a great way to get guests involved and encourage them to dress up.
We live in sweatpants and t-shirts, so a chance to wear a specific colour palette and put on makeup is always welcomed. Looking for the best Melbourne Wedding Decorators to help make your day as magical as possible. Boutique Events Group, have you covered.
Sticking with a colour scheme for everyone to wear is an easy and festive way to make everyone feel included.
Don’t Forget the Decor.
While you can’t actually all be in the same room, you can fake it by creating a pretty backdrop (like fringe garlands, clusters of balloons in the bride’s wedding colours, or a homemade banner), then taking a photo of it and emailing it to everyone ahead of time.
This way, each guest can upload their picture as their virtual backdrop (easy to do in platforms such as Zoom), so it appears everyone is together.
Whether you decide to decorate virtually or physically, creating a festive atmosphere will take a shower from a casual hangout with friends to feeling extraordinary.
If the virtual shower is over Zoom or another platform that allows attendees to set a virtual background, create an environment for guests to use during the rain, such as photos of the couple, an image related to the shower theme, or a solid coloured backdrop with text such as “Mary’s Bridal Shower” across the top.
For physical decorations, the shower hosts can send a care package to each shower guest and the bride or couple ahead of the shower, including fun items (a la photo booth props) to bring the virtual battery to life.
Bridal shower hosts who want to get crafty, and have the time to plan, could also send a care package to the bride and each guest before the shower filled with fun props, such as photo booth-style items or a bridal sash or veil to wear during the virtual storm.
There are also many bridal shower decor packages you can order online, such as these from Party City, and have them delivered straight to the bride’s door.
Virtual Bridal Shower Games
Bridal shower games are pretty easy to take virtual and can still lead to a lot of fun and laughs.
Try options such as Bridal Bingo, where the host creates digital bingo cards for each guest ahead of time (make it by adding registry items to each square, and as the bride opens gifts, guests mark off their cards until someone makes bingo).
Or make things even simpler by sending a Q&A to the bride ahead of time, asking questions such as her favourite movie, who usually does the dishes, where she and her fiancé met, etc., and then have guests jot down what they think her live answers will be during the shower.
To keep everyone honest, you have them hold their responses up to the camera.
Other fun ideas for games to play, says Cole, virtually include “Name That Tune,” in which the hostess plays a snippet of well-known love songs and guests have to name the singer;
Or a scavenger hunt, during which the host calls out a random item (say, a pair of white socks), and all guests must run through their homes to retrieve the item.
Consider gifting winners a virtual gift card to a grocery delivery service or a local restaurant or small business to use when things reopen.
You could also forfeit prizes and make a donation to a charity helping medical workers or those affected by a coronavirus in the bride’s name, says Carter.
Dress for the Occasion
A dress code doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be fun, a silly theme, or as dressy as you want it to be. The goal is to make the event feel like a celebration, and a dress code will create a bright and cheery visual for the live stream.
Still, Send and Open Gifts
Suppose the engaged couple created a wedding registry. In that case, it’s easy to order gifts online and have them sent directly to their home before the shower (specify this on the invitation to ensure everyone’s package gets there on time).
Then, all guests can watch the bride open them virtually. This way, guests can still see her face when the bride opens their present.
You can also think about gifting future travel, such as airline miles or hotel gift cards, for the couple who loves to travel and is already thinking about planning their honeymoon. Going in on something as a group can help travel-related gifts go further, too.
Consider setting up a special gift for the bride who already has everything she needs, or if the group of bridal shower guests wants to try something different.
Whether you make a virtual bridal shower simple or filled with preparation and lots of surprises, the vital thing to remember is that you’re showering the bride-to-be with love.
Host a Movie Night
Thanks to Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension, you can watch Netflix remotely with your friends.
The extension synchronizes video playback and offers group messaging so you and your gang can have a movie night even if you are miles apart.
Don’t let anyone forget their popcorn!
Create an At-Home Spa
We all deserve some relaxation time, but you don’t necessarily need to go to a spa to find it.
Before your party, send your guests a care package of spa goodies (face masks, nail polish, a robe, etc.) or ask them to gather some of their spa supplies.
When it comes time to video call, have everyone dress in their coziest attire and start their at-home treatments together.
Participate in a Group Sweat Session
You can still break a sweat with your bridesmaids no matter where you are. So whether you’re a fan of HIIT, cross-fit, barre, or pilates, invite your guests to a virtual workout session.
We recommend contacting your local gym or favourite studio to see if any instructors would like to host a private class virtually.
Pay it Forward
Encourage guests to join the virtual shower by donating to a charity of the couple’s choice for each guest that attends.
The donation doesn’t need to be a significant amount but will give people an extra incentive to join and is a great way to give back to the community, which is especially important during current times.
Virtual events aren’t just your closest friends hopping on a video call to chat for hours (although we wouldn’t be opposed to that)—they’re an opportunity to do your favourite activities together, albeit remotely.
For foodies, see who can get the most creative in their kitchens with a cook-off. For yogis, organize a virtual zen session. For board-game lovers, host a game night with downloadable apps. Check out our Top Wedding Planners here to help make your special day as smooth as possible.
The options are endless and not hindered by a computer or phone screen!