How to Organize a Drive-By Baby Shower During Social Distancing
Baby showers are a beautiful milestone in the life of new parents-to-be. They signal the upcoming arrival of a new little one, and the serve as an opportunity for loved ones to celebrate the family-to-be with gifts and well-wishes. Traditionally, baby showers are all-out occasions, a beautifully decorated brunch full of guests "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" over miniature sized clothing crib sheets, and baby buggies, snacking on cucumber sandwiches and sipping mimosas, but in this time of COVID-19, nothing is traditional. Drive-by parties and car parades have replaced large gatherings, allowing friends and family to still be involved—just at a distance.
You can make the drive-by event as little or big of a production as you like, so here's how to start planning.
Decide on a Location
The first and most important step is to chat with the expecting parents, ask them how much or little they want to be involved in the planning, and then go from there. Find a nice location with easy drive-by or drive up access. A U-shaped driveway or cul-de-sac is ideal, but an empty parking lot or open space on the street in front of a house works, too. Try to avoid high-traffic areas that may be unsafe for a car to temporarily park while visiting. A driveway with a garage that can be utilized in case of inclement weather is a great option, otherwise you may want to consider renting a canopy tent.
Paper invitations are always nice, but in this case you might want to consider going digital. Invites from sites like Paperless Post can be created with links to phone numbers, and more importantly, they can be edited in the case that any event details need to be changed. Be sure to express your excitement over the upcoming party, but make it clear in the invitations that the celebration is a drive-by shower only. This is still a relatively new idea, so be sure it's as clear as you can make it, and offer a contact number for anyone who might be confused or need more information.
Assign guests a time slot on their invite, or create a document online where guests choose their preferred time to drive by. Allow 20 to 30 minutes for each guest, this should be enough time to chat and account for late arrivals. Be sure to schedule a few breaks for the parents, because it can end up being a very long day. If you want guests to be able to visit with the parents-to-be outside of their cars, set up a comfy lounge area with seating spaced six feet apart. Be sure to specify distancing requests on the invitation (please maintain a safe distance of six feet, wear a mask at all times, and so on) and create pretty signs as reminders to set around the lounge area.
Set the Scene
One of the best parts of planning a shower is coming up with a theme, and that doesn't have to change just because the shower is being held outdoors. Give the guests a peek at the theme in the invitation, and encourage them to participate by hanging streamers or balloons from the car. In addition to the invitation, you can set up a private Facebook page with ideas on how they can get involved, as well as information on where they can share photos they take at the event. It's a lovely way for guests to connect after the party.
If you want elevated design without the hassle of having to do it yourself, most event planning companies now offer drive-by décor packages. For one, The Simple Luxe Event Rentals in Los Angeles offers customizable packages that include everything from rugs and seating to floral and backdrops. If you're looking to keep it simple and fun, consider making a statement with a balloon garland.
A cute space is great, but don't forget to make it comfy. Get an outdoor umbrella to ensure there's always shade, and remember to bring a comfortable chair for the guest of honor. A nice idea is to move a loveseat or chaise lounge outside and provide them with a table for drinks and snacks. Keep a blanket close by if it gets too cold or a fan if it gets too warm. Delegating a family member or pod member to assist the mother-to-be to be is very important. They can help provide anything she might need and, at the very least, can stand up if a guest gets too close for comfort without the expectant mother having to feel uncomfortable saying so.
Party Snacks and Favors
Customized face masks and hand sanitizer are the new party favors. They're practical and a way to commemorate this historic time we're all living through. As for snacks, prepare small bites that can be packed up individually in to-go containers. Charcuterie cups are a cute way to add a touch of class, and they fit perfectly in the cupholder. As for cake, you don't have to pass it up: Individually wrapped slices of cake next to a beautifully decorated small "party cake" (for the mother-to-be and immediate household) is the best way to have your cake and eat it too.
One of the most enjoyable parts of a baby shower is seeing all the sweet little gifts. A good way to continue this tradition is to set up a gift table at a safe distance from the lounge area. One of the hosts can offer to be the go-between, bringing favors to attendees who do not wish to get out of their cars, and collecting gifts to bring back to the table. Consider asking guests not to wrap gifts, so they can be displayed on the table for other friends and family who attend the drive-by shower to see.
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