How to Plan and Host a Virtual Bridal Shower
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 just 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. And with careful planning, your virtual bridal shower can be as fun and joyful as the traditional version. Event designer Diana Venditto and Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events share their suggestions for creating an unforgettable party.
Figure out the guest list.
While a bridal shower guest list traditionally includes only guests also 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," says Meyer. "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, says Venditto. "I think right now everyone is looking for an opportunity to celebrate something, no matter how intimately close they are to the person being celebrated, so I recommend going big!" she says. "It is one hundred percent appropriate to invite individuals who will not be invited to the actual wedding. In the past this was considered uncouth but I think we are all trying to figure out the best way to make everyone feel included and this is a great opportunity for just that."
Send paper invitations.
If your guests are all video chat experts, then you may be tempted to forego a formal invitation, but the better option is to send both a printed and a digital invite. "If Great-aunt Marge is not internet savvy, she may need to be looped in for the shower with assistance from another family member and the digital invitation will end up being useless," says Venditto. A hard-copy invitation also serves as a sentimental keepsake for you and your guests. "Do not diminish your dream of beautiful stationery because it is a virtual party," says Meyer. "Since the event is virtual you can make a case to send super-personal invites that are thoughtful and unique, as it may be the only real item they get, so go big on it!"
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 most every celebration in life, and should be the same at a virtual event," says Meyer. "If all guests are local then dropping off a homemade picnic basket or box of foods can be a fun way to connect 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 favorites—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," says Venditto. "She's still honoring her tradition and everyone will appreciate that! This also helps things feel a bit more normal for Aunt Sally."
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!" says Venditto. "They are a great way to keep things moving, lively and everyone participating." Send out virtual Bingo cards to use while the guest of honor is opening 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 then you can encourage guests to each create or come up with creative virtual backdrops, and make it a competition with different categories," says Meyer. If your guests aren't all creative types, keep it simple with a basic theme. "Encouraging a color theme is a great way to get guests involved and to encourage them to dress up," says Venditto. "We are all living in sweatpants and t-shirts so a chance to wear a specific color palette and put on makeup is always welcomed. Sticking with a color scheme for everyone to wear is an easy and festive way to make everyone feel included."