By Lisa Beth Miller
Let’s be real. We are living in a super-awkward time when it comes to pre-wedding festivities. The COVID-19 virus has most of us pretty much on lockdown with not many options for celebrating the upcoming wedding of a friend. In light of this, I thought I’d walk you through how exactly to plan a virtual bridal shower! Yay!
Local bride Andrea Gillis is in the midst of enjoying her virtual bridal shower as we speak, so I got some fabulous tips and opinions from Andrea and her maid-of-honor, Jessica Swift.
“I had major FOMO on a bridal shower! Between COVID-19 and everyone living all over the nation, a virtual bridal shower just made sense. I was able to invite more people, plus it creates something for people to do virtually since right now everyone is staying home and safe,” explained Andrea.
Soooo, how did Andrea and Jessica mastermind this fabulous event? “Andrea and I live so far apart, her in Maryland and me in Utah, so it makes my maid-of-honor duties a bit more challenging. We tried to plan two parties before; one in Park City, UT and the other at Lake Tahoe in Cali. Both of these ended up flopping because of scheduling issues, so when the Corona virus outbreak began, it made my job even harder! Then one day while Andrea and I were discussing wedding plans she jokingly asked ‘Can’t we just host a virtual bridal shower?’ I thought to myself ‘Why the heck not?’ So, I hopped onto Pinterest to find some inspiration,” said Jessica.
Obviously there are TONS of ideas for bridal showers in terms of games and activities. The trick is to find ones that will match the bride’s interests and personality AND will translate well to the virtual platform.
“So far this year I have already been to two bridal showers, two weddings, and have two more to go! Lucky for me that meant I was already able to see what worked and what didn’t. I just needed to figure out the best way to turn the good into virtual. This was actually a lot easier than I thought thanks to Pinterest! I found one… and only one pin that had a list of platforms you could use to host a shower and a checklist to help you plan it all out. The list was pretty generic so I added my own personal touch to it, like having a virtual “buffet” I guess you could say, where everyone posts their favorite family recipe. I’m going to take those recipes and put together a cookbook for the bride and her new family to enjoy,” Jessica commented.
After picking their platform to host the shower, Jessica needed to figure out what kind of games and activities she could convert to the virtual world. Turns out, it was really not all that difficult. “What do most bridal showers have? Food, games, prizes, mementos, and gifts… pretty simple! We already see how I converted real food into virtual food which, I’m not going to lie, is my favorite idea of this whole bridal shower,” stated Jessica matter -of-factly.
So whats next? Games. The games Jessica and Andrea chose are simple and the answers will definitely be fun to reveal based on both the bride’s and groom’s responses. The guests will have a chance to pick their answers for a chance to win a prize (one gift card per game). “Since this is virtual, Andrea and I picked a date to ‘go live’ where I’ll go over the questions, ask the bride for her answers, and reveal what her groom had to say. At the end of each reveal, a winner will be announced. After the party I’ll contact the winners so I can mail them their prize,” Jessica explained.
One concern that some express regarding virtual events is whether they will seem personal and emotional enough in comparison to an in-person event. With clever planning, however, this issue can be addressed.
“Even though this is a virtual bridal shower, I still wanted to capture the love they share through mementos. That’s why I decided to include a section where guests can leave Andrea and her soon to be husband words of wisdom for a happy marriage and ideas for date nights. Just because you get married doesn’t mean you and your spouse should stop being romantic toward one another, so I thought date night ideas were a great way to keep things fresh for the newlywed couple. Each submission from the guests will be used to create booklets for the couple to use and remember,” said Jessica.
So how should the traditional shower gifts be handled at a virtual bridal shower?
“Last on the list are bridal shower gifts. Andrea and Marty have been blessed with many wonderful things in their life which means they did not really have a need for a registry. Instead of your typical formal silverware and towel sets, the couple only asked for donations towards the wedding. One of the largest expenses for the wedding is the open bar. With that in mind I created a board with details to the couples favorite wineries and stores. I posted links to make it more user friendly and provided Andrea’s contact information for those who wished to help them out,” Jessica explained.
If a couple did choose to create a traditional bridal registry however, that information could also easily be posted and shared at a virtual celebration.
How does one successfully host a virtual bridal shower? For Jessica, that question was pretty simple to answer. Keep the guests engaged! “Instead of posting all of the activities at once, I let the users know that every day or so I would be posting a new activity for everyone to enjoy. I started off with the virtual food, and next we will be moving into the games. I wanted to start with these so that the guests had plenty of time to get their submission in before the ‘go live’ date. After the games and the live event, I plan on posting the words of wisdom and date night ideas to wrap up the whole party with a little love,” said Jessica.
Tempted to try a virtual bridal shower? Definitely give it a try!
“So far the party has being working out seamlessly! With a large range of different age groups who are participating in the shower, I did my best to make this a simple and painless experience for the users. Not only have I received positive feedback from the guests who are participating, but the bride couldn’t be happier. In my book I call that a win!” Jessica concluded.