A bridal shower is a much-anticipated pre-wedding event for brides, where she gathers with her bridal party and closest female friends and family members to celebrate her upcoming wedding. Tamer than a bachelorette party, many bridal showers take place during the day (some over a long weekend) and involve light drinking, eating, and sometimes a spa day or other fun event, like shopping.
The bridal shower that we know today originated in Holland in the 16th Century, an offset of the dowry system, where the family of the bride had to pay her husband to marry her. For poor brides, who couldn’t afford to marry, friends and sometimes distant family members would chip in and pay for her dowry.
Today, at least in Western society, bridal showers serve a broader purpose. Marriage usually changes the dynamics of friendships and familial relationships, so bridal showers are a great way for her friends and family to spend more time with the bride before her priorities shift towards her husband and their family. Proving that old traditions die hard, brides today are still often showered with expensive gifts or cash that can enhance or contribute to her wedding day.
Unfortunately, the social landscape is looking a little different right now, due to social distancing guidelines. Many brides aren’t comfortable throwing large, lavish gatherings while Covid-19 ravishes our world, without a vaccine in sight. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to mean that they don’t get to have their bridal shower, they just have to get creative and throw a virtual bridal shower. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide on how to have an online bridal shower.
What is a Virtual Bridal Shower
A virtual bridal shower is simply a bridal shower that takes place online. Coronavirus is a great excuse to move the festivities into a digital space, but virtual bridal showers didn’t crop up only this year – brides have been going virtual for years.
Thankfully, it’s super easy and convenient to throw a virtual baby shower. While you’ll have to forgo or modify some of the group activities, it’s still possible to have a fun bridal shower online.
Why should you throw a bridal shower?
The main reasons that brides went virtual, before 2020, were because of distance and expenses. If a bride had a wedding party that was spread out over the country, they’d have to incur an expense to fly once the wedding date arrived. It might have been too much to also ask them to come out of pocket to travel to their wedding shower, so the bride just decided to go virtual. This allowed her friends and family to still get in an extra celebration before her big day, without putting more of a financial strain on them.
Right now, limiting the spread of Covid-19 is also an excellent case for any bride who’s considering having an in-person bridal shower.
What to do if you’re not Tech Savvy
When throwing a virtual bridal showr, it’s crucial that the person in charge knows the in’s and out’s of any platforms they’ll use to facilitate it. The last thing you want is for your video to be cut out or your audio to stop working in the middle of your festivities.
It will already be a little bit harder to keep everyone’s energy up over video chat, so you don’t want anything to bring down the mood. Therefore, it’s important for the host to do a test run before the actual shower to make sure everything will run smoothly. Stick to platforms you’re already familiar with using and make sure that all of the attendees also know how they work.
How to host a Virtual Bridal Shower
The excitement of a wedding makes planning things like a bridal shower a lot of fun, but don’t be fooled the prep stage is mandatory! The only way that the bridal shower will be successful is if everyone involved is informed of the itinerary and able to coordinate, in advance.
Key things to plan in advance-
The Date of the Bridal Shower:
Choose a date when the majority of the group will be able to give the event their full attention. An online bridal shower might not last quite as long as an in-person one, but attendees should at least have a few hours to set aside for it.
Video Chat App:
Make sure it’s easy to use, easy to access, and also make sure you’re prepared to pay whatever fee may come with it (though there are free options). Zoom calls, for example, are only free for the first 40 minutes. After that, there is a fee. You don’t want to run into any hiccups during the bridal shower, so make note of details like this during this phase.
Bridal Registry :
Many brides will want to open her gifts on camera, during the bridal shower, so it’s important that her guests know what store she’s registered at, in plenty of time.
Make sure to send invitations to each person that the bride wants at her bridal shower. This usually will include every member of her wedding party and certain women from her and the groom’s families.
Video Platform Options
There are many options available to host the video chat over. Each comes with pros and cons. Here’s a little bit of information about the most popular ones:
Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity since the pandemic set in, but it’s not just for people working from home. It’s also a great option for bridal showers if you’re willing to pay. The free users can only chat with up to 100 people for 40 minutes. After that, you have to pay. That aside, Zoom allows users to set virtual backgrounds, which might be fun for guests.
Skype is a tried and true video chat platform that has been around for years. Most people are already familiar with it and probably have an account. Skype is also free to use, though you should know it only allows 50 participants at a time.
Facebook is also free to use. There’s no limit on participants, but there’s no link for you to share, so everyone will just have to jump on at the same time. It’s not the best choice if you want to keep the event private, because Facebook uploads the video to your timeline once the session ends.
How to set up the Registry
Some brides might just let their bridal party freestyle their gifts, but for those who want a registry, there are many options out there!
5 Registry Suggestions:
The Knot is a universal registry that lets you add literally any item to your wedding registry from any site. It also lets you create cash funds for everything you can imagine. From puppy adoption to honeymoon contributions, and more. The transaction fee is only 2.5 percent – one of the lowest in the industry.
My Registry allows you to add items from any of your favorite stores. You can add a gift fund for travel experiences and also manage your list with your smartphone.
Williams Sonoma allows you to add gifts from Pottery Barn and West Elm. You can make a free, private appointment with one of their registry specialists to get one-on-one guidance. You can also get free gifts and 10% off for six months!
Amazon is, naturally, one of the most-used registries in the world. Any of its millions of items can be added to the list. Plus, there are some pretty sweet perks too! The bride and guests can both earn up to 5% when using the Amazon Prime Store Card. There are also options for group gifting, gift financing, and more!
Wayfair lets brides save 20% for six months on anything that’s still available on the registry. Brides can also receive free gifts when guests purchase qualifying products. There’s also an option to send thank you notes.
An online platform for having a virtual shower on such as WebBabyShower makes it easy by allowing users to link to registries like Amazon and Target.
When thinking of gifts for a bridal shower, think of things that will bring the bride comfort. Soft plush robes, bed linens, and scented candles will always be a great option. You can also purchase things that will help to populate her home with her spouse, such as dinnerware, picture frames, and vases. Books and chocolates, which the bride enjoys, are also great gifts. Note: some gifts, such as gag gifts, might not go over as well with a virtual bridal shower.
Invitations are usually a focal point of the planning stage, but the bride may not feel like she needs elaborate, paper invitations for an online bridal shower. Even if she opts for electronic invitations, they should still be formal and relay the tone of the shower (unless it’s informal). A few services that can be used are Evite, Paperless Post, and Canva. Within the invite, be sure to include a link to the bridal shower registry. Platforms such as WebBabyShower have a built-in invitation system.
By the time it’s time to plan the bridal shower, everything for the wedding ceremony should already be set up. To save time, you can match your bridal shower theme to your wedding theme.
Or, you can come up with something else entirely. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from the seasons. For example, during Fall you can incorporate lots of oranges, and reds into your decor. Or, you can base the theme on one of the bride’s hobbies, such as traveling.
Attire might not be quite as important at a virtual bridal shower, but the bride can still dress up if she chooses. The Knot compiled a list of styles that are popular among brides of today.
Many brides opt to have everyone eat the same foods at the same time to create a sense of togetherness. Things like cupcakes, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and wine are easy items that every guest will be able to acquire, prior to the shower.
If you have specific food items, like a special cookie with the bride and groom’s initials, then you should make arrangements to have them delivered within a day of the bridal shower.
Games will be a big focal point of a virtual bridal shower. The point of the gathering is for the bride and the attendees to have fun, and having the shower online shouldn’t cut into that. Be sure to set aside an hour or two just for the games portion.
As for the games, there are a ton of free trivia games that can be played over a video chat. You can also make a game out of trying to find out who knows the bride the best! Make sure to form this game around questions about her upbringing, college days and the dating stage between her and her groom – just keep the questions PG. Gift Bingo is also a fun option!
On The Day Of The Bridal Shower
On the morning of the bridal shower, you can decorate the bride’s background with flowers and garland – or anything to make things feel extra festive. The guests can also decorate their own backgrounds, but if things are supposed to be coordinated, make sure their decor was sent to them ahead of time.
Next, you should set up the video chat and make sure it’s working properly.
A couple of hours before, ping the guests to remind them to check their own tech. You should also take this time to prepare any food on the bride’s end that will be involved in the big day. The guests are responsible for preparing their own food.
Once the bridal shower kicks off, make sure that the guests are aware of the itinerary. Every bridal shower will include different activities and run at different schedules. Just make sure everyone knows the plan.
When it’s time to eat, make sure that everyone has options within their own space. If someone forgot or wasn’t able to get the group food, let them eat what they have on hand. What matters most is that everyone is eating together. You can lightly scold them later for not being prepared, but don’t embarrass them in front of the group – or the bride.
If you’ve scheduled a group activity, like a virtual spa day, then make sure everyone knows that, while generally safe, anything broadcast online can be intercepted – so they may not be able to get as comfortable as they would, if they were relaxing in loungewear in someone’s home or hotel room.
When it’s time for games, make sure that someone is tasked with keeping score and keeping the game rolling at an acceptable pace.
If the bridal shower is to have a movie night, make sure everyone knows which platform you’re going to stream from so that everyone can sync up.
The end of the bridal shower is the time for gifts. If the bride is comfortable, this will be the time when she opens her gifts on camera. It might seem like a small aspect, but her guests being able to see her face as she opens the gifts they bought her will mean a ton!
Afterward, the bride will probably give a sappy speech and thank everyone for gathering with her. Even if it’s not sappy, she should thank them for taking the time out of their schedule to celebrate her big day.
Next up, the wedding!