Your personal guide to planning a virtual bridal shower in the middle of a pandemic…
You know the saying “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”? I have always felt the EXACT opposite of that saying.😂 I’ve wanted to be a bridesmaid forever! I just never had my chance.
But finally… in the middle of a pandemic… my sister decided to find “the one”!
Needless to say, my original plans of throwing a spectacular bridal shower were thwarted by the pandemic… or so I thought. It turns out that with a little innovation and willingness to get creative, you CAN have a pretty elegant, thoughtful, and detailed shower that still follows all of the current Covid-19 guidelines and recommendations.
I had a couple months to plan a shower along with a couple other bridesmaids, and there were some details that made this endeavor a little trickier as well.
Besides the current CDC guidelines to decrease spread of the coronavirus, my soon to be brother-in-law is an expat from Ireland. So his entire family resides in Ireland.
And so how exactly can someone pull off a bridal shower that feels inclusive of all guests when there is an in-person limit of 10, half of the guests live across an ocean, and the other few are scattered across the country tuning in virtually? Well I’ll tell you!
In-Person and Virtual Guests in one photo!
Create an Inclusive and Involved Bridal Shower for Virtual Guests
I knew from the start that there would need to be a virtual component, so I went ahead and purchased a zoom business plan. I signed up for monthly billing and set a reminder on my phone to remind me to cancel the plan after the shower.
Zoom cost = $14.99
From there, it was really important to me to be sure that the virtual guests felt like they were celebrating right along with the in-person guests.
***An important step BEFORE ordering the invitations to is SCHEDULE the zoom meeting!*** You’ll want your passcode and meeting ID ready well ahead of time so that you can type it onto invitations.
Order TWO Invitations
Okay, okay. Hear me out. I started with trying to order just one set and realized that there was a very high chance of confusing information (especially for the less IT-literate bunch of the older generation receiving these) so two different invitations became a necessity… and I have no regrets!
I created an IN PERSON invitation which included:
Time and location of event
RSVP contact (with a strong urging of how important an RSVP is when the capacity is limited to ten!)
Optional Zoom login in case they couldn’t attend in person
My “Midwest Nice” version of RSVP OR ELSE
And a VIRTUAL invitation:
Time of event including different time zones
Detailed login instructions with MULTIPLE methods of logging on. ( This included the typed out URL, the meeting code, the password, and Dial-In numbers in case anyone couldn’t figure out their computers)
Gift registry and an additional card stating “If you would like to watch your gift be opened day-of, please send to this bridesmaid’s address” (and then she brought the gifts to be opened)
Assemble Bridal Shower Boxes for Virtual Attendees
I decided to make “Bridal Shower in a Box” kits for each virtual guest. I began by heading to my second home on the internet (Amazon) and started to search to fulfill the idea I had brewing. I found boxes that met the perfect measurement for what I needed.
Inside of the boxes I put:
Decorative and functional paper shred confetti
Plastic glitter champagne glasses
Paper VIRTUAL invitation
Paper recipe card for the themed drink
Instructions for logging on
Instructions for sending gifts to be opened the day-of
A bridal shower game of “Guess Him or Her”
An “Advice to the Bride” card with an envelope to mail back
And now for the actual party part. Our venue was a condo clubhouse because it had smart TV capabilities for zoom. I ordered decorations (again, Amazon of course) and planned around the virtual elements.
For decorations, I kept it simple with a banner for under the TV, some tulle for chairs, and then made it “special” for virtual gift opening by putting up a backdrop. (linked here)
We then had the food catered to serve 10 guests, had the ingredients for the bridal themed drink, the same champagne glasses, and some of my favorite local cupcakes.
Tying the two versions of guests together with details like a common themed drink seemed to set the party apart and make it feel special for each attendee.
Since my sister is marrying into an Irish family, the bridal shower drink was called Irish Gold (found on Spruce Eats) and was a mixture of orange juice, peach liquor, Irish whiskey, and ginger ale.
Celebrating at the shower!
And Prepare for IT Issues
It’s inevitable that something will happen with IT. As long as you remember to roll with the punches, you can almost always figure it out. I would recommend having a short list of the virtual guest’s e-mail addresses on hand in case you need to send an update fast (like if the password suddenly decides to not work…)
I would also recommend having one person in charge of the virtual connection and facilitation at the in-person event. Between noise issues or needing to adjust angles, it’s kind of a labor-intensive job.
The best way to look at it– getting over these IT issues with a shower is great practice before the big day which will also have a virtual element! I’d much rather have hiccups for a small gathering than during the actual wedding.
The Final Breakdown
Last but not least (in fact the most commonly asked question…) is “What did it all cost?”
There were a few variables such as custom cookies or local cupcakes that sent the budget a bit higher, but overall, it was a fairly affordable party!
Shipping Boxes: $44
Paper shred confetti: $26
Plastic glitter champagne glasses: $20
Invitations, instructions, recipe card: $75
Bridal shower game of “Guess Him or Her”: $13
“Advice to the Bride” Cards: $13
Shipping PER BOX: $5/box
International Shipping per box: $28/box
Total cost: $367.99 (for 28 guests, 18 virtual, 10 in-person)