Well, it was Zoom, but I’m keeping up with the alliterative titles!
By November, Jess was starting to get quite upset. She missed her family and friends, and all of the occasions where we would all usually meet up, had to be cancelled due to the lock-down. And by now, it was becoming apparent that she was also not going to be able to have a baby shower.
Throughout lock-down, I had heard of people using Zoom for online conferences and meetings, and its popularity had exploded due to people not being able to meet up in person. So, I suggested to Jess that we organise a virtual one. And that’s what we did.
We found a day that was accommodating for our guests, and sent out invitations. We even invited Jess‘s family that live at the other end of the country, and fortunately, everyone was able to attend. We probably had more guests than we would have done in real life!
After the date was set, I told Jess to let me handle it, and that she should not worry about it. Now obviously, I had never organised a baby shower before, or even attended one, so I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. So I done some research to find out what usually happens, and also looked into ideas that I could do in a virtual situation. I didn’t want the call to be a quick chat with a few people, some not even knowing each other, other than Jess. I wanted to pad it out and make it last a little while, keeping everyone entertained in the mean time.
I created a PowerPoint, with the intention of sharing my screen, to give the call a flow. And my research gave me some ideas on games and content I could use to fill out the time. So, I started with some questions asking how well the guests knew Jess, and asked for their predictions on date, time and weight for Matilda’s arrival. Then a few ‘matching’ games, where the guests had to match the animal to their offspring and the celebrity to their children.
For another game, I had to scour the internet for baby photos of all of the guests. The challenge was to match the baby to the guest. Now, some of the guests hadn’t met some of the others before, so I also had to put pictures of the guests as they look now around the screen, because, while I was sharing my screen, the view of other guests was limited.
And finally, I created a game of baby themed Pictionary, where the guests could draw on the screen for the other guests to guess their baby related word. This could go on indefinitely, so if the call was running short, I could pad it out a bit that way.
Once the call was planned out with games and what not, I had to figure out how to use zoom. I had never used it before, and wanted to know that half of the things I was planning was possible. So, I used my work laptop, my personal laptop and my phone and created a virtual meeting with myself to see how everything would look and work. I managed to figure it all out, and everything was good to go.
We created little goody bags that I could deliver to the guests (those close enough for delivery) on the morning of the call. These included prediction cards, popcorn saying “Ready to Pop”, and a baby themed cupcake, so the guests could feel as much a part of the call as possible
We also had a last minute idea, that I could ask the guests to write a small message in a book that we had got for Matilda. This would replace a guest book that would usually get filled with messages of support at a real baby shower, and ended up being a great little keepsake with messages from our loved ones.
The day came for the call, I made my deliveries on the morning, before starting at 2pm. It was a great success. Jess got to see lots of her family and friends the she had been unable to see for so long, and everyone had a great time. I managed to make the call last about 2 hours, and we have a record of everyone’s predictions and quiz results to look back on in future.