How to Throw a Socially Distanced, Yet Memorable Walk-By Baby Shower
September 29, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted several milestone celebrations, including baby showers. But many expectant couples have chosen to get creative around how to celebrate with loved ones—and the past few months have seen an uptick in drive-by and walk-by baby showers.
While these showers can be a great way to celebrate the pregnancy in a socially distant and safe manner, there are some key things to keep in mind while planning. Here, bi-coastal event planners Amber and Emily of Karson Butler Events—who recently threw a walk-by shower for their baby sister, Jewel—offer their tips on how loved ones on how to throw a safe shower that both mom-to-be and her guests will remember for years.
Communication is necessary for planning any event, but for a baby shower that’s planned with strict safety protocols, it’s even more important. “Setting expectations was important to us. We wanted guests to know how serious we were taking safety, what they could (and could not) expect,” Amber tells The Bump of her sister’s walk-by shower. “Careful wording reiterated important logistics (where to park, their assigned time window, etc.) and set the tone that this was not an outdoor cocktail party but rather a walk-by event.”
Some of the requirements they asked of their guests included wearing a mask and starting six feet away from anyone outside of their household, staying home and watching virtually for anyone who felt sick and offering grab and go snacks to limit lingering and exposure.
Another key part of the planning process, Amber shares was getting organized. “Having contact info and organized spreadsheets on who came when is important as a host,” she says. “We never had to reference it, but having this level of organization matters.”
Snacks and food can be a really great part of any baby shower, with themed cookies, finger foods, stations and more. However, during a pandemic, food stations can also be possible points of exposure for guests and hosts alike. To work around this, for Jewel’s shower, Emily and Amber removed all things self-serve and hired attendants to help guests.
“The ‘She’s Going to POPsicle’ station was a hit on a warm day. We had fun flavors like pineapple chili lime that were designated on a colorful balloon garland. The ‘Bun In The Oven’ hot dog station had a dedicated station attendant helping guests build delicious creations,” Emily shares. They also opted not to serve alcoholic beverages to enforce safety. “This initially didn’t feel right as a hostess, but was an easy decision when thinking about safety first.”
Having a smaller guest list is key to adhering to the safety standards. For Jewel’s shower, Amber and Emily kept it to close friends and family and divided the guest list into four timed windows. This kept guests from lingering and limited risks of exposure. “Get creative and clearly define safe spaces for your guests. We hired a chalk artist to create floral markers 6’ apart to designate where guests could safely stand,” Emily says, adding that Jewel and her partner, Chad, were set up on their porch throughout the event to maintain a safe distance.
As the weather cools Amber also recommends keeping celebrations short and sweet. Not only is this important for safety, but it also takes into consideration guest comfort during outdoor events. She recommends offering guests warm cookies and cider or hot chocolate in to-go cups as temperatures cool.
While a walk-by shower is a great way to share, some things, such as opening presents, are harder to do with guests from a safe distance. To work around this, Amber and Emily had Jewel and Chad open presents in their backyard later that day and sent a Zoom invite to guests so they could join in.
“Providing a virtual option allowed out of town friends and family to attend and provided a clear back-up for guests who may not have felt comfortable attending an in-person event,” Emily explains. “Always have a virtual component. Not only will it make any last minute reductions in state guidelines easy to solve for, but it’s also key for cooler months when outdoor options are limited. Embrace it!” She adds, however, that to have a successful event, it’s also important for the hosts to be understanding of those who wish to join from home.
Of all the tips Emily and Amber offer, this is perhaps the most important. To prepare for Jewel’s shower, Emily shares she quarantined for 14 days after flying to California from the east coast. Only once she had quarantined did she see any loved ones.
She and Amber also wore masks for the entire event, even while outdoors. If you’re asking guests to adhere to guidelines, it’s important for the hosts to do the same, including wearing masks, Amber says.
While the pandemic has disrupted milestone celebrations as we know them, with communication and creativity, there are still ways to celebrate a mom-to-be in a safe, but significant way.