How to Host a Virtual Sip and See Party to Safely Celebrate Baby
Maybe you heralded baby’s coming arrival with a baby shower—or maybe you decided to skip it. Either way, when your little one actually makes their entrance, it’s a whole new cause for celebration. One popular way to introduce family and friends to your child is with a sip and see party, an open-house style gathering where loved ones can come by to see the new baby and sip on some refreshments. But with the world still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person event may not be in the cards. Good news: A virtual sip and see is still a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of your child! Here, our top tips for hosting the perfect party.
Traditionally, a sip and see party is often held a few months after baby is born, in order to let the newly minted parents settle into life with baby. It’s also a good idea to keep the number of in-person visitors limited around a newborn. But with a virtual sip and see, you don’t have to worry about having too many guests (and their germs) around your infant! Plus, with people joining remotely, you don’t have to exhaust yourself preparing hors d’oeuvres and drinks. While you still want to give yourself a few weeks to recover from childbirth, bond with your newborn and learn the parenting ropes a bit, you can throw a virtual sip and see much sooner than you otherwise would have.
A sip and see party is typically hosted by the new parents (after all, you’re the ones eager to show off your child!). But don’t hesitate to tap a co-host to help keep your virtual event flowing smoothly. Whether it’s your partner, a family member or friend, it’ll be useful to have someone prepped and ready to jump in if baby gets fussy or needs to be fed and you have to step away from the screen for a minute. Your co-host can lead a game or two (see below) while you’re focused on caring for baby.
To host a virtual sip and see with a larger group of people, video chat apps like Zoom and Google Meet work best. Both offer free options that guests can easily access and can accommodate up to 100 people. Zoom is probably the most widely used, but each has their own pros and cons. With the free version of Google Meet, there is a time limit of one hour, while the free version of Zoom will limit the event to 40 minutes. Google Meet events can be added directly to a Google calendar, so you won’t have to worry about any late arrivals! If you opt for Zoom, guests can use an exciting background (see below).
Rather than sending printed invitations, you can keep things virtual and send evites, either through the video chat app of your choosing, a service like Paperless Post or simply your own email. The invites should include details such as the date, start and end times, a link to the virtual event and clear instructions for how to join (especially for older, less tech-savvy family members), as well as an RSVP date. If you’d like to stagger visits throughout the virtual sip and see, you can include some time slots through something as easy as a Google sheet that can serve as a scheduling tool.
In lieu of traditional sip and see decorations, a custom Zoom background is a fun and easy alternative. The custom background(s) can match a particular party theme or color palette (coordinating baby outfits, anyone?) and can be created for free on sites like Canva.
Some light background music or a special performance can be the perfect addition (and exciting surprise) to your virtual sip and see. Performers like acoustic guitarists, singers and solo musicians are providing their services for online events. Whether they perform classic lullabies or favorite songs of the new parents, the entertainment will make for an extra special experience for you and your guests alike.
After all, it is a “sip” and see! Choose a cocktail (or mocktail option) that goes with the party theme and suggest that guests prepare their drink beforehand so you can all sip together. Emailing attendees a simple cocktail recipe that uses just a few common kitchen staples is a nice touch. Want to go the extra mile? Since you won’t have to prepare any refreshments yourself, you can send a small care package to your guests with the ingredients or include a mini bottle of wine or champagne.
Playing a virtual sip and see game is of course by no means mandatory, but other than having everyone oggle your newborn, having some structure to the online event will keep guests engaged and the event moving along. Perhaps you organize a Mommy or Daddy Quiz (Who sings better lullabies? Who did baby spit up on first?), or a Facts About Baby challenge (What time was baby born? How many pounds has baby gained so far?). Players can either chime in with their answers over the call, or you can prepare activity sheets in advance and email them to guests in advance.
As it gets closer to the sip and see date, follow up with guests who have RSVP’d to share the cocktail recipe, custom Zoom backgrounds and any activity sheets so everyone will feel involved. This will serve as a gentle event reminder, plus get guests excited and give them time to work out any tech glitches before the virtual party.
Create a keepsake you can cherish forever! Video chat apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts let you easily record the virtual sip and see. Save the video to your computer, Google drive or flash drive and share with guests after the party has ended. Everyone will enjoy reliving the sweet moments with the new baby.