Baby / Bridal Shower etiquette

N-etiquette rose

One of the most exciting things about the internet is the ability to maintain close relationships with family and friends who live at a distance.   As internet parties prove - you can do "Virtually" anything together that you would normally do if you lived closer. <G>

by  N-etiquette.com

A baby or a bridal shower can be easily held over the internet.  Keep in mind that showers are, by their very nature, informal.

Plan your shower so that games and communication is easily done by those unfamiliar with the use of a computer.  Many of your older attendees will have no computer experience other than simple email.

THEME:  You may choose a theme for an internet baby or bridal shower the same way that you would for the traditional type of shower.

PLACE & DECORATIONS:  Most free instant messenger service providers, such as Yahoo! or AOL have conference capability that may be used for a shower.  If you have a website, the best solution is to place a simple Chat page on your website.  This can be decorated ahead of time with photos or games and cyber-food.  This adds a lot to the party atmosphere. 

One of the first to host cyber parties of all kinds, AnyFrontPage Bytes (an ezine) had a great couple of examples of cyber-parties, an AnyFrontPage Birthday Party and an MVP Honoring Party .  The screen-shots at McColl-Name.com will give you an idea of the types of decoration possible on a chat page.  This particular chat room was created for a book signing party.  Real-time personalized autographs on a specially designed bookplate could be downloaded by atendees. There are many free services available for IM or conference but you may also hire professionals to host it for you. Some companies, like WebHicks.net will provide decorations, chat room, recipes for fun and food,  games and even moderators for the event to help keep the party fun.  (Moderators can also be helpful to PC newbies, giving clear instructions for using the chat feature while the party host can stay focused on the important job of celebrating the guest of honor's big event)

TIME:  Plan your time carefully with respect to the time zones involved for those invited.    There are many International Clocks available on the 'net to help with this.  One example is the Time Zone Clocks at the bottom of  this page.

GIFTS: May be snailmailed or gift certificates may be purchased online and presented at the party.  Online gift registries are sometimes the best option if planning a wedding shower as the database of chosen items is updated to show what has already been purchased.   This eliminates the duplication of items. 

INVITATIONS: Invitations should be sent by email. 

Be clear that this will be an internet party. 

Schedule invitations to go out no later than 3 weeks before the party in order to enable the invitee to snailmail their gift to you in time. 

Include BOTH addresses - The place where the virtual party will be, as well as the address that packaged gifts should be mailed to.

Include SPECIFIC time and date information for all time zones involved.

MISCELLANEOUS:

A simple webcam may be set up so that all attendees may watch the guest of honor opening gifts.

Many IM's (Instant Messenger, as in Yahoo! or AOL) have Voice enabled, so that you can actually hear and talk using your pc microphone.  It is still best to type, however, for a couple of reasons.  Many will have difficulty following the audible portions due to the limitations of their computers or disabilities.  The 'Saved Chat' printed out is a marvelous addition to the honoree's scrapbook as well as a great aid in writing thank you notes.

GAMES AND PRIZES: are an essential part of showers.  They are generally used as ice-breakers.  It is quite possible that everyone will be having such a gay time that none will be needed but a wise hostess is always prepared with a couple of simple games in case.  Be courteous to your guests.  If there are a few who do not have much internet experience, keep it very simple.  Do not expect inexperienced attendees to have an equal chance to throw up multiple browsers to go on a scavenger hunt and then find their way back to the party before it is over.  If you are having your party in a chat room that you can decorate, the games themselves can be listed right on the Chat Room Page and the prize can be downloaded from the page itself ( a Party Hat to be printed out, a Bookmark designed for the occasion, a photo that would be meaningful to all).  If you are using an IM, the prize may be uploaded as well, or you may email it.  Again, please practice this prior to your party.

BE PREPARED:  If you have not held a shower online before, plan a mock shower date with a couple of good friends and use it as a test run.  Save your (mock shower) chat and go over it for any items that it is possible could have run more smoothly.  Type out instructions for these items in Word or in Notepad and Save.  When you actually have your shower, you can copy and paste these instructions as needed rather than waste your party time typing.  The same can be done for instructions for games.

Have a good time!!!!

Engagement parties are not easily adaptable to the Internet, but it can be done.  Generally small, intimate affairs, they are given / hosted by someone who is in a position to make the announcement of the engagement. It is considered an honor to give such and when possible, it should be given by the bride's parents.  Engagement parties are more formal and subdued than other festivities and generally do not include games.  Simpler or more restrained decorations in the chat room are important.  It is also important to have an actual announcement as opposed to simply listing the engagement on the Chat Wall.  Toasts can be pre-arranged and placed in pop-up windows at the proper time.  This would also enable them to be printed out for the Bridal Scrapbook.

Guests may be family or close friends or anyone who might be reasonably expected to be affected by the engagement. For most of us, that would mean very close family and friends for the guest list.  The only two guests that MUST be there are the newly engaged couple. Both of you must attend.

No gifts are given at an engagement party. It is presumed that no one knows why the party is being given prior to attendance. After all, the announcement  is yet to be made.<G>

Engagement gifts are traditionally given only to the bride on a one-to-one basis by close family and friends. The gifts are associated with the Engagement and not the Engagement Party.

See Also:

Baby  or Bridal Shower  Etiquette Internet Forum Etiquette
Birthday Party Etiquette Internet List / Group Etiquette
Business Etiquette Other Opinions
Cemetery Etiquette Personal Etiquette
E-mail Etiquette Website Etiquette

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