Baby / Bridal Shower etiquette
|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>|
A birthday party can be easily held over the internet. Keep in mind that internet parties are informal. An internet birthday party must only include family and very close friends.
Plan your birthday party 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 pc experience other than simple email.
PLACE & DECORATIONS: Most free instant messenger service providers, such as Yahoo! or AOL have conference capability that may be used for a birthday party. 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) has a couple of examples of cyber-parties at AnyFrontPage Birthday Party and MVP Honoring Party . The screen-shots will give you an idea of the types of decoration possible on a chat page. There are many free services available for IM or conference but you may also hire professionals to host it for you. Some companies, like AnyFrontPage.com or Dynamite-iT.com 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.
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.
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 may be 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 party online before, plan a mock party date with a couple of good friends and use it as a test run. Save your (mock birthday party) 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!!!!
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