Friday, May 31, 2013

how to throw a long-distance baby shower

A comment on my house tour post yesterday reminded me that I've been meaning to tell you about an unorthodox baby shower I organized for a dear friend of mine a few months ago!

My dear friend Stephanie is due to have her second baby - a little boy! - in just a few weeks, and when I was pregnant she and her mom organized a lovely shower for me back home in Minnesota. I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate her impending arrival, but I didn't know how to go about it...because she lives in London! (She and her family moved there shortly after her daughter's first birthday.) So, how to honor our guest-of-honor when none of us could actually be with her for a party?

I did some browsing online and couldn't really find exactly what I was looking for, so after a few email exchanges with some of Stephanie's close friends, I came up with an idea: invite Stephanie's nearest and dearest to shower her from afar by asking everyone to send something to her in the mail (or, as the Brits say, "the post") during a specified week so cards and gifts would all arrive around the same time. (I decided asking people to mail something on one specific day was just too tricky to coordinate - this way, people could make it work with their busy schedules). It seemed like a good solution when an in-person party just wasn't feasible, because Stephanie would still have the fun of lots of boxes and surprises to open all at once.

To make it seem a little more celebratory, I decided to send "party-in-a-box" invitations. Since Stephanie lives in England, I chose "afternoon tea" as my theme and used orange and blue as the colors for the boxes, since those would be the colors of the new baby's future nursery. I found some lovely tea party invites from Two Pooch Paperie on Etsy and worked to change the wording to fit my vision for the long-distance shower. I made sure to include very detailed instructions about when and how to mail a card or package but also included contact information in case they had questions.

I then purchased individually-wrapped silk teabags, tiny jars of clotted cream, and small packets of shortbread cookies and wrapped them up with tissue paper and ribbon so each shower guest would have a package of sweet treats to open and savor in Stephanie's honor.

I wanted the shower to be a surprise, but I thought it was important for Stephanie to know what to expect, so a week before the "party" was to begin, I sent the same package to Stephanie along with coordinating thank-you notes and a letter of explanation so she'd be able to see what everyone else had received and know what was coming.

It would have been much better, of course, to open presents and eat cake together, but I loved coming up with a fun solution for how to celebrate a beloved friend even when she's an entire ocean away.

Can't wait for her baby boy to come this month :) Thanks for giving me a much-needed creative outlet for my party-planning obsession, Stephanie!

Stephanie and me in 6th grade orchestra approximately one billion years ago - not my best photo ever, I must admit.


  1. What a wonderful and thoughtful friend! This is the greatest idea, and not only did you organize gifts to arrive to the mother, but you also took the care to send shower gifts to the participants as well. Everyone loves getting packages in the mail so I'm sure this was a delight to everyone involved.

  2. Oh, Courtney, this is such a great idea! I was far from friends and loved ones while pregnant with both of my babies and, especially the first go-round, was so sad that I couldn't enjoy a shower with my nearest and dearest. This must have been so special for your friend! I can only imagine.

  3. This is spectacular. You are so good about sending great packages. Thank you for sharing!

  4. So glad you posted about this! It was such a fun idea - to both help you figure out how to do AND to implement (those shower-gifts-in-a-box were amazingly awesomely fun to receive)! Can't wait to meet that new little boy, too! ;o)

  5. Would it be possible to see what your card said exactly? I love this idea and am going to totally steal it for my sister who is pregnant and moving across the country next week! I'm just wondering about your wording . Thank you!!