Throwing a bridal shower for a bride-to-be just got savvier.
Whether her closest girlfriends are around the corner or as far away as another time zone, they no longer have to travel to be physically present. Thanks to technology, guests' attendance at a shower can be as unique as a black wedding dress.
The most convenient ability to include her broad circle of friends is simply by starting one. Google+ allows you to include loved ones through their "Circles" feature. As long as the ladies on her guest list have Google accounts, you, as the hostess, can create a Stream and invite them into a "Hangout", where they're able to see everyone in real time via webcam.
Now that the bride's out-of state BFFs are included in her shower, the fun begins! Just like a traditional shower, you probably already know what theme she'd like. It can be her favorite color or her favorite passion (i.e. coffee, tea, SHOES!).
Invitations can be sent the traditional way via snail mail, or sent quickly through a e-vite that is customized to the theme (although RSVPs are easier done via e-vites, and you can also send reminders). The e-vite should include links to her bridal registries, as well as the link to download Google + Voice and Video Chat:
On the day of the shower, you send Google invitations to the out-of-state friends who are in the Stream, instructing them that they will be connected into the Hangout once they accept (let them know exactly what time to log on, preferably a half hour before the shower's start time).
Position the laptop which will be the "window" for the webcam in front of the bride's chair, and make sure to have a vignette such as a bouquet, or a picture of the couple as a backdrop (think of what's in the background of a television interview). Just make sure it's off to the side and not directly behind the bride-to-be.
Once the guests accept the invitation, everyone will be able to see each other via the webcam!
Although the maximum number to include in a Hangout is ten people (which includes the bride), that makes it twice as much fun if the guests sitting around the bride-to-be is like an audience! Just think of how much fun it will be for the guests who couldn't physically attend see the bride-to-be open the gifts they sent in real time, versus seeing it in a video link afterwards.
Or better yet, how memorable it will be if you are able to surprise her by having her closest friends in attendance, who all happen to be far away!