A baby shower serves as a special gathering to celebrate mom-to-be with her closest friends and family before her family grows by one.
There are a handful of things to consider during the planning process. Most baby showers take place sometime during the end of a pregnancy which is certainly, a hectic time for the guest of honor who is busy getting ready for her newest addition.
You can make the planning process simple by creating a checklist and staying organized before the special day.
Select a date and time. Consult with the guest of honor to choose a date and time for her party. Most baby showers are held when the expectant mom is about seven months pregnant; she’s well into her pregnancy by then, but she’s probably still pretty comfortable. This time frame will also give her plenty of time to organize gifts after the shower and decide what she’ll still need to purchase before the little one arrives.
Determine the guest list and budget. Once the mother-to-be has given you the complete guest list (be sure she gives you emails or addresses, too), come up with your budget. This will guide your selection of a venue and food services.
Choose a venue. Consider the time of year, number of guests, and budget. Hosting a shower in your backyard or living room is intimate, and you won’t have to pay a fee to reserve the space. If the guest list is large, or you have a bigger budget, consider a nearby hotel or restaurant. “The setup, catering, and cleanup will be managed by their staff, so the host can sit and enjoy the event,” says celebrity party planner Mindy Weiss. Parks can be a good option if you’re hosting a shower in summer or fall—just ask your local parks department whether you need a permit, and make sure to have a backup plan in case it rains.
Send the invitations. Guests should receive their invites about six weeks before the shower. “That way they’ll have plenty of time to reserve the date, RSVP, shop for gifts, and find a babysitter if need be,” Weiss explains. For a casual shower, an email invitation is perfectly fine. If you’re hosting a more formal shower, go with a paper invite.
Plan the menu and decor. When planning a baby shower, nail down these details about three weeks before the shower. Purchase decorations that aren’t perishable (wait until the day before to buy flowers, for example), and make or buy place cards. Finalize the menu to mesh with the guest of honor’s tastes. If she’s craving comfort food, try mini sliders, mini fried chicken, small bowls of potato salad, and mini cupcakes.
Come up with an agenda. Next up is planning a baby shower timeline. Most showers include games, gift opening, eating, and drinking. The key is organizing these activities to create a fun flow that keeps guests entertained and engaged. Give guests 15 to 20 minutes to arrive and offer drinks to people as they come through the door. Once everyone is there, start an activity. You might want to set up a body- suit designing station, for example, or have guests add photos and thoughts to a scrapbook for the guest of honor. Serve food while gifts are being opened, followed by dessert and coffee.
Pick a theme. A parting gift is a simple way to thank your guests for attending, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant, Hill says. One approach is to stick to your theme; for example, give iTunes gift cards for a musical theme, and give take-home bags of candy or homemade chocolates for a sugar and spice theme.