Baby Shower Planning (Get Organized!)
Baby showers traditionally were help for the mom-to-be and were attended by women only. As the culture changes, baby showers also change. Now the type of baby shower held only depends on the hosts and honored guests wishes. Baby showers are held at work, can be coed, considered a sprinkle (for the parents who already have a child or children) or even be done via mail for loved ones who have moved or are stationed away from home. Iíve heard of Daddy Showers for the dad-to-be and with men only, Grandma Showers intended on supplying the grandparents with items to keep at their house so they can safely and comfortably care for their grandchild (date-night anyone?).
Usually a close friend or relative hosts the party. Traditionally, it was a ďno-noĒ for the grandmothers-to-be to host the baby shower, but times change. If they want to host the party, let them. If you want to host the party as well, ask if you can share the responsibilities. Since the grandmaís-to-be are usually ecstatic about the new baby, it can be hard to keep them from helping Ė let them! For my baby shower, my aunt, best friend and mother-in-law co-hosted the party. I felt so honored that three special women in my life wanted to host the party!
Donít be afraid to ask the expectant parents their preferences. Their input is important and extremely helpful when planning their baby shower and they can help guide your planning ideas.
Here are some key questions to ask them:
When would you like your baby shower?
A baby shower is generally hosted about two months before the baby is due, but this is flexible. Ask the expectant parents when they are available and what date is best for them. Some cultures do not celebrate until after the baby is born, so be sure to check with the expectant parents during the early planning stages.
Would you like the baby shower to honor both expectant parents?
Coed baby showers are becoming more popular and can add to the fun. Ask the expectant parents if they would prefer a coed baby shower or a more traditional women only shower. Couples baby showers are a great way to celebrate with the family.
Who would you like to invite to your baby shower?
Make sure no one is left behind and ask the guest of honor to provide you a list of people to invite. Ask for names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of family members and close friends. Speak with the mom-to-be about paring down her guest list request if there are budget or capacity constraints.
With available dates from the expectant parent(s), select a date that is also good for you and has a location available. Consider a morning or late afternoon time for the party. Baby showers typically last about 2 to 3 hours, which is usually ample time to socialize, play some games and activities, enjoy some food and open the presents. If the party is longer than three hours, the mom-to-be (as well as the host!) may become too tired to enjoy the party.
The baby shower can be hosted almost anywhere you and the honored guest is comfortable. Usually the hosts or close relativeís home is a good location. Consider the weather and find out if a garden is available Ė a backyard party is always nice.
For larger parties, consider local reception halls, a public park or your church.
Have a decent budget?
∑ A favorite restaurant is a good option if you donít have a lot of time to plan, have a spot in your house or donít want to deal with the clean-up. Ask if they have a private room available for the party and find out about their capacity limits.
∑ And if the budget is really nice, why not host the baby shower at a local day spa for some serious pampering for the mom-to-be and her guests? Everyone will appreciate the relaxing day and non-traditional party. My local favorite in Atwater Village is the dtox day spa: http://www.dtoxdayspa.com. They have a great facility with plenty of parking and really can massage your stress away.
How much money are you comfortable spending? Set your budget at the beginning and use it as a guide for invitations, favors, decorations, food and drinks (donít forget the cake) and games and activities (and prizes).
If you have limited funds, you can still throw a very nice party! There are many low or no-cost options. See the other sections of this guide for a range of options.
Donít be afraid to accept help from the mom-to-beís close relatives or other friends; just donít ask the mom-to-be!
A theme is not required for a baby shower (isnít the baby the theme?) but is does help with the planning! A theme can help guide your choices for the invitation, the location, the favors, the decorations, the food and even the gifts! The theme can be an object, a place or even the chosen colors for the nursery. There are paper supplies and decorations available to match any theme you can think of and some you never did!
The last shower I helped host used a combination theme: we used the colors of the planned nursery and flowers. This really helped us select the appropriate invitations, decorations and food. Best of all, one of the decorations, floral alphabet wall cards, has been framed and is now hanging in the nursery! Bonus decoration and great gift!
Get organized early! This will help you through the entire process, and is essential if you are hosting the party with others.
Use a spreadsheet or word document application such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word to organize the list of attendees. One list, multiple purposes! Each format can be used to list the following
- Contact information
- Address labels
- RSVP checklist
- Name tags
- Gift list
- Thank you note contacts
Donít have a lot of time to make purchases? Purchase baby shower kits. Several companies box up all the needed items in one package and ship it to your door. You use what you want and everything is tied into the theme. You can also use these packages as a great start and add items as you required.
Create a schedule of events prior to the party. This will help you determine when to start the games, bring out the food and move the party along. Allot longer times for eating if you plan on serving lunch.
11:00a.m. Welcome Guests, 30 minutes
11:30a.m. Play Baby Shower Games, 30 minutes
Noon Serve food and eat, 30 Ė 60 minutes
1:00p.m. Open gifts, 30 Ė 60 minutes
Assign someone to be the mom-to-beís personal attendant. This person will make sure the mom-to-be is comfortable (feet up!), bring drinks and food, shield her from and overabundance of tummy rubs (or encourage them) and be her general go to person. Also assign a person to write down the gifts received and who gave them for her.