The birth of any new baby is an event worth celebrating! If you have the opportunity to host a baby shower for an expectant mother, you may be both excited and a little overwhelmed. With a little help, you can pull off a shower that exceeds everyone’s expectations while maintaining your sanity and your budget.
1. Pick the best date. Traditionally, a baby shower is held four to six weeks before the due date; however, a baby shower can also be held after the baby arrives. Evenings and Saturdays usually work the best for guests and for expectant moms. (You don’t want the shower to interfere with traditional working hours or doctor appointments.) Choose the date of the shower in advance and mail the invitations out three weeks before the shower.
2. Consider various locations. While a traditional shower in the home of the host is often very conducive to keeping everyone comfortable, you can consider other alternatives. Weather permitting, you can consider an outdoor shower in your yard, a garden, or even a park. Just make sure that comfortable seating is available for all guests. If you are planning a more intimate party with a smaller guest list, you can consider a restaurant or a country club.
3. Choose a theme to make planning easier. Your theme can be as specific as “ark animals” or “princesses”, or as basic as “yellow and green” or “summer baby”. Choosing a theme will help you organize the details of the party. If the parents have not announced the gender of the baby, you can use gender neutral colors, or decorate with pink AND blue.
4. Find out if the mother-to-be has any dietary restrictions. For example, a lot of pregnant women avoid lunch meat. If she has gestational diabetes she may be avoiding sugar (even natural forms like fruit and honey) and most carbs. Ask her again the week of the shower if she has any new dietary restrictions (as these can change at any point in her pregnancy). She can give you suggestions on a few simple foods she can eat. While you don’t need to cater the entire menu around her restrictions, you will want to make sure you have a snack or two that she can actually eat at her own shower.
5. Plan a menu for the guests that includes a variety of foods. Your menu can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. Flavored popcorn (we have a list of the best flavored popcorn recipes here), veggie platters, fruit kabobs, cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, mini sandwiches, cake pops, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies are just a few of the many options you can serve.
6. Decorate with items the expectant mother can use for the baby. Instead of spending money on decorations that will end up back in the closet, use baby items to decorate! For example, you can create a “cake” out of diapers and ribbon with a stuffed animal on top. You can also attach cute bibs to ribbon and string them up on the wall. Even baby clothes and accessories can be hung on crafty clotheslines and strung up as decor.
For an extra special touch, order a custom banner from a professional that has the baby’s name, the meaning of the name, and/or why the parents chose the name. (If the name has not been announced yet, you can chose one of the mother’s favorite sayings or quotes she hopes will be important to the child.) This banner can add a special decoration at the shower and then be hung up in the nursery.
7. Keep activities simple. If you have a group of chatty guests, you may not need any planned activities; however, having a few simple activities ready can help to fill any downtime. Consider getting input from guests to create a fun book for the mother and/or the baby. For example, pass out blank 4×6 cards and ask guests to write on a prompt. Fun prompt examples include:
- Parenting Advice
- Wishes for Baby (I hope you…)
- Dear Baby, Here are Some Things You Should Know About Your Mom…
- Baby Bucket List
- Name Suggestions
Purchase a photo album with 4×6 openings and put all of the card responses into the book for the mother to take home.
8. Offer gift suggestions when a guest requests ideas. As your prepare to host the shower, ask the expectant mom what she really needs for the baby. Pay close attention to her requests and keep a list handy to use if a guest contacts you for gift ideas. If the mom is registered at a store, you can also offer the registry information. While it is not your job to campaign for gifts for the baby, you can provide helpful suggestions when requested.
9. Provide thank you cards for the mom-to-be. Use the guest list to address thank you note card envelopes for every guest invited. During the shower, take notes while the mom opens the gifts to create a list to write thank you notes. Give the list, addressed envelopes, and matching blank thank you cards to the expectant mom at the end of the shower. This will make it really easy for her to write quick thank you notes and get them in the mail (hopefully before the baby arrives). If you are on a budget, consider scoping out cute thank you note sets at your local dollar store. Or you can even make blank thank you notes yourself.
Just follow the tips above to prepare and execute the perfect baby shower with confidence.
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