Article: A Quick and Easy Guide to Throwing a Great Baby Shower: Howstuffworks
A Quick and Easy Guide to Throwing a Great Baby Shower
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About This Article
Pulling together a baby shower for someone who's getting ready to give birth is stressful enough! Leave the baby shower logistics to us. We've narrowed down 25 tips that are sure to take a load off your mind when planning for that special day. And don't think for one second that you should skip the baby shower routine altogether. Where there's a will, there's a way to have the perfect shower that will suit your honoree and the needs of the community that wants to support your special-pregnant-someone in this new phase in their life.
Make your baby shower plans known as soon as possible since you do not want someone else to surprise her with one. This would be a huge inconvenience for someone who might only half-heartedly want a shower in the first place, right? We will help you take control of the whole affair early on so there will be no doubt among the villagers that you've volunteered to take the reins and plan this shower your way.
If the idea of amassing a mound of cutesy gifts might get the expectant mom down or the thought of contacting relatives gives everyone anxiety, we've devised clever ways to help ease those worries too. Let's get started — the baby clock is ticking!
Presenting your baby shower host cheat sheet!
Congrats on being chosen as baby shower host! Be sure that you are clear on the desired baby shower theme, food and gift ideas early on so that you can determine costs and feasibility most effectively. The three things that hosts should aim for to ensure a successful shower are supplying plenty of good food, maintaining a comfortable party space and keeping guests entertained.
Have a decoration scheme in mind.
Decorations communicate that the baby shower is a special occasion, and they offer wonderful backdrops for memorable photos. You needn't pull out all the stops to adorn a modest festive space. Paper decorations, such as streamers and umbrellas, are easy to handle, elegant and inexpensive, plus they're available in an array of colors. Arm yourself with many rolls of tape and get creative. Invest in a lovely flower bouquet, which you can complement with cheaper faux blossoms.
Plan and spend in the most convenient way.
Planning for a baby shower is half the battle, so follow these simple rules for best results. Check prices online before you hit up the stores with an itemized list of supplies. Narrow down the places you need to shop. It's convenient to buy everything that you need — decorations, invitations, etc. — all under one roof. Inquire about a store's return and exchange policies before you make any purchases. You'll want refunds for anything you did not open or use, so be sure to save all of your receipts.
These baby shower invitations cover all bases.
Send baby shower invitations by snail mail or email. Consider including gift registry information on a separate insert, but keep in mind that traditionalists will consider this to be improper. If there is no registry, it's in poor taste to include a list of mommy-to-be must-haves in the invite. Instead, reply with wish list information when asked, once you receive RSVPs. Invitations should hint at the baby shower theme, and they're an opportunity to prompt attendees to inform the host of any food allergies.
Consider a gender-inclusive baby shower.
Though traditionally baby showers have been a time for females to gather and purr over gifts, inspire the males in your life to join in the fun. Planning your event as a dinner rather than a brunch is a good way to encourage male attendance. Invite at least three males, and be sure to diversify the drink selection on a self-service table especially for evening events.
When a baby shower guest list is wanting ...
Not having a gang of folks to invite to the shower is no problem. Reserve a table for invited baby shower guests at a restaurant, but be sure to speak with the staff beforehand to arrange the best place to store gifts. Some places have chefs who, with ample notice, can whip up a nice after-dinner dessert spread for your special occasion. Be sure to gauge the noise level of the establishment before deciding to open gifts, and don't forget to hand out favors as guests leave.
You never know who might show up uninvited.
Invite only close friends and family, but plan for unexpected plus-ones, long lost friends or distant relatives to show up unannounced. Include on your shopping list extra hors d'oeuvres and store them thawed in the fridge. Keep the oven on warm just in case vittles run out. Also purchase extra cutlery, plates and baby shower favors. If unannounced guests bring gifts, be sure they will receive thank-you notes. Take photos of the gifts and email them to the mother-to-be as reminders.
Do these special things for first-time parents.
If this is the first baby for the parents-to-be, they might be clueless about what to expect. As host, if you suspect that this is the case, drop a note in your email invite blasts asking for gift suggestions. Then, if guests ask for gift ideas when they RSVP, you can reply with the final list. Ask guests to email baby advice and encouragement for the new parents-to-be. Read these comments aloud as an activity during the baby shower.
Manage guests who've already been "showered."
Sometimes a mother-to-be is honored with more than one shower. She may experience anxiety about guests feeling obligated to attend more than one such event, so avoid invitation duplication. Hosts are incredibly important in this situation. Consider limiting each shower to a specific category of guests — friends, family, coworkers, etc. Set up a quick tea, an at-work luncheon or an after-church affair without gifts for casual acquaintances. If someone is invited to more than one shower, they should only bring a gift to the first one they attend.
Two's company: Baby ballin' on a budget!
To save money, don't hesitate to combine baby shower festivities for more than one mom-to-be, but no more than two. The two expectant mothers should submit separate invitation lists to the host, who will send off invites that mention only one person as the honoree. When guests RSVP, disclose that the event is to honor two people, but the guest should only bring a gift for one. If a guest brings an extra gift, do this exchange before or after the party so other guests won't feel embarrassed.
Don't get flustered by food options.
Time of day, season, party theme and local traditions should help you narrow down your food menu choices. Serve easy light dishes in the middle of the day, and leave mocktails for sophisticated nighttime gatherings. Master several delicious small-plate food dishes, like sliders or kebabs, and pair them with a seasonal salad. Serve something suitable for those with special dietary needs. Take advantage of food visuals while you're at it — head to the discount store for color-coordinated dishware and serving utensils.
Explore creative dessert opportunities.
Attractive sweets are a must for any baby shower. Since making perfect desserts can be risky and stressful, save yourself the fuss and leave the desserts to the professionals. Cupcakes or macarons are always safe choices. Order assorted flavors to offer your guests options. And be sure to prepare an optional effortless fruit salad; allow it to chill in the fridge prior to the festivities.
Get a grip on baby shower gifting etiquette.
It's customary for those who attend a baby shower to come bearing gifts. Be sure to open gifts from everyone — those who are present or absent — at the same time during the shower. Alternatively, don't open any gifts until after the shower if there won't be time to open all of them. In either case, assign someone to make a list of gifts and gift-givers, so the parents-to-be will be able to send thank-you notes later. Some people prefer to buy gifts after the baby's birth, so the mother-to-be should keep this in mind when managing the gift registry.
Share simple baby shower gift ideas with guests.
Gift-giving can be just as simple and practical as the baby shower you are planning. Some sensible baby gift ideas include weights to prevent lightweight strollers from tipping over, heat-sensing spoons to detect if food is too hot and stimulating squeaky toys to keep baby occupied. Inform inquisitive guests that they can never go wrong when gifting baby toiletry products, such as diapers, wipes, creams and gels.
Gift registries make baby shower planning simple.
Gift registries are a definite must-do for any baby shower. The honoree gets to select the online or brick-and-mortar store as well as desired gifts. That way, everyone in attendance can rest easy about whether their gift is suitable or not — in terms of cost, quality, etc. Duplicates will be avoided, as registries update shareable lists once an item is purchased. Be aware, though, that some people will not consider the registry when purchasing or crafting gifts, but their gifts should always be accepted with warm thanks.
Encourage group gifting as needed.
The shorter the list of invitees, the easier it will be for you, as host, to manage baby shower logistics. Don't hesitate to mention to associates and acquaintances of the celebrants that you are planning an intimate affair that's to include close relatives and friends only. If concerned well-wishers bring up the gift issue, direct them to the registry and encourage group gifting among work colleagues and church members.
Try baby shower gifting with a purpose.
Your chief mission as baby shower host is to keep the spirit of the party alive. This means discouraging your mom-to-be from nixing any aspect of what is expected during a baby shower, including the pivotal gifting portion of the party. Remind her that the party is a symbolic way for her community to show their support for her and her baby. If the honoree refuses to accept gifts, encourage her to donate the items to charity, but be sure that your gift bearers are aware of this detail.
The best themes accommodate good food and great fun.
Try to choose a theme that offers both food and activity components. A Mexican fiesta theme, for example, promises a variety of easy-to-make food items, like taco teacups or taquitos. A theme-specific activity, such as breaking a pinata filled with baby shower favors, is a definite crowd-pleaser. Small cacti make cute decorations and party favors. Nix questionable cliches, however, such as sombreros. Don't forget to provide subtle theme-appropriate music.
Surprise guests with novel activities.
Fill moments between eating, drinking and gift-opening with an enjoyable activity surprise for your guests, who probably expect a boring affair. You'll find many baby shower game ideas on the internet, like baby bingo. And if you know that your guests won't mind rolling up their sleeves, give them plaster and gauze to help mold a belly cast for the soon-to-be mommy — if she's approved this idea in advance. Once the honoree colorfully paints the dried cast, send photos with thank-you notes.
Keep shower costs high or low ... like a celebrity.
The baby shower host should decide on a big or small budget when choosing a theme. Back in 2008, a baby shower for Google executive Sergey Brin and his wife featured a low-cost-theme, merely asking guests to come playfully dressed as babies in pajamas and diapers. But if you have the coin to go all out while exerting as little effort as possible, be like Serena Williams, who splurged on costumes and extravagant decorations for a well-catered fifties-themed baby shower.
Satisfy the baby shower traditionalist, if you must.
Don't sweat if you're hosting a baby shower for an honoree who demands no less than a traditional ultra-feminine-themed fete. Hit up the fabric store for inexpensive lacy fabrics and base colors that are season-appropriate to cover surfaces in the celebration room. Offer a faux-jeweled tiara, sash or corsage for your honoree to wear. Enhance the feminine theme by tagging willing guests with matching flower clips. Desserts should be catered to match fabrics and florals.
Gender: To reveal or not to reveal!
Here's a cool way to reveal the sex of the baby at the shower! Decorate the party site in all white, and perhaps suggest that guests come dressed in all white. Order an all-white frosted cake from a professional bakery, but ask them to color the cake batter blue (for a boy) or pink (for a girl). The gender reveal happens with a simple slice of the cake. Or opt for an ombre cake pattern if the baby's gender is to remain a secret.
Baby shower favors: Never let guests leave without them.
Set some cash aside in your budget for essential personalized baby shower favors, which are cheaper and a lot easier to get than you might think. These can run between $1.50 and $2.00 on average; bulk purchases reduce costs even further. You'll want to order personalized baby shower favors right after you've decided on your theme and at least two weeks before the big day. Purchase a few extras, just in case. Plenty of online vendors are ready to supply the perfect favors to match your clever theme.
If something can go wrong ...
So you've purchased gorgeous baby shower decorations, guests have RSVP'd, the bakery has delivered beautiful cupcakes, finger foods and dipping sauces are ready to serve ... What could possibly go wrong? Remember that your honoree is preggo, probably very preggo, so always keep emergency numbers at the ready. If her doctor ordered her to take feet-up rest during your party planning phase, have a comfortable spot ready. Many a bedside baby shower has been pulled off with much success.
Master the art of "thank you."
The way you show your thanks is just as important as the words you express, so the host should devote a bit of effort at this stage of planning. Use an initial embosser or a rubber stamp to elevate the quality of your thank-you's, no matter what paper you choose to use. Don't photocopy your thank-yous. Instead, include the guest's name and a pleasant one-liner on quality stationery. It's okay to send one note to a group of 10 or more people who pitched in for a gift.
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