For pregnant women, a baby shower is a fun event to look forward to, as you get to meet with some of the lovely women in your life and have a nice time. And who can forget the gifts!
However, planning is where life throws a wrench in the works. Planning and organizing a baby shower can be exhausting and stressful – which is why we’ve created this thoughtful guide for moms-to-be and their partners, so you can quickly and easily organize your party.
How to plan a baby shower: The basics
Let’s start with the basics, or the what, when, where and the how. Well, maybe not the what – that’s pretty obvious. As for the rest:
Date and time – Baby showers are typically held four to six weeks before the due date of the mom-to-be. This time is perfect because the pregnancy is well along and the mother and baby are in a safe phase, but it’s not late enough that the mama could go into labor during the party. You’ll want to start by setting out a tentative date and time on a piece of paper.
Venue – A lot of people choose to host a baby shower in the comfort of their home, but if you plan on inviting a large number of people, consider a park or a nearby hotel or restaurant. One of the perks of hosting at a hotel is that everything will be taken care of by professionals, so the budget will go up, but the stress and time investment will go way down.
Agenda – You’ll want a list of activities and a timeline, so there’s plenty to do during the event and nobody is bored. Opening gifts, eating, drinking and playing fun games will make up most of it, but you can add in other fun activities if you have the time and budget.
Budget – Come up with a tentative budget, and add up food, venue and other costs to see if you can stay within it. Your budget will depend a lot on these factors, along with the length of your guest list.
Gifts – You might want to create a gift registry for your party. If you do, send it out to invitees in the invitation itself. As for the favors, a simple gift card or gift bag that reflects your theme works – it’s simple and elegant, and won’t break the bank. If you make things such as chocolates or soap, you could consider giving those out as gifts.
These were some of the basics for your party. Now, let’s discuss the fun stuff – all the wonderful things that add flavor to your party!
Baby shower theme
This can be as simple or as intricate as you want to make it. Typically, themes are centered around upcoming events (such as Halloween or 4th of July), your interests, or the baby. If you can’t think of anything that fits, here’s a nifty little trick – plan out your favors, décor or menu in advance (whatever comes to you), and base your theme around it!
Some fun choices include: Disney, bumblebee, friends, unicorns, butterflies, princess, glitter, teddy bears, and books.
You don’t have to stick to those, however! You can absolutely explore your own interests and choose something that speaks to you personally – such as a minimalistic theme, nautical, nature, beach, starry skies, sunshine, birds, pastels, pearl, or really anything!
Baby shower games
Plan plenty of fun games for the party, so your guests don’t have time to get bored. Here are a few games that you can play at the party:
- Guess Who?
- Pregnant Twister
- How Old Was She?
- Name That Tune
- Baby Shower Bingo
- Guess The Candy Bar
- Who’s The Celebrity Baby?
Baby shower games are typically centered around the baby, or around babies in general. Keep them mild, light and inoffensive – don’t go too crazy with game ideas, or play games that may hurt people’s feelings or offend.
The usual baby shower lasts 2-3 hours, and the games start about 30 minutes into the party. Each game is played for 30-45 minutes, so as to keep things fresh and interesting.
Two to four games are enough to break the ice and add some excitement to the party, and there’s usually only enough time for so many. Make sure you plan the games so all the guests can enjoy them, so plan around genders, ages, and accessibility needs.
Baby shower decorations
Your décor should reflect your theme, so make sure you pick a theme with that in mind! If you’re hiring restaurateurs, they’ll take care of this for you. For others, here’s some basic info.
Typically the décor includes flowers, ribbons and balloons. You can also decorate the tables and chairs and have more décor options, but those aren’t required. The décor can reflect the gender of your baby, your theme, and your personal tastes and personality.
Baby shower etiquette
Surprised? There are some unspoken rules of etiquette during baby showers, such as:
Kids are only allowed if the invite says so – While a baby shower may seem like the perfect kid-friendly event, only bring your kids with you if the invite specifically states that they’re welcome!
It’s okay to have a baby shower for your second, third or fourth – Baby showers are no longer limited to your firstborn. Each baby is special and precious, and must be celebrated!
Coed baby showers – If the hostess has male friends, relatives or others she wants to invite, that is totally acceptable! Coed baby showers are gaining popularity, and have slightly different food, drinks, games and agenda to make them fun for everyone attending.
Steer clear of sensitive subjects – This event is a fun time to celebrate the coming baby, so avoid bringing up potentially touchy subjects, such as birthing plans or parenting styles.
Avoid tempting the hostess – The mama-to-be can’t have alcohol and certain other food items, so it might be a good idea to ask her before putting those items on the menu, so she isn’t tempted by everyone else!
Give a thoughtful gift – This is especially for the hostess – don’t half-ass it with the baby shower favors. Give your guests something thoughtful and nice for attending, as a token of your gratitude.
Most of these seem like common sense once you hear them, so use some tact when planning the event (or if you’re a guest, while attending) and everything should go smoothly.
Typically, female friends, relatives and coworkers of the mom-to-be are invited. How many guests you invite will depend on your circle and budget.
Note: If inviting any other pregnant women or people with specific needs, make sure your home or the party’s venue is accessible.
Creating the invitations is simple and fun – you can use tools such as Canva to customize beautiful templates, and then send them out digitally to your guests through their preferred media. While paper invitations are nice, they aren’t as eco-friendly or convenient, and you’ll incur printing costs.
Your invitation cards should include the date, time and location, theme, RSVP date, guest of honor’s name, host’s name, and the registry information. Also clearly state that the event in question is a baby shower!
If creating a gift registry, include a link on the invitation, or use a service that sends the registry separately, via email. Choose the items on your registry carefully, so it spans a variety of budgets, and includes essentials and any other items you may want.
Planning the menu
If you’re hiring restaurateurs or caterers, they’ll take care of this for you. However, if you’re hosting all on your own, you’ll need to plan the menu – and for some, this is most daunting part of the organizing process.
However, just like with everything else, it can be as simple or as complicated as you are able to handle!
Typically, baby shower menus include sandwiches and finger foods, soup, salad, starters, a main course, and dessert. Light snacks can include a platter or charcuterie board. Beverages may include tea, iced tea, coffee, cocktails or mocktails.
Other than that you can serve cupcakes, cake, and anything else you’d like!
Keep in mind food allergies, dietary preferences or any other similar limitations your guests may have, so everyone can have fun at the party and there’s no risk of anyone getting ill.
Baby shower planning checklist
Checklists are a godsend – you can print them out, and they make planning anything super easy. So here’s a checklist for your baby shower. If you tick all these points, you should be all set for the party!
4-5 weeks in advance
- Set a date and time
- Pick a venue
- Prepare the guest list
- Choose a theme
- Create the gift registry
- Prepare and send out invitations
- Create the menu
2-3 weeks in advance
- Get supplies in order for the décor
- Buy prizes and favors
- Confirm reservations
- Finalize the menu
1 week in advance
- Order flowers
- Finalize the guest list
- Plan the games
- Plan the agenda, print it out
- Assign tasks to people, keep track
Day of the party
- Prepare food
- Put the décor in place
PS – Have someone help you and double-check juuust in case!