For many couples, the birth of a new baby is an exciting event. The months leading up to delivery can be as much fun as the big day itself, and a baby shower is certainly a highlight of that time. Anyone can host a baby shower for the expectant parents. Showers are often hosted by a sister, mother, grandmother, cousin, friend or even a co-worker of the mom or dad-to-be. If a couple has a particularly large family or social circle, it’s not unheard of for several showers to be held (one for the family and one for the friends and co-workers, for example).
If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a baby shower for a dear friend or relative, you’re in for a real treat. You have a truly special part to play in the biggest event of their life. Sure, planning any party takes time and can be a little stressful if you’re disorganized. However, follow the seven baby shower basics below and you can rest assured that your baby shower bases are covered.
1. Choose a Date
Traditionally, a baby shower is held sometime during the last two months of a pregnancy, though some parents prefer that the shower be held after their baby has actually arrived. Discern their wishes before proceeding with the planning. While baby showers are traditionally held for first children only, some families choose to hold a shower for second children as well, especially if the baby is the opposite sex of its sibling or the children are spaced many years apart.
Weekend afternoons are the most popular time for baby showers. However, you may wish to consider evening hours as well. If you’re hosting a shower for a co-worker, an evening during the workweek may make it very convenient for others from the office to attend.
2. Select a Venue
The majority of baby showers are held at the home of the host. However, if you have a small house, limited seating or just don’t relish the idea of playing Suzy-Homemaker, you can hold the baby shower in an alternate venue. Your church (or the church of the parents-to-be) can be an excellent option, as can be a neighborhood clubhouse. If you’re throwing a summer baby shower, you could consider a park or botanical garden as well. Take the number of expected guests into account when selecting your venue.
3. Gather the Guest List
Chances are good that you do not personally know everyone who should be invited to the shower. Ask the parents-to-be to help make the guest list so you can ensure no one is forgotten. Traditionally, women attend showers. However, modern couples often choose to invite both men and women to the event. Determine if children will be welcome as well. If the expectant parents would like to include the children of their guests, you may want to hire a babysitter to keep them entertained or provide games and activities.
4. Determine a Theme
While not all baby showers have a theme, many do. A theme can help guide you in the selection of baby shower invitations, decorations and refreshments. The best place to begin in your search for a theme is with the mom-to-be. Ask her if she has chosen a decorating theme for her nursery, as this could be an excellent shower theme. Ask if she knows the sex of the baby, as that can guide your choices as well. Ask if there is a particular theme she prefers.
Sometimes the expectant parents don’t want to know the sex of their baby until the big day. If this is the case for your shower, select a gender-neutral theme for the party. Nursery rhymes, farm or zoo animals and the circus are all colorful gender-neutral themes. Avoid blue and pink and decorate instead with yellow and green. You may also want to specify on the baby shower invitation that the party is gender neutral. This will let guests know to bring gifts that will work for a boy or a girl.
5. Design the Baby Shower Invitations
Baby shower invitations should be sent at least three weeks in advance. If you’re holding the shower during a typically busy party month (such as November or December), send the invitations further in advance. Online retailers offer hundreds of baby shower invitations in economical postcard sizes. Even better, you can start with a baby shower invitation template that suits your theme, and then customize it using their online design software. You’ll create a truly unique invitation that guests and the parents-to-be will treasure forever.
Essential information that should be printed on every baby shower invitation includes the mom-to-be’s name, the date and time of the shower, the location and address of the shower, the name and contact information of the person to whom guests should RSVP, and any gift registry, requested gift items or the baby shower theme.
6. Plan the Games
Much of the baby shower time will be spent visiting, watching the expectant parents open their gifts and enjoying refreshments. However, a few games can really add to the fun. Here are a few that require minimal materials and preparation while providing loads of laughs.
How big is the Bun in the Oven? You’ll need yarn and scissors. Have each guest cut a piece of yarn to the length he or she feels will perfectly wrap once around the mom-to-be’s tummy. The guest who cuts his or her yarn the closest wins a prize.
Baby is a Four-Letter Word. You’ll need four diaper pins for each invited guest. Upon arrival at the shower, give each guest four diaper pins to attach to their collar or blouse. Then instruct them not to say the word “baby” or they’ll lose one of their pins to the guest who catches them. The guest with the most pins at the end of the shower wins a prize. The mom-to-be keeps all the diaper pins.
Dirty Diapers. You’ll need several diapers (cloth or disposable), an assortment of candy bars, paper and pens. Prior to the start of the shower, melt one of each type of candy bar on a separate diaper (the microwave is handy for this). Give each guest a slip of paper on which to write his or her guesses. Pass each diaper around the party. The guest who has the most correct guesses wins a prize. There are no rules as to how one determines the type of candy. Guests can poke, prod, smell or (yuck) even taste the diaper contents prior to guessing.
7. Organize Refreshments
Cake, vegetable trays and punch are classic baby shower refreshment offerings. However, it’s really up to you to determine what you’d like to serve at the shower. Choose food that goes with your theme or just select recipes that are easy to prepare and servable at room temperature.