No one deserves a party more than an expectant Mom! When one of your friends announces she’s pregnant it’s time to step away from life’s daily trials for a bit and throw her a fun and fabulous baby shower.
Of course, like any celebration, putting together a baby shower takes some planning and a fair bit of preparation. After all, this is more than just another party.
This is a celebration of life, and a perfect opportunity to show your love for the mother-to-be and her child. So, if you’ve volunteered (or been nominated) to host a friend’s baby shower, we’ve put together some simple tips to help you plan a merry and memorable party.
The first point to consider is when to have the shower. It may seem like a simple question, but timing really is everything when it comes to baby showers. This may be a difficult subject to bring up, but it needs to be addressed.
If you set the date too early, and the mother-to-be later experiences some complications with her pregnancy, it can turn a happy occasion into a painful memory. So, as a general rule it’s best to schedule the shower early in the last trimester.
You want to leave a good few weeks before the actual due date, just in case the baby decides to show up a littler earlier than expected (after all, you don’t want the mom-to-be going into labor while she’s opening her presents).
Once you’ve decided on when to have the shower, it’s time to consider the guest list. You should obviously consult the guest of honor, getting her input into who to invite to the party.
As a general rule you will want to invite close friends and family members, but the mother-to-be may also want to include work associates or friends from her Lamaze or birthing classes. You should also consider whether you want to hold to the traditional girls only shower, or make it a coed event and include the father-to-be and some of the couple’s male friends. This is becoming a popular trend with baby showers, but it does change the dynamic of the party. There’s considerably less female bonding when the boys show up to the party. Keep in the mind the more people you invite the more complicated the planning process.
For example, if the guests list exceeds 15 or 20 people you may have to rethink your social venue. A larger guest also means that you might want to consider hiring a professional catering service to supply refreshments. Bigger showers can be just as much fun as smaller, more intimate, affairs, but they do require a greater level of planning and preparation.
Invitations should be sent out no later than six weeks prior to the baby shower. This will give all of your guests plenty of time to RSVP, and to go shopping for a gift. Be sure to include directions to the venue, as well as the date, the time, and your contact information. Etiquette suggests that gift registry information should not be included on the shower invitations, and that either the party’s host or the guest of honor’s mother should distribute that information to all of the guests independently. That’s not always practical, so feel free to include any gift registry info with the outgoing invitations, but do so on a separate card.
Baby Shower Gifts
Traditionally, guests are expected to bring gifts for the mother-to-be and her child. This still holds true, and while some traditions have been abandoned gift giving is still a big part of every baby shower. As the host, it will be your job to coordinate the gift giving and to keep a list of who gave what so that the guest of honor will be able to send out personalized thank you notes to all of the guests. As host, you will also be the main contact for any questions your guests may have about buying gifts, so be prepared to field more than a few questions leading up to the party date.
Activities and Refreshments
Traditionally, baby showers are held in the afternoon (or at ‘high tea’) and light refreshments are served to all of the guests. Modern baby showers have largely done away with that tradition, and it’s perfectly reasonable to plan the shower for any time of day that suits the guest of honor.
The refreshments you serve should also take a cue from the mother-to-be’s tastes and preferences, and can range from tea and scones to a light meal. As to games and other activities, that is something you should discuss ahead of time with the guest of honor. There is no hard and fast rule that games must be played at a baby shower, and if the mom-to-be would rather have a nice quiet celebration than that’s the plan you should run with.
Hosting a baby shower is a wonderful way to show how much you care for a friend who is soon to be a new mother, but it also takes a bit of planning a little hard work. If you’ve volunteered to host a baby shower, be sure to start the planning process early so that you will have plenty of time to get things in order and make any necessary adjustments along the way. The simple tips we’ve outlined here should set you on the right track to throwing a baby shower that will delight the guest of honor and wow her friends and family.