Planning a baby shower can be lots of fun, but it can also be a whole lot of work. With proper planning and organizing, however, things can go very smoothly.
Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you plan the perfect shower. Here are some helpful tips:
- Pick a date. While picking the date may seem like an easy task, it's really a very important item that requires a bit of thought. Don't schedule the shower too close to the mother-to-be's due date -- remember, babies do come early. Also, many panicky moms will go out and buy everything they need once they get close to their due date, so you want to have the shower before she goes out and purchases everything herself.
Work closely with the expectant mom's husband or a friend or relative to make sure that she doesn't have anything else scheduled for the day that you want to have the shower. If it is not going to be a surprise, you can flat-out ask the expectant mother what date would be good.
- Create a guest list. Once again, if the shower is going to be a surprise, you will have to do some sleuthing. Work with the baby's father to get a list of friends, relatives and co-workers that should be invited to the shower. Be sure to send the invitations out at least two weeks before the date. If you have a large guest list, you may want to indicate that only those who cannot attend need to RSVP -- this will save your phone from ringing off the hook with replies. You can also include an email RSVP option, which may prompt guests to respond more quickly.
- Check to see if the mother-to-be has registered for gifts. Most moms who are expecting their first baby realize that someone will more than likely host a shower for them. Thus, it is not presumptuous for a first-time mom to register for baby items at a local store. Before you send out the invites, check to see if the mom is registered somewhere for baby shower gifts. That way, you can include the registry information in the invitation. Guests like to know what the new mother needs -- it makes gift buying much easier and will help to ensure that the new baby has everything that he or she needs.
- Plan the menu. Will you be serving appetizers and cake or a full meal? Depending on what time of the day the party will take place, you can keep it simple (appetizers and cake) or go all out and serve a meal to all of the guests. If you opt for the latter idea, shoot for a buffet style spread that requires little last-minute preparation. Some good options include crock pot dishes like meatballs or hot roast beef, salads, fruit, and cheese and crackers. Casseroles that can be made ahead, like lasagna, chicken enchiladas or baked ziti, are also good menu items. Don't plan a menu that will require you, the hostess, to be holed up in the kitchen for the entire party.
- Order the cake. Unless you're a master at baking, make it easy on yourself by ordering the cake from a bakery. Most bakeries can create gorgeous cakes in a variety of styles. You can also opt for cupcakes, which will mean no cake cutting (this is especially helpful if you have a large number of guests attending). Bakery cakes can be expensive, so shop around and ask others to pitch in for the cost of the cake if the party planning is a group effort.
- Decorations. Before you buy decorations, you should consider themes for the shower. Talk about ideas and color schemes with the mom-to-be. Depending on the sex of the baby, you may want to decorate with either light blue or light pink crepe paper and balloons. You can also go for a more neutral color scheme, using whites, yellows and greens. Supplies such as paper storks, centerpieces and other wares can be bought at party goods stores.
You can also hang a small clothesline across the room and hang a few baby outfits on it-- not only will it serve as a decoration, but the outfits can be a gift for the mother-to-be as well. Theme party plates can get expensive, so check discount stores for solid color plates, forks, cups and napkins.
- Set up a space for the expectant mother. Have a comfortable chair available for the mother-to-be to sit on while she opens her gifts. You can decorate the chair with balloons and streamers to make it more festive. Make sure that someone is available to assist the mother with opening the gifts and keeping track of who each gift is from. Another nice touch is to set up a portable foot massage whirlpool and let the expectant mom relax and soak her feet as she opens her gifts.
- Party games. Having party games at your shower is definitely optional. Some people like to include them while others prefer to have the event be simply a gathering of friends. If you do choose to include party games, pick just a few. A couple of classic baby shower games include:
- Guess the baby food flavor -- Have several different jars of baby food available and blindfold the guests. With disposable plastic spoons, have the guests take a taste of each flavor and try to guess what it is.
- Baby items game -- Bring out a basket filled with baby items, like a bottle, a blanket, a bib, a rattle, a diaper, etc. The guests get one minute to examine everything in the basket and then they must try to remember everything that was in it.
- Delegate responsibilities. Last but not least, don't try to do everything yourself. Planning a shower is a huge endeavor, so delegate responsibilities to anyone who asks "if they can do anything." Most people who ask if they can bring something really do want to help. Take them up on offers to make food, pick up the cake or mail out invitations. If you have less work to do, then you will have more time to enjoy the shower along with your other guests.