BabyShowers: The Ultimate Planning Guide

Baby showers are a traditional way to celebrate the coming birth of a new baby. The main focus is usually to give gifts that new parents will need for the baby. While some might think that a baby shower is just for first time parents, every birth is a reason to celebrate! If you’re giving a shower for someone who is having their second or third child, you might want to encourage your guests to bring gifts that will make the parents’ life easier, like homemade frozen dinners, dvds, or even baby-sitting coupons.

The Role of the Host
Planning a baby shower can make one’s head reel.  There are so many decisions to be made and, for the most part, it is the responsibility of the host to plan the baby shower.  While it once was poor baby shower etiquette for a mother, sister or other close relative of the mother-to-be to host the shower, today is it is fine for pretty much anyone, except the expecting mother, to host a baby shower. Since the focus of baby showers is often the gift giving, throwing your own baby shower can make you look like a gift hound

When to Throw a Baby Shower
A baby shower should be hosted about a month before the expected due date.  It’s late enough in the pregnancy that the parents-to-be are feeling the need for help from friends in the face of the oncoming birth. Yet, it’s also early enough to ensure against a surprise delivery in the middle of the shower! 

A good baby shower will take a fair deal of planning, so you’ll want to start thinking about the shower and consulting the parents-to-be about two months before the due date.  With all the possibilities that every baby shower presents, what’s a host to do?  She should carefully consider all the options and take cues from the personality and style of the mother-to-be.  This will make for a successful baby shower, as well as an enjoyable experience for the guest of honor. 

Some people also choose to host a baby shower after the baby is born. Some benefits of having the shower after the birth is that people can bring gifts that are sex-specific or engraved with the baby’s name and birth date. As well, it lets the new mom show off her baby to all her closest friends and family at one time.

Where To Begin
A host needs to start by asking herself a few questions.  Is the baby shower going to be a surprise?  Will there be a particular theme to the baby shower?  Is this baby shower girls only, or will it be co-ed? The answers to these three questions will radically change the feel of this baby shower.  

If you’ve decided not to surprise the guest of honor, then you can consult her on the latter two questions. If the shower is a surprise, then you may want to ask those closest to the expectant mother to find out what she would like. However, remember that surprises aren’t for everyone so make sure your guest of honor likes surprises before you proceed with this option.

Before any real planning of the shower can begin, though, you need to decide on a date. Obviously, you will need to make sure the expecting mother is free and able to attend. You might have to be a bit sneaky finding this out if you’re planning a surprise baby shower.

Once you have established the date, whether or not it will be a couples shower, and what the theme to the shower will be, you can start to get your baby shower plans off the ground.

The Guest List
Determining just how many people are invited to the baby shower will help you with the rest of your planning, from how much food to buy to which games to play. If the baby shower is not a surprise, then it is a good idea to consult with mom to make sure nobody is left off or mistakenly included on the list of invitees. If you can’t go to her for advice, then make sure your talk to someone close to her to get all the important names.

With the guest list established, you can get started on sending out the baby shower invitations. These should be sent out a few weeks before the shower so that your guests have plenty of time to R.S.V.P. as well as buy a gift. The baby shower invitation wording should include all the particulars about the event, including what the theme is.

If the parents have registered for baby shower gifts, you can include this information in the invitation. However, etiquette dictates that, at the very least, registry information should be on a separate slip of paper, not on the invitation itself. Better yet, do not include this information at all with the invitation. Instead, let guests know about the registry when they confirm their attendance at the baby shower. If they notify you by e-mail, then you can send a response to let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them at the shower and give them the registry details in the e-mail.

If you want some unique baby shower invitation ideas, then consider incorporating your theme into the invitation. If you’re going with a tropical theme, then look for invitations that have a palm tree or coconuts on the front. Or buy some inexpensive baby tops or socks and use them as your invitation. Using a marker that can write on cloth, write down all the important information and voilà! You have an original invitation that lets people immediately know this is a baby shower. If the mom is having twins, then include two socks or shirts so everyone knows this is a twin baby shower invitation.

A Co-Ed Party
Baby showers that have both men and women attending are growing popularity. Many expectant fathers, male friends, uncles, brothers and soon-to-be grandfathers welcome the chance to be invited to a baby shower. And why shouldn’t they be? These men are just as excited by the new baby and will play an important role in the child’s life. If you have decided to go for a couples baby shower, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, couples baby showers tend to be oriented more around family and friends, talking and catching up than around playing games and indulging in the silly traditions that women tend to do at showers. Also, the food takes on a bigger role when men are present, so be sure to plan a good menu!

When you organize the guest list, try to keep the number of men to women as even as possible. You don’t want the father to be the only man there! You’ll also want to make sure that the couple opens their gifts together. Since opening the gifts tend to be the biggest event at baby showers, they should both be a part of it, not just the mother.

At the Shower
Many people enjoy playing games or having some baby shower crafts during the shower. For some great baby shower games ideas, see Have the Most Fun Baby Shower, Ever! If you would like to plan some baby shower activities, keep in mind what the guest of honor would like. Not everyone enjoys playing games, and if mom is one of those people, it might be better to avoid them. Additionally, if everyone already knows each other, you may find that you don’t need the games to get things going.

Creative Baby Shower Crafts
People so rarely get a chance to indulge their creative side that crafts, on the other hand, can sometimes be a big hit with guests. Some good baby shower ideas for crafts include decorating items for the baby. Guests can use clothing friendly markers to draw on baby shirts, onesies or bibs. These can be given to mom afterwards both as a reminder of the shower and to use.

You can also creatively help out mom with her baby shower thank you notes. First, create a nice gift basket that your guests can win. As the guests arrive at the shower, have them write out their name and address on an envelope. Put all of the envelopes into a box and, once everyone has arrived, draw a winner from the box. After the draw, give the already addressed envelopes to the guest of honor. This will make it much quicker for her when she finally gets around to her baby shower thank you cards.

Baby Shower Favors
It is common to provide guests with favors and/or prizes if you play games. The favors don’t need to be (and probably shouldn’t be) expensive, especially if you’re also giving out prizes for a game. In fact, the most popular game prizes are often the silly little toys that you can buy at a dollar store.

If you’re looking for some inexpensive baby shower favor ideas, then here are some easy ones. Buy some baby socks and fill them with candies and little chocolates. Or, if it matches your theme, then you could fill some baby bottles with candies and use them first as a centerpiece or as a weight for balloons, then give them out as shower favors after.  If you have the time, then bake some cookies and use cookie cutters to cut out baby themed shapes. Put a few into baggies, tie them with some nice ribbon and you have an inexpensive baby shower favor.

Most of all, remember that baby showers are for mom. Be sure that wherever you are holding the shower, there is a comfortable chair for her to sit in, her favorite foods are served, and that she is reminded of just how special she and her new arrival are to everyone.

Back to top

Find out what worked and what didn't at other women's baby showers in the forum

Login to comment

Post a comment

i've been planning a baby shower for my sister. i had no idea how much work it is to plan a baby shower. i decided not to make it a surprise which made it much easier putting together a guest list and the food and decorations. it also got my sister to put together her ideal registry list so people will actually bring her presents she likes rather than just stuff. it will still be fun for her even though its not a surprise because she gets her ideal party without having to do any other work. but i'm not going to do any of those stupid baby shower games though, i think they are kind of lame.
13 years ago