Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Baby Shower
As the host of the baby shower, you’ll have a lot to keep in mind, but if you consider the mum-to-be’s personality and stay organised, planning a baby shower can actually be pretty stress-free and enjoyable! In this guide to planning a baby shower, we take you through each step of organising the shower from choosing a date and location, to organising decorations and baby shower games.
The Basics of How to Plan a Baby Shower
Typically, one of the mum-to-be’s close friends or family members organises and hosts the shower. She might have asked you, or you might have offered – either way it’s an honour! The mum-to-be usually doesn’t get too involved in the planning, after all, she’s the special guest. Even so, it’s good to discuss certain details, such as the guest list, with her.
If this is the mum-to-be’s second baby you may be wondering if anything is handled differently. Traditionally, showers were a chance for friends and family to provide the mum-to-be with the essentials she needs for her first baby. Because she may now already have the basics, you may want to shift the emphasis from gifts to friendship and fun.
At some point while planning the baby shower go through this checklist too, to make sure you have all those big and small things covered. For now, get started with these simple steps:
Choose a Time and Date
The months before and after the baby is born are hectic, so discuss potential dates with the mum-to-be. Usually, showers are held around four to six weeks before the due date, but consider these factors when deciding on a date:
Reasons for hosting before the birth
The mum-to-be will have time to sort through her presents, set up the nursery, and shop for items she's missing.
She'll be able to relax and enjoy herself instead of feeding her newborn, changing nappies, and craving some shut-eye instead of entertaining guests.
The mum-to-be can get some much-needed emotional support and a dose of fun at a time when she may be wanting the extra comfort.
Reasons for hosting after the birth
The shower can double as a meet-the-baby party.
Now that guests know the size and name of the baby, it'll be easier for them to choose gifts.
This may be better for parents who are adopting as they may not know too far ahead of time when their baby will be placed with them.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons are the most popular for baby showers. Weekdays are ideal for office baby showers, and weeknights work if the mum-to-be would prefer to keep her weekends free. Check the calendar for special events that might conflict with your date, and make sure the mum-to-be’s closest friends and family members are free, too.
Decide on a Location
Consider what the mum-to-be would love and you can’t go wrong. Of course, your budget, number of guests, and even the weather play a role in what kind of location could work best. Consider these ideas:
Home (of the host or the mum-to-be): It’s private and comfortable. You have free reign in the kitchen, and everyone knows where the bathroom is. The mum-to-be’s home can be a convenient option but be mindful not to cause extra stress with intensive preparations and clean up. If the shower is held after the baby is born, the mum’s home could be a good choice because she and her newborn can stay comfortably at home.
Restaurant or café: All you have to do is book a table, and you’re set. Try to accommodate everyone's tastes, but the mum-to-be's favourite spot would be a great choice.
Party venue: Venue staff can likely help arrange almost everything you’ll need but you could also personalise the space with your own decorations.
Outdoors: If you have a scenic outdoor location nearby, it could be a great option! Consider a picnic at a tranquil park or placing a spread of sweets on a table next to a beautiful lake.
Destination: Consider what mum-to-be loves to do. Would she love unwinding with her loved ones at a day spa? Or prefer getting creative at a crafts workshop?
The office: If you’re work buddies, carving out an hour or two to celebrate the new baby is worth the break. See if there’s a quiet space you can decorate so that it’s extra special.
Pick a Theme
Decide whether you’ll have a theme. You don’t have to have one, but if you think the mum-to-be would love it, choose something that reflects her personality and celebrates the new baby. Here are some theme ideas:
A specific sport or a sports club
Haven’t found the ideal one from this list? Check out even more baby shower theme and decoration ideas to find the perfect one.
If the theme reveals the baby’s gender, make sure you get a green light from the mum-to-be first, as she may not want to reveal whether she is having a boy or girl yet.
Create the Guest List and Send Invitations
The number of guests depends on your budget, the space available at the venue, and who the mum-to-be would like to have there. You don’t want to miss someone who is important to her. At the same time, be honest about budget and venue limitations. Traditional showers were strictly ladies only, but, times have changed, and sometimes the male partner or male friends go along too. Ask the mum-to-be what she would like.
Whether you send printed invites or electronic ones, you’ll need the name and contact details of each guest. It’s a good idea to follow up the invitation with a call to make sure everyone has received their invite. If you’re creating an event on social media, make the mum-to-be an ‘admin’ so she can add people you may not be connected with.
The sky’s the limit in terms of invites. You could go for pre-printed invites from your local stationary store, make hand-made invites, send an email, or create a social media event. Consider what the mum-to-be likes in terms of design and wording – would she like something more traditional, or something humorous? If you’re having a theme, the invite should match it. Include the time, date, location, information about the gift registry (if the mum-to-be is having one), and RSVP details. Don’t forget to add whose baby shower it is! Ask guests to let you know about any special dietary needs.
Send the invitations about four to six weeks before the shower. Create a list of RSVPs as they come in, and consider calling each guest as a reminder a day or two before the shower.
There are lots of inspiring decoration ideas for you to consider when planning the baby shower. Typically, the food table is the centre of attention in terms of decorations. Decorate the food itself, choose matching table cloth, cutlery, serving platters, and hang signage, streamers, balloons, or pennant banners near the buffet. Nappy cakes make a great centrepiece, too. These DIY ‘cakes’ are made out of nappies to form a shape, such as a stroller. Take a look at these top decoration ideas for even more specific suggestions.
If you have a theme, the gifts guests bring could also form part of décor. For example, if you have a construction theme, guests could bring toy trucks, building blocks, and children’s tool sets, and these could be on show before they are gifted. You could even add a sign saying ‘Dump Presents Here’.
Think About Refreshments
The food and drinks you serve can also be decorative. If the baby shower is held at a party venue or cafe, staff can help you select refreshments, or they might create a special meal for you. Ask whether you can bring a special cake for dessert.
At home, a simple buffet spread can be pretty easy to pull off. You can hire a caterer, ask each guest to bring a dish to share, or bake some savouries yourself but order iced cupcakes and cake pops from your local cake shop. Don’t forget drinks! Offer home-made lemonade, tea, coffee, punch, or ‘mocktails.’ Find out how the mum-to-be feels about alcoholic drinks being served.
Plan Some Baby Shower Games
Baby showers usually wrap up after a few hours, but the memory of this occasion will last a lifetime for the mum-to-be. Ask whether she would like to play some baby shower games as part of the celebrations. Think about how long you want to spend on it, and how many to prepare. Make sure you have the supplies you’ll need, and prizes for the winners.
For even more printable baby shower games that are sure to WOW download these great games.
Help Mum-to-Be With the Baby Registry
A baby registry helps guests know what they can give that the mum-to-be will really appreciate. If she’s chosen to have one, the mum-to-be usually puts it together, but you’ll need to add the details to the invitations. Help the mum-to-be by sending her this gift registry checklist so she knows what types of things she could include. The registry typically includes things the baby needs such as clothes, books, or basic supplies like nappies.
The mum-to-be might ask you if there’s anything she should know about registry etiquette. You might like to tell her to keep the budget and time of friends and family in mind. She could consider including options with a range of price tags, and include items that can be purchased online as well as in stores that guests have easy access to.
On the flipside, your guests might be asking you what to buy the mum-to-be. You might like to tell them that they’re not obligated to shop only from the registry. They might like to gift something from the heart that reflects their unique friendship with the mum-to-be, or they might like to gift something that perfectly matches the baby shower’s theme.
Final Touches: Party Favours and Thank-You Notes
As a ‘thank you for coming,’ you could give each guest a party favour. Consider a beautiful jar of sweets, a scented candle, or a delightful soap. It doesn’t have to be big − it’s just a nice touch to end the day.
After the shower, the mum-to-be might also want to thank guests for their gift. As the organiser, you might like to help her write and send these short thank-you notes.
All of your guests – but especially the guest of honour – will really appreciate how much time you’ve spent organising the shower, and see all the care you’ve put in. On the day, try to relax knowing you’ve done all you can, and that it’s now time for you and your guests to have fun, shower the mum-to-be with love, and celebrate the new addition to the family. Good luck!
FAQs at a Glance
Who organises the baby shower?
One of the mum-to-be’s family members or close friends typically organises the baby shower. The mum is usually the guest of honour at the party, not the host.
When should I plan a baby shower?
You can either host it before or after the baby is born. Ask the mum-to-be about what she would prefer. It usually takes a month or two to organise a baby shower.
What month to have a baby shower?
Typically, showers are held around four to six weeks before the due date.
Do the partners go to the baby shower?
Traditionally, partners and male friends weren’t invited to the baby shower, but times are changing, and nowadays it can be totally fine. Find out what the mum-to-be would prefer.
Do you have more than one baby shower?
Some mums-to-be prefer to have more than one baby shower with different circles of friends.
How many games should be played?
You could play just one, or have three or four short games. It depends how long you want to spend on games, and how your guests and the mum-to-be are feeling.
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