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Your Guide to Planning a Baby Shower

Your Guide to Planning a Baby Shower

A baby shower can be a wonderful way to celebrate the new parents’ soon-to-arrive bundle of joy, but just how do you plan the perfect baby shower? It may seem daunting to organize such an important event, but with careful planning you can create a fun and memorable party to welcome a new baby.

Is a Baby Shower Appropriate?

Before planning a baby shower, it is important to be sure the event will be appropriate. Traditionally, a baby shower is only arranged for a first baby, and parents who already have all the basic baby gear from their older children should not expect a shower for each baby. There are times when a second baby shower can be perfectly suitable, however, such as if this is a couple’s first baby after a remarriage, or if there was a long gap between children and they may no longer have baby supplies. Less traditional showers can also be arranged for any baby, just to celebrate the joy of the new parents and their growing family.

It is also critical to be sure a baby shower will be a welcome event. If there are health concerns for the parents or baby, for example, an elaborate party may be too much stress and could cause additional complications for the young family. If a baby shower is to be held at a workplace, check that it is approved by a boss or manager before making party plans. Finally, be sure to check with the parents-to-be that they would like such a party, because ultimately their wishes and preferences must be respected.

Easy Steps to Plan a Baby Shower

When you are ready to plan a baby shower, managing the event step by step can help you create a fun and memorable occasion.

  • Choose the Date Generally, baby showers are held closer to the end of the pregnancy than the beginning, but not so late in the pregnancy that the mother-to-be has little energy or the parents have no time to organize the gifts they receive to get ready for their little one. Ideally, scheduling a baby shower in the seventh month of pregnancy is a good time.
  • Plan the Guest List Consult with the mom-to-be about whom she’d like at the party. Traditionally, baby showers are meant for women only, but couple’s showers are growing more common and guests of both genders are welcome. Close family members and friends should be invited, and neighbors and coworkers may also be on the guest list depending on the size of the party and where it is held.
  • Enlist Volunteers As the planning gets underway, ask for volunteers to help with planning tasks so you’re not overwhelmed with the work. Different guests may be willing to help with decorations, assembling party favors, taking photos, providing food, recording who gives the parents what gifts so thank you notes can be written, and cleanup after the party.
  • Choose the Venue Baby showers can be held in many locations, from a casual at-home gathering to a local park, garden, or other party venue. For a more luxurious event, consider holding a baby shower at a relaxing spa, or consider the parents’ fun preferences and opt for a party at a sports event, sentimental spot, zoo, or other unique location.
  • Reserve Rentals If you need to rent tables and chairs, dishes, lighting, tents, or other equipment for the party, make those rental reservations early to ensure the best selection and rental rates. Discuss your party needs with your rental specialist to be sure all your supplies will be available and that pickup and delivery will be convenient.
  • Choose a Theme A theme can help you coordinate the decorations, food, and activities for the party, or you might choose a simple “baby” theme or a color to match the baby’s gender, if known. Matching the shower’s theme to the intended nursery decorations or the parents’ other preferences can make it even more enjoyable and easy to plan.
  • Send Invitations Ideally, guests should be invited 4-6 weeks before the event so they can arrange for the day off and any travel or childcare needs they may have, as well as shop for a suitable gift or offer to help with the planning. Guests who have to travel may need to be invited even earlier, but for a more casual, local affair, invitations may be sent just 2-3 weeks beforehand.
  • Plan Decorations Choose decorations to match the party’s theme, or opt for baby-like pastel colors for a fun and innocent atmosphere. Use bold touches that will create a festive setting, such as a welcome banner, a decorated gift table, and bundles of balloons and streamers. Colorful pillows, gender-specific accents, or using the baby’s name or initials in the decorations are other fun options.
  • Plan the Menu Most baby showers are not centered around a full meal, but there are snacks and nibbles to keep guests fed. Avoid any foods the mother-to-be cannot eat, such as sushi or alcohol, and opt for fresh, healthy options. Also consider allergies and the dietary concerns of guests when planning the menu, and don’t forget a festive baby shower cake or themed cupcakes.
  • Choose Activities Baby showers often have a full schedule of quirky icebreakers and games, and you can plan as many or as few activities as you wish. Offering prizes for the winners will help keep guests engaged, and don’t forget to reserve time for the mother-to-be to open her gifts, which is a staple activity at any baby shower.
  • Offer Favors Giving each guest a small token of appreciation as they leave the shower is a great way to show your appreciation for their attendance and support of the parents-to-be. A mini baby bottle filled with candy is a tasty choice, while candles, baby-themed soaps, or small photo frames (to be filled with baby pictures in a few weeks!) are other great favor gifts.

Enjoy the Day!

The most important thing to remember about planning a baby shower is to simply have fun, and make it a memorable event for the mom-to-be and others eager to welcome the new baby. This is a time to show support for the new parents, and to make great memories so they start their adventures in parenthood with the love and kindness of everyone important to them. When you’re organizing the party, stay flexible, relax, and enjoy the event!