6 Easy Steps For Planning A Baby Shower
Step One: Know Someone Who Is Expecting A Baby
I don’t recommend throwing a baby shower for a complete stranger. There are many reasons for this, including possible breaking of trespassing laws, but there are all kinds of folks out there, and to each their own.
For the sake of discussion though, I’m going to assume that if you are currently reading this it’s because you are planning on throwing a baby shower for someone you know and care about who is currently expecting a new bundle of joy. Or you are a family member reading my new blog, in which case, hi mom. At any rate, great news! Throwing a baby shower can be easy and fun and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
Step Two: Choose The Date Carefully
Most people are aware that babies are born when they are good and ready. This of course makes timing a baby shower something like a balancing act since due dates are an educated guess. They can be off by a few weeks, and sometimes longer! Additionally, in the last few weeks of pregnancy the typical mom-to-be is tired and uncomfortable, so you may want to keep that in mind when choosing a date. Having the party too soon has its own set of potentially complicating factors as well; especially when the pregnancy is high risk. Redistributing gifts when there is no longer a baby is pure agony. Generally, right around the 8th month is a good time to shower mom-to-be and her expected-baby with gifts. Even still, there are plenty of party people who wait until after the baby arrives to throw the shower. This is particularly the case with adoptions, and also is great insurance for not throwing a pink baby shower for a mom who is surprised with a boy. Happened to a friend of mine. Twice!
Step Three: Decide on a Theme
A baby “sprinkle” is sometimes thrown for moms who’ve already had a child, and the baby shower, and the whole shebang that goes along with it, and don’t wish for all the hullaballoo of a traditional baby shower. These mini-showers are a lighter version of the party that may provide the mom and baby with some newer trinkets and gadgets that have come along since she had her last baby, or they may just be a family get-together to celebrate the new arrival.
Deciding on a theme is going to be the foundation of the entire party. It is the basis for selecting coordinating invitations, scenery, and the menu. All the little odds and ends that tie everything together will directly correlate to the chosen theme, (but no pressure!), so make sure it is going to work. You will probably have trouble finding baby appropriate items and decor that match a Breaking Bad theme. Of course you could get creative and make custom decorations, and invitations, and snacks, (or call me), but quite frankly- babies and basement meth labs don’t mix. Sorry.
If choosing a theme seems too daunting, don’t fret! Baby shower themes can be based entirely on complimentary colors! Some trendy combos the last few years have been lavender and grey, and pink and blue both go well with a rich chocolate brown.
Fun fact: Though the majority of us might associate pink with girls, and blue with boys, this wasn’t always the case. “In 1918, an article from a trade publication called Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department, declared that, since it was derived from red, “Pink is for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” True story. In fact, it wasn’t until after WWII that the collective public made up its mind to make the switch, thanks in part to Rosie the Riveter, according to this post in mental_floss.
These days picking a theme for a baby shower goes far beyond pink and blue, and if you are still having trouble with the finding something that is the right fit, think outside the box. Pinterest is a great place to start. My favorites are themes that are customized to the family. With colors coordinating with a favorite football team, or a theme inspired by a favorite childhood book of Mom-To-Be, when there are personal touches that make a baby shower even more special it is sure to be a fond memory for years and years to come.
Step Four: Spread the Word!
Whether its word of mouth, a Facebook event, or good old fashioned snail-mail invites, it’s best to give guests at least 3 weeks notice. Include the date, time, and place of the event in addition to the best way to RSVP. Don’t forget to mention pertinent details if the party is a Jack ‘n’ Jill, (the guests are both men and women), if there will be a diaper raffle, (guests are encouraged to bring a bag of diapers in exchange for an entry in a raffle with prizes), baby registry information, or anything else you think a guest will need to know before attending the baby shower.
How many guests you invite will depend on your budget. The amount of refreshments, tableware, favors, games, and the location of the party itself will be directly correlated to the number of attendees. It’s advised to reach out to the folks on your guest list to confirm attendance a week to several days before the date of the party. People don’t always RSVP, which can be an inevitably frustrating factor in party planning, so you should designate a few extra portions just in case. You don’t want to get caught with a handful of unexpected guests that you didn’t account for, and not have enough to go around!
Step Five: Shopping!
Party shopping is one of my favorite things, and especially for baby showers. Those tiny little shoes, and tutus, and super soft baby blankets make me nostalgic for when my littles were babies. I can practically smell their little coconut baby heads just thinking of it. Which incidentally, is my favorite smell. Freshly washed baby head. I’m talking to you, Yankee Candle!
For some, the shopping is the most daunting aspect of planning a party. There are countless options and it can be overwhelming. Try to break it down into categories to simply the enormous task of it. Food, Favors, and Decorations is a good place to start.
For a simple mid-day baby shower the grocery list doesn’t need to be extensive. A deli platter with rolls, a veggie or fruit platter, a bag of chips, lemonade, and cupcakes should cover all the bases.
Favors can be as simple as color coordinated candies in a pretty tulle satchel tied with a ribbon.
Decorations can be extravagant, but they don’t need to be. I’ve always said that a few well placed balloons, a centerpiece, and cupcakes can transform any get together into a party. The addition of a simple ceiling treatment such as crepe streamers, and table settings to match the occasion will tie it all together. Simple and sweet is sometimes the way to go.
Step Six: Entertainment
Quite possibly the black sheep of the party game family, baby shower games are of a polarizing public opinion. It seems people either love ’em or hate’ em. Personally, I think they are hilarious and fun, but for the optimal enjoyment and participation of your group the games you choose should be appropriate for the audience.
One that comes to mind as an example falls on the outskirts of the game category, in that the participants don’t know they are in on it until the game has ended. How it works is a designated party-goer secretly writes down what the Mom-To-Be says upon opening each gift. After all the gifts have been opened and fawned over, the list is then read aloud under the title Things Mom-To-Be Said The Night The Baby Was Conceived. You probably know where this is going. Most of what will be on that list are things like “Aw, look how small it is!”, and “That is the cutest little thing I have ever seen!”, and “Wow, that’s soft!”. Bound to get roaring laughter from a guest list made up of sorority sisters, but probably not the best choice in the presence of mom’s Great-Aunt Mildred, or her co-workers in accounting.
Another controversial baby shower game is the Dirty Diaper game, where a number of diapers are set up, each with a different candy bar melted inside, and the guests must use sight and smell to guess what kind of candy bar it is.
And please. For the love of all that is holy, do not under any circumstances play the Guess How Big Mom Is game. These are the ones where guests cut a length of ribbon that they think will fit best around the mom’s middle. Mom will more than likely be horrified, possibly holding back tears as either the ribbon doesn’t meet around her belly, or is embarrassingly too long. There are no winners here. Trust.
Games I’ve always had success with are the My Water Broke game, (little plastic babies are frozen in ice cube trays and handed out to guests. The first guest who’s baby is freed of the ice yells out “My water broke!”, and wins), Don’t Say Baby, (all the guests get a clothespin at the start of the party, and if they hear someone say “baby” they get to take that person’s pin. The guest with the most pins at the end of the party wins.), and Guess How Many Jellybeans Are In The Baby Bottle. There are also countless printable games and other ideas on Pinterest that are worth checking out.
In addition to games, guests can be entertained by a scrapbook station with patterned papers, glue and embellishments, and an array of colored pens, markers, and glitter. A journal where guests can write wishes for the baby is always a sweet touch. Or a table with diapers and markers set out, where guests can write a note for mom on the front of the diaper can make future late night diaper changes interesting.
There you have it. You just planned a baby shower. Now you can pour yourself a glass of wine and revel in your accomplishment. And relax! Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the minute details. Parties are meant to be fun. Enjoy yourself, make some memories, get ready to celebrate the new wiggly, squeaky, chubby cheeked, curly toed newborn that is about to make her debut.