How to Plan the Perfect Baby Shower
As a good friend to many mamas, I’ve helped plan many baby showers! Showering your favorite mom in the most perfect way takes a certain recipe of organization, preparation, and details. A baby shower serves as a special gathering to celebrate a special mom-to-be with her closest friends and family. It also serves as a visual reminder that a baby is coming. No matter how busy the nine months are, when you see the baby stroller that the new mom has registered for with the stroller cover on it on display at the shower, the reality of a baby coming hits home. Selecting an outfit for the new little one or seeing the pattern the parents have selected for the baby car seat cover is an exciting way to participate in the baby’s arrival. These days there are many different ways to host a baby shower, especially during these times of online-hosted events. No matter how you choose to host your event, these helpful tips will make your baby shower planning even easier!
Theme. One of the first decisions the hostess should make is what the baby shower theme will be. There are so many different routes you can go, but one of the best ways is figuring out what the mom-to-be loves and plan the theme around that. Many times you can take a cue from the nursery theme. Is there a character or color that appears in the decor? Do the parents know whether they are having a boy or a girl? What is the personal style of the mom-to-be? It is her special day after all! Take into consideration that the shower is to honor the mama and you want her to be happy. It isn’t a bad idea to get some feedback from the guest of honor. Once you get a direction for the shower, everything else can be built off of it. It’s a great guide to use as you are looking at games, food, decorations. If there is not a clear theme set forth by the mama, take your cues from the season, from the baby’s name (if it’s been announced) or from the space that you will be hosting the event. Sometimes it nice to have some light music or background noise to set the stage. Choose music that makes sense but that is not so loud that conversations can’t be had.
Let’s Play. While your guests will be busy chatting and eating, you could also plan some fun games to play! You could either do a few smaller games or one big activity, such as a pacifier hunt. Step it up a notch with our soft silicone pacifiers which will be sure to come in handy for the new mama! One of the easiest interactive activities you can have at a baby shower is setting out wishing cards for guests to fill out. There are templates online where shower attendees can follow a fill-in-the-blank format to give their personal wishes for the new baby. Another option is to have advice cards for seasoned mamas to share tips and encouragement for the newborn phase. These cards are a fun way to look back and see your friends and family share their hopes and dreams for the little one. Another special element is that the cards will be in your loved ones’ own words and in their own handwriting. You should keep in mind that not all guests are comfortable with games, especially those that require participation. When you are hosting a shower that will bring together different circles (family and friends and co-workers, for example), you want to create an environment that is enjoyable for all. Always give an option for participation and prizes are a fun way to encourage everyone to jump in.
Decorations. Baby shower decorations can be as basic or as over the top as you want to be. Balloons and floral pieces are always a sure bet without breaking the bank. There are many DIY kits that you can purchase off of Amazon and balloon arches make a great backdrop for photos. Remember what your theme is and stick to that. The theme will provide the guidelines for what direction you need to go with the decorations. Pinterest is a great way to gather ideas and see how the theme has been carried out in other showers. You will be surprised at how many variations you will see on display. Create your own idea board and then modify it to fit your budget and space. Creating one big moment with the decorations is a good way for people to see the theme on display and also give a great photo op. You want people to stop and snap a pic with the mom-to-be. You need to keep in mind that once all the guests arrive, the space will be filled with people and you want there to be enough space for people to move around and visit comfortably. Some decor takes up space that needs to be used for mingling. Oftentimes there are inexpensive ways to decorate that won’t have to be thrown out at the end of the event. There are so many great online resources for DIY these days too! Amazon is a great resource for this. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Once you have a theme, you can go ahead and with the rest of the shower process. If you have a good relationship with the other hostesses, you can start a group chat so that everyone is aware of the tasks that need to be done and the timeline necessary to pull a shower off. The theme will be carried into the invitations, communicating to the guests what to expect.
Refreshments. Serve up some of the honored guest’s favorites and choose a menu that sticks with the theme and colors. Depending on the time of day, you might want to incorporate more brunch options or go with a finger food spread. There are many creative ways to serve food at a shower, but a self-serve station is nice because it frees up the hostess from having to continually restock and monitor tables. Having a DIY yogurt parfait bar or a station where guests get to make their own salad are fun ways to allow guests to customize their experience. You can also think outside the box. While there is traditionally a cake at the baby shower, there are other options. You could have a donut display if the shower is in the morning or you can have a cookies and milk. Fruit display, cupcakes and DIY cocktails and mocktails are always fun! Think about what cravings mama is having and cater to those. If all she is eating is peanut butter crackers and pickles, make sure you put those out! It is good to keep in mind if the mom-to-be has any dietary restrictions. There are many foods that pregnant women avoid or are advised to limit and so there should be thought given to this. It is also a good idea to put cards in front of dishes so that guests can identify things easily. If a guest has a specific food allergy or sensitivity, they will be watching carefully to identify potential threats. Don’t stress about the food, though - just keep it simple. The more time you get to mix with your guests and more importantly, celebrate your friend, the expectant mama, the better. Consider assigning different hostesses a different dish or bite to be in charge of. The food can be something that takes up the majority of the hostesses’ time. Just keep in mind the seating arrangement and allow space for those who might want to sit at the table while eating. Don’t forget when you are working on food to remember paper products, dishware and silverware. Serving pieces should be utilized in the shower serving line.
Memories. Photos are also always a precious way to personalize any party, and baby showers are no exception. A shower oftentimes brings together multi-generations for the celebration of new life. Do not miss the opportunity to gather these women for a photo op. Display photos of the future mom’s family and some cute images of her during various stages of her pregnancy. Are there significant people who have passed on and who will not be present for the birth of this baby? Honor them with a photo. You could even display baby pictures of the parents so that guests can begin to imagine who this new person will look like. Definitely have someone dedicated to take lots of photos during the shower so the mama has those memories to add to the collection! Guests should be encouraged to take pictures on their phones and share them. You can never have too many photos of the gathering. Before the guests arrive, you will want to take pictures of the set-up, from the decorations to the food. Of course, once people show up, they matter too! Get different groupings of the guests and try to have a mix of candid and posed photography. After the shower is over, consider making a small book of photos from the event so that the new parents can look back and remember all those who gathered to celebrate them. Although many people will keep the photos on their phone, having a tangible album of the event makes it easier to share with older family members who may not have been able to attend.
Gifts. We can’t forget one of the most important parts of the shower – gifts! Be conscious of the room layout and the space that will be required for the gifts to be placed, unwrapped and then displayed. A fun way to incorporate the gifts into the decor is to display the hostess gift which is traditionally one of the larger, more expensive gifts on the registry. Many older moms haven’t gotten to see the infant car seat covers and the versatile ways that they can transition from the carseat to a stroller cover or even a nursing cover. Let the new mom’s selections take center stage and allow those to become a part of the decor of the shower. Depending on the location the shower will be held, you might decide to have a display shower. A display shower is when gifts are brought to the shower unwrapped and then placed in a central location on a table, buffet, bed, or shelving. This enables the gifts to be seen by all and for time to be freed up for more interaction with guests. Some mamas will feel uncomfortable with everyone watching them while they unwrap gift after gift. The pressure to have a good reaction may be too much and so, a display shower might be a better option. Good record keeping is a must for a baby shower. There will eventually be a series of thank you cards that must be sent off and having a complete list of the gifts and who gave them will ease the burden on the mom. The gift giving and receiving portion should be one of the most fun parts of the shower, though. This is when the mama-to-be will receive some of her most favorite and necessary essentials for the baby’s arrival. Our Milk Snob® blankets are one of those newborn essentials -- super-soft, oversized and slightly stretchy, designed to keep your little bundle of joy snug and stylish. Another perfect gift that pretty much every mom that I’ve known raves about is the Milk Snob 5-in-1 nursing cover. This fitted infant car seat cover can be used for nursing, shopping carts, highchairs, infant swings and more! Whatever the mama opens, give the guests a chance to see it by holding it up or passing it around.
Adoption. There is a certain category of new moms that fall into a special category. They are moms who are waiting for their babies to arrive via adoption. These women deserve to be showered and celebrated, too, but there might be some modifications required in order to accommodate the complexities of adoption. If you have a friend who is adopting, let them know that you want to celebrate with a baby shower in their honor. Depending on the type of adoption, there might not be a concrete due date or timeline for the baby’s arrival. Have an open conversation with your friend and find out what they are comfortable with. Not all showers happen before the baby arrives. You can have a special gathering after the baby has made it to its new home and use the time to introduce the new little one to all the family and friends. Registries are still necessary but there might be certain elements on a traditional registry that might not fit the situation. Understand that so much about adoption is fluid - be willing to move and shift as needed to make sure the new parents feel comfortable. Allow people to share advice with the new mom and give her plenty of time to ask questions. Make sure to create a space where the adoptive mama feels seen and celebrated. If you do that, all else will fall into place.
A shower is a happy occasion. Before the soiled diapers and the stained canopy seat covers, there is joy and expectation. Everything is exciting and anticipation is everywhere. A new season is about to take shape and it is important to give the mama some attention, some encouragement and some love. Think through the guest list and make sure you communicate with the guests in a timely manner to give everyone the opportunity to save the date or make arrangements to be present for the shower. Evites are becoming increasingly popular and are simple ways to communicate information in a quick manner. One caution is that not everyone checks their email on a regular basis. Depending on the crowd who will be invited, a traditional snail mail invitation might be the way to go. Make sure that the new parents have made selections and that the locations of the registries are clearly seen. Hostesses might be called upon to monitor the selections in case the parents need to adjust their registry and add things to it. Many times, things will not move from the registry quickly as the date of the shower draws near. Just wait. At the end of planning a baby shower, the most important thing to consider is if your friend, the mom to be, has felt seen and heard and celebrated. Sure, there are needs the new baby has. He or she will need diapers and bottles and even onesies. But more than that, the new mom needs to hear that she is going to do an awesome job, that she has what it takes to be an amazing mom and that no matter what happens, she is not alone. Keep that in mind and you won’t go wrong. Happy planning!