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Article: Baby Shower Ideas and Checklists
Baby Showers – Ideas & Checklists

Ideas for a baby shower

Planning a baby shower can seem quite overwhelming so here are a few tips to help you get organized and have a fun time!

Who hosts the shower?

Baby showers used to be held by a friend of the Mom-to-be, but now it's quite regular to have the shower hosted by the Grandma-to-be or other relatives. In fact, anyone who's close to the expectant Mom may want to host the event and often, there'll be lots of friends and relatives who want to contribute to the cost and share in the organization of the event.

What does the host need to do?

The main responsibility of the host is to provide an event that the Mom-to-be will be happy with so make sure you get her input on everything, unless of course it's to be a surprise shower. If she knows about it however, ask her if she has a preference about the venue, the theme, who she'd like to invite, what games will be played, what kind of food she wants and how long the shower should last.

After that, it's all down to the host! You'll send out the invitations and follow up on anyone who doesn't RSVP to check they got their invitation. You'll meet the guests as they arrive, you'll co-ordinate the running order of the shower, you'll organize games and basically oversee everything else that has to be done. For this reason, you might want to ask a few others to help.

Who will be invited?

The Mom-to-be should make decisions about the guest list obviously but if it's a surprise shower, try to take a look at her address book and ask her relatives and other friends who they suggest. Don't forget the Grandmas!

When is the right time to hold the shower?

Usually this is about two months before the baby's due but many people like to wait until after the baby's been born. This is so gifts can be personalized or so that the gender of the baby is known.

A shower after the baby is born is traditional practice in some cultures and is seen as a way to introduce the baby to the world. If the Mom-to-be has any particular religious or cultural preferences, you can consult the 'net for ideas and direction for the shower.

What about couple baby showers?

Often nowadays the Dad-to-be wants to be included in the shower and as he may want his friends to attend too. Men don't tend to be enthralled by pretty baby-wear or girly games so a couple's baby shower will probably be more of a general gathering than particularly 'girly' themed.

Are showers only for first babies?

No, not at all! The main point of a baby shower is to show Mom-to-be how much everyone cares for her and how excited they are that she's having a baby, so whether it's second, third or tenth baby, she'll still love to be given a baby shower. Bear in mind though that if this isn't a first baby, the Mom probably has many of the baby items she needs already so gifts such as diapers, formula or even money might be more suitable.

What if the couple are adopting? Is a shower appropriate?

Absolutely! It is more usual though to have the shower after the adoption has taken place rather than before. The adoption may not go to plan so pre-empting the event with a shower may not be appropriate.

What theme should the shower have?

That depends on what Mom-to-be wants and how much effort/expense you as host can put into it. If you do go for a theme, there are hundreds of suppliers of party ware, accessories and invitations etc., to choose from.

What venue is suitable?

Generally the shower is held at the host's home or at the home of a relative. That said, many hosts prefer to book a restaurant or even arrange a pampering spa day for the shower. The budget for your event will probably dictate the venue but if you do book somewhere, check that they are child friendly if any guests will be bringing their children.

Can showers be held at the office?

Yes and many are so that co-workers get to share the fun but you should always check with the boss well in advance of any arrangements.

How to invite the guests

Usually a written invitation is the most reliable way to invite guests. The host may want to call as well but a written invitation can convey all the necessary information in one place such as the venue address, the date, the time and so on.

What should be on the invitation?

You should include who the shower is for, where it's being held, the time and date, the name of the host/s and who to RSVP to. Mention a date that you'd like to receive the RSVP by too so that you'll have definite numbers in good time. You could supply the details of any gift registry service being used and, if the Mom-to-be agrees – or knows – the gender and name of the baby. You can also tell the guests if there's a theme and if children are welcome or not.

What food should be served?

If the shower is at the host's home, a finger buffet is usually the easiest solution. If it's to be at a restaurant you can agree a menu for perhaps a light lunch beforehand. Alternatively, you might ask guests to each bring something and have a 'pot-luck' menu. The beverages you serve will probably include wine, soft drinks and coffee but many hosts choose not to serve alcohol at all in deference to the Mom-to-be.

Will there be games played?

Yes! They make the shower more fun but having said that, if the Mom-to-be doesn't feel up to it – and she may not if she's heavily pregnant – then you'll want to respect her decision and avoid games.

What about guests who may be upset by the shower?

If there are any guests who have perhaps recently lost a child or who are experiencing infertility issues, you might feel that attending a baby shower will make them uncomfortable or upset them. In these circumstances, you should try to approach the person yourself and tell her that there's no pressure to attend and she should feel free to either come or not. Tell her that everyone will understand if she doesn't wish to attend.

Timeline checklists:

Two months before

Set the date and time to suit the Mom-to-be Organize your guest list Make any reservations necessary for the venue Choose a theme in consultation with Mom-to-be Order your invitations or make your own List what food and drink you'll have for the shower.

One month before

Send the invitations out.
Keep a note of all the guest's names and addresses so the Mom can send thank you notes.
Confirm any bookings you've made.
Confirm your menu.
Organize games and any prizes
Buy any favors you want to have. These are a little token of thanks to the guests that they can take home with them and can be chosen to match your overall theme.
Organize centerpieces for the tables. These can be gifts or flowers or even prizes.
If you're hosting a couple baby shower don't forget gifts for Dad too!
If there are to be children at the shower, organize small gifts and prizes for them too.

Three weeks before

Don't forget to buy your gift!
Gather any utensils you may need such as punch bowls, serving platters etc.
Ensure you have enough tables and chairs.
Call to confirm any reservations you've made.
Order or make a cake.

One week before

Check that everyone has RSVP'd and follow up on those who haven't.
Prepare any food that can be frozen.
Check that there is transport provided for the Mom-to-be and possibly Dad.
Organize someone to keep track of who gave what gift so thank you notes can be sent.
Write an order of events so you can keep things on time on the day.
Don't forget to buy disposable cameras!

Two days before

Check that the Mom is happy and that nothing's been overlooked.
Decorate the venue if possible.
Arrange the tables, chairs and food serving area if appropriate.
Make last minute checks on deliveries etc.

The day before

Prepare any food that you can.
Make sure the venue is clean and tidy.
Collect any flowers you've ordered.
Check that you have lots of ice.
Put garbage bags or containers in strategic places at the venue.

On the day

Relax! You're allowed to enjoy the shower too!
Make sure you get help with arranging balloons etc.
Collect the cake or any other goods you've ordered.
Put out the food and drinks.

When the guests arrive

Personally greet guests as they arrive and offer them refreshments
Introduce guests who may not know each other
Make sure the Mom is comfortable and has everything she needs
Announce each stage of the shower; the game time, the food service and so on
At the end of the shower, make sure all the guests get to say goodbye in person to the Mom-to-be and have their favors to take home.

Finally, have a great time!