The Ultimate Baby Shower Planning Guide
Baby shower on the brain?
If you were to ask any mom-to-be, baby showers are an essential part of prepping for baby. Aside from having a day that celebrates baby, showers are the perfect way for the mom-to-be to relax and be completely doted on by family and friends. So it's no wonder why hosting a shower takes some serious planning and preparation.
From venue to gift ideas to the guest list and shower favors, there are many things to consider when planning the perfect party for the mama to be.
Thankfully, we've covered everything. Below we have your go to playbook for hosting a shin-dig that takes the cake.
Time it Perfectly
When planning a baby shower, you’ll want to give the mom-to-be plenty of time before the baby arrives to organize the gifts. Depending on individual circumstances, you'll want to consider having the baby shower around her eighth month of pregnancy.
This will give the parents-to-be plenty of time to organize everything and decide what they really need before the little one arrives.
Be certain to check in with the mama-to-be prior to setting any dates to ensure that it works for her as well. Every pregnancy is different and she may ask for a shower earlier or even after the baby arrives!
Choosing a Venue:
When selecting a spot to hold your baby shower, you’ll want to think about the time of year, how many guests will be attending, and distance.
Having the baby shower in a more intimate space such as your backyard or living room will eliminate the need to locate and reserve a space ahead of time. You’ll also save money on needing to pay a rental fee.
However, if you have a larger guest list and don’t want to worry about setting up, catering and cleaning, then a banquet hall or a restaurant is the perfect spot.
Create the Guest List:
Creating the guest list is extremely important. There's a lot to consider when deciding who will come to the shower. Here are some things you should consider when deciding on who should attend the big day:
- Are kids going to be allowed to this shower or is it an adult-only event?
- Is this shower for the expecting couple, the mama, adopting parents, or other circumstances? Considering the guests of honor will set the tone for the rest of the shower.
- Is the shower all female or co-ed?
- How far do the guests live from the venue?
Deciding on a Theme:
Choosing a fun theme for your baby shower will make all the other little details easier (and so much more fun) to organize! Fun theme ideas to get you started include:
- Baby BBQ
- Gender theme (girl or boy)
- Based off of the expectant parents wedding theme
- “Mamas going to POP!” popcorn theme
If the mom-to-be doesn’t care for a particular theme, you can always use design elements and colors to create a cohesive look. Designs such as polka dots or chevron lines mixed with colors that mom loves can easily be incorporated in all of your decor.
Selecting the Invitations:
You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time with this detail as invitations take time to print and then you’ll need time to address them and mail them out. Select your invitations about 12 weeks before the actual shower. This gives plenty of time to have them printed and delivered to you.
If you have a theme in mind, you can carry that right through to the invitations.
Be sure to send the invitations out at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the shower to give everyone enough time to purchase gifts.
Here are a few sites where you can find adorable ideas for invites:
Invite Guests to Bring An Item:
Another great way to ensure that the expectant parents get exactly what they need is to ask guests to bring a particular item along to the shower with them. Touch base with the expecting couple to see if there is anything in particular they will need.
Here are some ideas:
- Guests bring a favorite baby book dedicated to the baby (think story-book theme!)
- Guests are “assigned” a package of diapers to bring in a specific size. This way the parents don't end up with 20 packages of newborn diapers!
- Onesies: each guest brings a onesie in a different size or color for the mom to be
Gift Giving Ideas: Gifts that Keep Giving
Most expectant parents have baby registries or some type of gift list carefully chosen ahead of time. Moving between the registry and diverting off for a few items that you know mom will love, is a great way to find a happy medium.
After all, many moms often register for things for their baby, but many forget that they, too, will need their own postpartum care items. Here’s a few baby shower gift ideas that mama will really love:
- Skincare: from sore nipples to stretch marks and even a refreshing facial, moms need just as much as babies do (and maybe more!). Shower her with a gift that's truly just for her.
- Diapers and wipes subscriptions: yes, mama will get plenty of newborn diapers, and maybe even some wipes but come month two and three, and her new little one will be twice the weight and into a new diaper size. Sign up for a subscription to give her the exact diapers and wipes when she needs them most.
- Basket filled with books and clothing to wear for each season of the baby’s first year.
There’s nothing better for a new mom than knowing you’re covered when it comes to clothing for the seasons that lie ahead.
Top that off with some great literature for baby and you’ve got the perfect goto gift that keeps giving each and every season.
To Wrap or Not to Wrap:
One new trend popping up at baby showers is unwrapped gifts. The host or hostess simply requests on the invitation that all gifts remain unwrapped to give the parents the chance to visit and hang out more at the party.
Of course, you’re going to want to check in with the guest of honor about this detail as she may enjoy unwrapping her gifts!
If the parents-to-be agree that they prefer not to unwrap gifts at their shower, there are many unique ways guests can present their gifts on the big day.
Guests can create baskets, hampers, gifts wrapped in diapers or simple bows to decorate the gifts they bring instead of wrapping them!
Baby Shower Favors:
Baby shower favors are the perfect way to say “thank you” to guests and send everyone off with a memorable gift from the day.
To get ahead of the game, you'll want to have these chosen, delivered and set to roll out the guests about 3-4 weeks prior to the event.
Focusing the baby shower favors around a particular theme is both easy and fun. Here are a few themed ideas to highlight your guest of honor's special day:
- Seasonal or floral theme: if your theme has to do with flowers, spring or summer, you can send guests home with these adorable seed packets shaped in a variety of different ways.
- Sugar and Spice theme: if your theme focuses on a particularly famous nursery rhyme such as sugar and spice, you can send home chocolates or candy
- Specialized cookies: if your theme has a safari theme or a wild about baby theme (think zebra stripes) you can have delicious cookies designed (perhaps with the parents to be cookie type in mind) with any theme.
- Customized Favors: when deciding on baby shower favors consider your guests. What would the moms in the crowd enjoy? Some moms might like scented soaps, candles or even a magnetic picture frame.
- Parent to Be Favors if the expectant parents have a hobby that they are known for you can create favors that match this. For example, for parents who are musicians, cute candles featuring musical notes or even an iTunes gift card works!
Review the Guest List:
Whether you’re hosting the shower at home or have a commercial venue picked out, you’ll need a “head count” in order to plan food, favors, seating and all the general setup.
Get a handle on the exact guest count about two weeks out to alleviate any last minute stress about having enough space for guests. You can also:
- Buy additional favors
- Prep additional food for at least five seats
- Set aside 5 additional seats just in case
You can also put in calls to those guests who haven’t RSVP’d to try to get a more accurate head count.
Create a Mom-Favorite Playlist:
Creating a parent play-list is a great way to liven up the party and relax the mood. You can easily put together a playlist using your phone and play it on a portable speaker during the shower.
Check with the parents-to-be for a playlist that you can create a week or two before the event so that it can be played the entire time!
Wrapping it Up: Baby Showers Made Simple
From invitations to favors and everything in between, creating a meaningful and memorable baby shower takes time and planning.
Either way, no matter how simple or elaborate you go, using our baby shower planning guide will ensure that both parents and baby are celebrated in the most cherished way.