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How to Plan a Baby Shower: A Step-by-Step Guide

When you have a little one on the way, there's so much to look forward to. It's a major life change, with the promise of many tender memories to come. And of course, the impending...

When you have a little one on the way, there's so much to look forward to. It's a major life change, with the promise of many tender memories to come. And of course, the impending arrival of a new family member is cause for celebration. So, if you find yourself tasked with planning a baby shower that everyone is sure to love, here's a step-by-step guide to help you out.

Who Should Plan a Baby Shower?

In the past, baby showers were traditionally planned by the expectant mother's friends, with the invite list focused solely on female friends and family members. However, times have changed, and anyone is now welcome to plan a modern baby shower. Parents-to-be can enlist the help of friends, parents, siblings, or even co-workers to plan their special celebration. The person planning the baby shower can also act as the host on the day of the event, ensuring everything runs smoothly.

modern and floral baby shower invitations to set the tone for a baby shower Image: "Colorblocked Stripes" by kate spade new york for Paperless Post; "Royal Botanical" by Oscar de la Renta for Paperless Post.

Having multiple baby showers is also acceptable. Just make sure there's no guest overlap, or if there is, that guests don't feel obligated to give multiple gifts. Consider having intimate celebrations with close family and livelier ones with friends. It's also a great solution if certain friends or family members can't make it on the original date.

Is it Okay to Plan Your Own Baby Shower?

Absolutely! If you enjoy planning parties or want a more casual baby shower, it's perfectly acceptable to plan your own. Your friends and family will be thrilled to share in your joy, so don't be surprised if your best friend offers to help out too. Another option is to host a "sip and see" event, hosted by the parents after the baby's arrival. It's a way to celebrate with friends and family and answer any questions they have about your little one.

planning your own baby shower with a pink watercolor invitation Image: "Round Out" by Paperless Post.

Virtual Baby Showers

In today's world, virtual baby showers have become a popular option for including guests who cannot attend in person. Platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime make it easy to connect with loved ones. To make up for the lack of physical presence, you can get creative with the virtual experience. Ask guests to dress according to a specific theme or color, or use a custom background on Zoom. You can also organize interactive games, such as a "Guess Who?" round using baby photos or have guests open their gifts on screen.

how to plan a casual baby shower with an animated invitation with flowers Image: "Chat Room Baby Shower" Flyer by Paperless Post.

When to Start Planning a Baby Shower?

Baby showers are typically held in the late second trimester of pregnancy. This allows parents-to-be to stock up on baby essentials well in advance of their due date. It also ensures that the mom-to-be has enough energy to enjoy the celebration without the risk of going into labor mid-party.

Ideally, you should start planning the baby shower six to eight weeks in advance, preferably earlier in the second trimester. This gives you enough time to organize the venue, decorations, food, and guest list. Send out the invitations six weeks to a month ahead of time, allowing guests to save the date and choose the perfect gift. Utilize a checklist to ensure you don't forget any important details.

Baby Shower Planning Checklist

1. Set a Date and Time

Baby showers are commonly held around lunchtime on a weekend day. Avoid scheduling the event on major holidays or conflicting dates that might affect attendance. Sending out invitations early will help ensure that guests have the date available.

GIF baby shower invitation with a pretty brunch scene Image: "Pink Candlesticks" Flyer by Paperless Post.

2. Determine the Guest List and Budget

Set a budget upfront to determine how much you're willing to spend on different aspects of the baby shower. Consider the number of guests you want to invite and write down everyone important to avoid any omissions. Remember, a more intimate gathering can help keep costs low.

3. Choose a Baby Shower Venue

Select a venue that suits the atmosphere you want to create. You can rent a space at a restaurant, book a garden or hotel outdoor area, or host the event at someone's home. Make sure the venue is easily accessible for the mom-to-be to minimize stress.

4. Pick a Baby Shower Theme

Consider the mom-to-be's preferences when choosing a theme. It can be as simple or extravagant as you like, but ensure it aligns with her style. You can opt for color palettes, animal motifs, or even a pajama-themed event.

5. Set the Tone with Baby Shower Invitations

Send out invitations that reflect the baby shower's vibe. Use elegant designs for formal affairs and more playful designs for casual events. Make sure the invitation matches the theme for a cohesive look.

set the tone with a floral baby shower invitation Image: "Bambino" by Venamour for Paperless Post.

6. Plan the Menu and Baby Shower Decorations

Sort out decorations and the menu to create the perfect ambiance. Flowers, balloons, and garlands can enhance any space. Design a photo area where guests can capture memories. Ensure the mom-to-be has a comfortable seat of honor, and plan the menu according to the time of day and venue.

What to Do at a Baby Shower

Baby showers are activity-centric parties, similar to bridal showers. In addition to chatting and nibbling on hors d'oeuvres, plan some fun games for your guests.

1. Get Creative

If you have a crafty group and an outdoor space, consider hosting a onesie tie-dye session. Provide plain onesies in various sizes and let guests get creative with rubber bands and dye. Another sentimental activity is to ask guests to write a piece of advice or a favorite childhood memory in a keepsake book.

tie-dye or decorate onesies as a baby shower activity Image: Pack of onesies, tie-dye kit.

2. Share a Memory

Encourage guests to share memories by having them bring a favorite children's book with a personal note inscribed on the inside. Alternatively, ask guests to write memories down in a keepsake book for the parents-to-be to cherish.

3. Open Gifts

Gift unwrapping is a classic baby shower activity. Ensure the mom-to-be feels comfortable and assign someone to help her with the gifts while another person takes note of who brought what. This will make sending out thank you cards easier.

How to Plan a Baby Shower on a Budget

While baby showers can be extravagant, they don't have to break the bank. Here are some tips for planning a budget-friendly baby shower.

1. Keep it Small

A smaller guest list can help keep costs low, especially if you plan to serve a full meal. Send digital invitations to save on printing and postage expenses.

2. Host at Home

Hosting the baby shower at someone's home is more cost-effective than renting a space. You can cook or make it a potluck to save even more. Serve light appetizers and desserts instead of a full meal. Skipping alcoholic beverages can further reduce expenses.

3. Keep it Simple

Choose one or two focal points for decorations to create an extra special atmosphere on a budget. Grocery store flowers, white holiday lights, and balloons can add a festive touch. Party favors are optional but can be replaced with small food containers for guests to take home some sweet treats.

4. Ask for Help

Don't hesitate to ask friends and family for assistance. Some may be willing to contribute their baking skills or artistic talents. Assign specific tasks, such as picking up catering or buying balloons, to those who offer help.

Baby Shower Planning Tips

To ensure a stress-free baby shower, stay organized and work ahead of time. Use a checklist to keep track of tasks and deadlines. Provide the gift registry information to guests well in advance and secure RSVPs. Refrain from involving the parents-to-be in every decision, but seek their input on important matters. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and celebrate the joyous occasion.

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