The Ultimate Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline: Your Guide to a Perfect Celebration!

Planning a baby shower can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. From choosing a venue to organizing games and decorations, there are numerous things to consider. But don't worry, we've got you covered with our...

Planning a baby shower can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. From choosing a venue to organizing games and decorations, there are numerous things to consider. But don't worry, we've got you covered with our comprehensive baby shower checklist and timeline. Whether you're planning a virtual celebration or a socially distanced gathering, this guide will help you stay organized and ensure a memorable event for the mom-to-be.

When to Start Planning a Baby Shower

It's best to start planning your baby shower about 5-6 weeks ahead of time. The most common window to throw a baby shower is when the mom is between 6-8 months pregnant (22 weeks - 34 weeks). This allows enough time to prepare and ensures the mom-to-be is comfortable enough to enjoy the celebration.

Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline Printable

First things first, download our free baby shower planning checklist PDF. Print it out and use it as your guide throughout the planning process. Staying organized and breaking up tasks is the key to making planning super simple. You can find the printable here.

Before You Start Baby Shower Planning

Before diving into the details, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

1. Who's Hosting the Shower?

Decide whether you'll be hosting the baby shower alone or if someone will be assisting you. It's important to check with the mom-to-be as she may have family members or friends who want to co-host the shower. Having extra hands on deck will be super helpful, considering the amount of work involved.

2. In-person or Alternative Shower?

Due to recent circumstances and social distancing measures, traditional in-person baby showers might not be feasible. However, there are plenty of alternative options available. You can plan a virtual shower, a drive-by shower, a socially distanced shower, or even a combination of these ideas. Decide on the type of shower you'll be having early on, as it will affect the rest of your planning.

3. Consider the Weather

Take into account the climate where you live during the month of the shower. This will determine whether the shower should be indoors or outdoors. It will also help you make decisions regarding guest comfort. For instance, if it's during a cold month, consider serving hot beverages to keep guests warm. If it's a rainy season, have an umbrella station at the entrance to prevent water from entering the venue.

4. Professional Services

Decide if you want to hire professional services such as a DJ, caterer, photographer, or videographer. These choices will impact your budget, so determining your preferences early on will help you set a realistic budget for the shower.

5. Furniture and Equipment Rental

If you want to create a picture-perfect baby shower, consider renting furniture or equipment. This could include chairs, tables, decorations, or even a venue. Evaluate your budget and decide which items would enhance the overall ambiance of the event.

6. Cooking or Catering?

Decide whether you want to cook the food yourself or hire a caterer. If you enjoy cooking, there are plenty of baby shower menu ideas available. However, if you'd rather not go through the hassle, consider catering the event or asking family and friends who love to cook for assistance. Delegate tasks and make use of everyone's skills to create a delicious spread without breaking your budget.

7. Sharing the Baby Registry

Discuss with the mom-to-be if she wants to include the baby registry information with the invitations. Some couples prefer to keep the registry separate, while others appreciate gifts in the form of books or diapers. Give the mom-to-be a head start by letting her finish her registry if necessary.

8. Diaper Raffle

Diaper raffles are a common addition to baby showers, allowing guests to contribute to one of the most expensive aspects of having a baby. Confirm with the mom-to-be whether she wants to include a diaper raffle. Take into account her personal preferences, such as using a diaper subscription service. Adjust your plans accordingly to ensure a seamless and enjoyable event for all.

9. Establish a Budget

Setting a budget is essential for any party, even a baby shower. Determine the amount you're comfortable spending, and prioritize your expenses accordingly. Whether it's investing in decor, catering, or a specific venue, knowing your budget will help you make informed decisions throughout the planning process.

Baby Shower Timeline: 5 Weeks Before

Now that you have an understanding of the key considerations, let's dive into the actual timeline and checklist:

Set Date, Time, and Venue

Decide on the location and include it on your shower invitations. If you're hosting the shower somewhere other than your home, make any necessary reservations as soon as possible. Choose a venue that accommodates the number of guests comfortably and offers convenient parking, if needed. Depending on the type of shower you're planning, consider traditional in-person options, virtual platforms, or outdoor parks. Each option has its own unique benefits and considerations.

Choose a Theme

While not mandatory, having a theme can make the decor decisions easier and tie the event together. Consider the mom-to-be's preferences and select a theme that suits her personality. There are plenty of options available, from gender-neutral themes to girl or boy-specific themes. A theme can inspire decorations, food, games, and even party favors.

Make Your Guest List

Work with the mom-to-be to finalize the guest list. Consider whether the shower will be a girls-only event or if co-ed participation is allowed. Ensure the mom-to-be invites people who will celebrate with her and create a positive atmosphere. If the shower is a surprise, collaborate with someone close to her to compile the guest list while keeping it a secret.

Make a List of Supplies Needed

Start making a running tab of all the supplies you'll need for the baby shower. Consider decorations, food, utensils, and even smaller items like pens and tape. This list will help you stay organized and ensure nothing is overlooked during the planning process.

Baby Shower Timeline: 4 Weeks Before

With four weeks remaining until the shower, it's time to tackle some crucial tasks:

Create and Send Invitations

Choose or create invitations that reflect the theme and style of the baby shower. You can opt for pre-designed paper invitations or personalize them by ordering from shops on Etsy. Alternatively, you can find printable invitations at local party stores or craft stores. Ensure you have all the necessary details, including the date, time, venue, and RSVP information.

Buy Decorations

Select decorations that complement your chosen theme and order or purchase them accordingly. Local party stores, craft stores, Amazon, and Etsy are great places to find a wide variety of decorations. If purchasing online, factor in shipping times and ensure you have enough time to set up before the shower.

Make Menu or Order Catering

Decide whether you'll be cooking the food yourself or hiring a caterer. Finalize the baby shower menu to align with the chosen theme. If cooking, start prepping or cooking food that can be prepared in advance. If opting for catering, confirm your order and any specific requirements with the vendor. Also, consider any extras you might need, such as serving dishes, cake stands, or decorations.

Order Cake or Cupcakes

If you plan to have a cake or cupcakes at the shower, order them from a bakery or prepare them yourself. Ensure you communicate your preferences, such as flavor, design, and any customizations. Alternatively, consider individually wrapped cupcakes for a COVID-safe option.

Baby Shower Timeline: 3 Weeks Before

With three weeks to go, it's time to start purchasing supplies and materials needed for the baby shower. Consider these essential tasks:

Decide on Baby Shower Games

Choose the games you'll be playing at the shower. Consider the amount of time you want to dedicate to games and be mindful of your guests' preferences. If hosting a virtual shower, select digital or prop-less games that can be played remotely. If mailing out game materials, ensure they are printed and cut if necessary.

Buy Game and Raffle Prizes

Determine the number of prizes needed for each game and purchase them accordingly. Consider the interests and preferences of the guests when selecting prizes. If hosting a diaper raffle, purchase raffle cards and determine the prize accordingly.

Buy Baby Shower Favors

Select and purchase party favors for your guests. Consider options that align with your theme and budget. Popular choices include individually wrapped cupcakes, cake pops, scented candles, mini bottles of champagne or wine, or practical items like mini hand sanitizers.

Buy Thank You Cards

Purchase thank you cards for the mom-to-be to send out after the shower. Personalize them or buy generic ones, depending on your preference. Assign someone to track the gifts each guest brings to enable personalized thank you notes.

Buy a Gift for the Mom-to-Be

Select a special gift for the mom-to-be. Consider sentimental items that will help her create lasting memories or items she has registered for. Ensure the gift reflects your love and support for her during this special time.

Baby Shower Timeline: 2 Weeks Before

With just two weeks remaining, it's time to tie up loose ends and finalize important details:

Send Reminders to Helpers

Send friendly reminders to anyone who will be helping you on the day of the shower. Provide them with the necessary details, including their responsibilities and contact information. Delegate tasks to ensure everything runs smoothly.


If you're hosting the shower at your home, take some time to clean and prepare the space. This will help create a welcoming atmosphere for your guests and ensure a comfortable environment.

Chill Beverages

Start chilling the beverages you'll be serving at the shower. Cold drinks are refreshing, especially during warmer months. Verify that you have enough space in your refrigerator or make arrangements for alternative cooling methods.

Create a Baby Shower Playlist

Compile a playlist of songs to create a pleasant ambiance during the celebration. Check if your venue allows you to connect your device to their speaker system. Otherwise, bring your own speakers and ensure you have batteries or a power cord available.

Baby Shower Timeline: 1 Day Before

The baby shower is just around the corner! Use this day to prepare for the final touches:

Buy and Prep Food

If you're cooking, purchase any remaining ingredients and prepare as much of the food as possible. Optimize cooking time by prepping ingredients and completing any tasks in advance. This will minimize last-minute stress on the day of the shower.

Prep Gift Station and Other Stations

If possible, set up the gift station, diaper raffle station, and food stations in advance. Lay out tablecloths, arrange any necessary signs or decorations, and organize the supplies. This step will save time and ensure a seamless flow during the event.

Decorate as Much as Possible

Take advantage of the remaining time to decorate as much as you can. Hang up balloons, iron tablecloths, or add finishing touches to ensure an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. If hosting at a venue, verify the guidelines and options for decoration in advance.

Baby Shower Timeline: Party Time

The big day has arrived! It's time to enjoy the fruit of your labor and celebrate the mom-to-be. Here are some final tasks to complete:

Finish Decorating

Allow enough time to finish any remaining decorations. If necessary, ask for assistance to ensure everything is set up before the guests arrive. Completing this early will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on other aspects of the celebration.

Make Venue Easy to Spot

Make the baby shower venue easily recognizable. Use balloons, signs, or other eye-catching elements to guide guests to the celebration area. You want everyone to find their way without any confusion or delays.

Set Out Food and Beverages

Arrange the food, beverages, plates, cups, utensils, and napkins on the designated serving tables. Double-check that everything is in place and easily accessible. Imagine yourself as a guest and ensure you've provided everything they might need.

Add Finishing Touches

Take a final look at the setup and add any finishing touches. Ensure the venue looks its best and that all the details are in place. Once you're satisfied, it's time to welcome your guests and enjoy the celebration!

Using Your Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline

Download and print our baby shower checklist and timeline to help you stay organized throughout the planning process. Adjust the timeline as needed and feel free to add or ignore items based on your specific needs. This guide, combined with your creativity and personal touch, will ensure a successful and unforgettable baby shower. Happy planning!