Stephanie planned and hosted a baby shower for her sister in 2016 to celebrate the expected arrival of her nephew, Fynn.
Steps for Planning a Stress-Free Baby Shower
- Get started early
- Invite guests
- Select a venue
- Choose a theme
- Pick out decorations
- Organize the cake
- Provide food and snacks
- Figure out the entertainment
Step One: Get Started Early!
Congratulations! You or someone close to you is having a baby. Baby showers are wonderful parties thrown to celebrate an expected new arrival. Gifts are given to the mother-to-be to help her prepare for the baby, food is shared, and games are often played.
Baby showers take a lot of planning, and getting them right means making the task on yourself as simple as possible. Start planning the shower as early as possible, and aim to have it about two to three months before the baby is due. This way, the guest of honour won't be too uncomfortable to enjoy themselves.
Planning your shower's theme, venue, guest list, decorations and food early will make organizing them easier done over time so that you are not overwhelmed trying to do it all at once. There's a lot to do! So having plenty of time to do it will make a massive difference to maintaining your sanity!
Step Two: Invite Guests
Knowing who to invite is something you'll need to consult the expecting mother on. This is a good reason not to keep the shower a surprise from her! She may wish to have a big celebration with everyone she knows or prefer a small gathering of just her nearest and dearest.
The number of guests will influence your venue choice, catering needs and even the size of your cake, so it's important to establish the guest list and its length, early. Once you have established your guest list, your venue and date details, you may send out the invitations but be sure to give your guests at least a month's notice.
Baby shower invitations can be store-bought or made at home. A disadvantage of store-bought invitations is the limited variety of themes and styles available. I would still advise you to use store-bought, as long as you can keep it theme relevant. The advantage of course to making them yourself is you can be creative. However, this can also be a downfall if it becomes so creative that it's costly or time-consuming!
Step Three: Select a Venue
You have some generalized options to think about for your shower venue. The shower can be thrown at home, a public park or recreation area or at a hired venue. Each has their pros and cons and should be discussed with the expected mother to ensure she's comfortable on the day.
Choosing where to have your baby shower is a hard decision and should depend on several individualized factors. These include the number of guests you are expecting, the cost of a venue, and initial the set up of the shower such as hanging decorations and the clean up after the shower. The most important factor being what the expected mother would prefer, granted she may be uncomfortable at the time of the shower.
HOT TIP: Having it at a private residence has the advantage of time, you can set up the decorations as early as you like and there is no time limit on when you must clean up. As can be seen below, I started setting up days in advance. It is also the most comfortable for the guest of honor!
However, if you have a larger number of guests having it at home might be unapplicable, and you might need the larger space of a outdoor reaction area or park. Parks are great but consider things such as parking and toilet access on the day. Hiring a venue costs money, and they often provide their own catering but again costing more money. Hired venues also limit your time to set up decorations and to remove them. Cleaning up may be an extra service a venue provides however again for additional fees.
Step Four: Choosing the Theme
The theme you choose will dictate what kind of cake, decorations, even activities you have at the shower. So choosing your theme first is the best way to get started. Knowing if your having a boy of a girl can make this easier. However, if you are choosing to keep the gender a surprise, a gender-neutral theme would be ideal. Or you might like to announce the gender of your baby at the shower and that in itself can become a theme!
HOT TIP: Be creative with the theme and make it personal. If you're planning a shower for someone, try to fit the theme to their preferences and not your own. For example, when I planned my sister's shower, I chose a "whale" theme, but because the baby clothes and furniture she had already bought were all ocean-themed, featuring whales in particular, that gave me the unmistakable hint that she'd like that.
Step Five: Picking Out Decorations
Decorations can make or break a theme. It's common to use something decorative, only to realize later that it throws your theme out or clashes altogether. At the very least, decorations should fit in with a chosen color scheme.
You'll want to keep decorating simple so that it's easy to set up on the day. Avoid DIY decorations! It's easy to get excited about creative shower ideas online but if it involves hours of paper mache making, just give it a miss.
And finally, choose the cheaper options. Stores such as Kmart, Hot Dollar and Bargain Warehouse all sell a great variety of cheap baby shower accessories. But be cost-efficient. For example, you have the option between fifteen, helium-filled balloons for $40 or a 50 pack of decorative flags for $5. Go with the flags!
Step Six: Organizing The Cake
Cakes are a traditional feature for showers! They are a platform for creativity and can contribute to your overall theme. For the sake of saving your sanity, I really recommend having one made professionally!
HOT TIP: You can search for inspiration online and discuss your ideas with your local cake designer. If you keep the design simple and restrict the size of the cake, this isn't too expensive. I had my sister's cake made my local by Designer Delights for $90. As shown below, it tied in nicely with the 'whale' theme.
The size of the cake should be big enough so that there is a slice for each guest invited. Not everyone will eat it at the shower, so be sure to also grab some cake boxes so that guests can take their piece home. In choosing a flavor for the cake, keep it fairly neutral so that guests are likely to like it. For example, I chose a simple vanilla mud.
Step Seven: Providing Food and Snacks
Serving an assortment of sweets and savory snacks at a shower is all you need in terms of providing food. But be sure to have a good share of both at your shower. Not everyone is a sweet tooth! Think finger sandwiches and fruit cups.
Beware, there are brilliant shower food ideas online that are creative but very rarely easy to imitate. Resist the temptation and play it safe! Buying ready-made snacks such as cupcakes and pastries from the supermarket are inexpensive and will save you the stress of trying to bake your own! You can make the snack more theme-oriented with toppers.
HOT TIP: As long as you serve some basics yourself, there is no harm in asking your guests to bring a plate! This is an awesome way to get a variety of food without extra expenses.
Step Eight: Games and Activities
There is a long list of games commonly associated with baby showers. Don't Say Baby, Guess Mum's Measurements and Pin the Diaper on the Baby are popular baby shower games. Whatever your preferences there are heaps of activities to choose from online.
HOT TIP: If games are not your thing, consider a creative activity instead. For example, buy the wooden block letters of the babies intended name and let your guests paint and decorate them to be hung in the nursery.
For my sister's shower, I bought a cheap multi-pack of baby rompers and non-toxic dye from Kmart to make a tie-dying table! The beautiful results are shown below.
© 2017 Stephanie Purser