The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Baby ShowerBy HOPP
Planning a baby shower for an expectant mother is a rite of passage for any friend, sister, or mother — but it is not without its difficulties. Unfortunately, the proverbial stalk is not capable of bringing a carefully-organised, unique and enjoyable baby shower to your door.
From securing a suitable venue to reseraching the best baby shower suppliers, planning an event worthy of your Guest of Honour is a task of epic proportions. The good news? A well-thrown shower will surpass even your own expectations, and harness everyone’s excitement into a wonderful celebratory atmosphere.
Rather than getting overwhelmed, take a look at our Ultimate Guide; from choosing the theme to the party favours to the right baby shower suppliers, we have you covered.
When is the Best Time for a Baby Shower?
It is generally considered best to organise a baby shower to fall within the third trimester, around the seventh month of pregnancy. This way, the mother-to-be has a chance to get herself organised before the gifts arrive and, while her due date will be fast approaching, she will still be comfortable — and unlikely to abandon her own party in favour of a mad dash to the maternity ward.
Weekends are most likely to accommodate your guests — although, if the mother-to-be is nearing her due date, make sure that you check with her first. She may be planning to reserve her final few weekends in favour of some quality time with her partner.
Of course, conferring with guests is simple enough, but the baby may have other ideas. If they arrive before the baby shower, then you can simply reschedule to a time when mother and baby are in the mood for a social gathering. It may be the tradition to wish the new mother well before the birth, but planning a baby shower after the little one has arrived is a wonderful way of giving the new mother a special day with her nearest and dearest, and meeting the new addition to the family.
And, even better, by then you will all know the name, size, and gender of the baby, which means that guests will find it much easier to bring useful gifts.
Start by Setting a Budget
Whether you are making the shower your gift to the mother-to-be, or you are sharing the cost among friends and family, it is important that you begin with a clear understanding of your budget. Paying your baby shower suppliers, the venue (if you are using one), and organising favours, stationery, and the right baby shower supplies to transform the space will require some careful planning to pull off.
Who Should be Invited to a Baby Shower?
Whether you are hosting a smaller, more relaxed get together at home, or hiring a larger space to fill with the expectant mother’s friends, co-workers and extended family, it’s a good idea to sit down with your Guest of Honour and make a clear, carefully thought-out list of everyone she wishes to have with her.
Of course, considering the venue is of the utmost importance; if the party is to be held at home, having too many guests to accommodate will cause a lot of mess and commotion. A dedicated venue will also have firm limits on capacity, so be sure to plan accordingly, and let your baby shower suppliers know of any changes to numbers.
Tradition dictates that a baby shower is a celebration between the mother-to-be and her female friends and relatives, and your guests won’t be offended if you wish to keep the day ‘Ladies Only’.
Then again, there is no need to stick with tradition by excluding her partner — or any other male friends who feel just as excited by the prospect of a new baby. Her comfort and enjoyment matters more than convention, so be sure to make a guestlist that includes everyone she wishes to share in the celebrations with.
As you begin reaching out to baby shower suppliers, your stationer will be your first port of call.
An invitation to a baby shower is one of the most special notes we receive; it marks the very beginning of a new life, and a new love, for all involved. Guests will cherish the warmth and excitement they feel at welcoming a new life into the world, and the mother-to-be will be able to save her own invitation in her baby’s keepsake box for years to come.
Whether you have a theme in mind, or wish to create something that fits with the expectant mother’s style, designing the baby shower invitations is a lovely opportunity to put these beautiful memories on paper, and to share the excitement with everyone anticipating the baby’s arrival. You can talk with your stationer about designing the Thank You cards, too, to keep everything cohesive.
If the mother-to-be is using a gift registry, be sure to include the details, along with an RSVP so that you can keep on top of numbers and let your baby shower suppliers aware of any changes.
Baby Shower Ideas
Whether the baby’s gender has already been announced, or no one — not even the expectant parents — knows quite who they are preparing to meet, a theme is a lovely way to honour the new family. Gathering together baby shower supplies that follow your theme will make a world of difference in any space; it will tie everything together, and create some beautiful photos to look back on.
If the baby’s gender is being kept close to the chest, then guests will be busy trying to foretell the future, but how do you plan a gender-neutral baby shower? Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful, unbiased baby shower ideas to choose from, such as:
- To the Moon and Back
A luminous, celestial theme festooned with stars and twinkling fairy lights will create a beautiful, relaxing backdrop for the mother-to-be.
- Who Will They ‘Bee’?
If they do not already know, family, friends, and expectant parents all love to make predictions; incorporate this into your theme with fresh sunflowers, honey cake, and a summery atmosphere.
- The Zodiac
You may not know the gender, but, by now, you will know the due date. Each zodiac sign has a ruling planet, element, colour and animal, which makes for a cohesive theme in and of itself.
- The Season
Each season brings a new aesthetic. If you want to organise an elegant, personal baby shower, draw inspiration for your baby shower supplies from the flowers, colours, and weather for something really special.
Baby Shower Themes for Girls
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. A new baby girl evokes images of pastels, florals, and (maybe) an accent or two of the colour pink. Of course, your baby decor — like the day itself — can follow tradition as closely as you like. The mother-to-be will have her own style and quirks, and this is a day to celebrate her, and her growing family.
Finding baby shower supplies that celebrate a happy, healthy baby girl is never a chore. If you have permission from the expectant mum, let your baby shower suppliers know about the gender, and discuss ideas together.
Perhaps you could decorate the space with baby shower supplies inspired by classic fairy tales, and design romantic, elegant centrepieces from roses and vines. A vintage tea party, featuring fresh florals, feminine colours, and mismatched tea cups — and maybe a spot of tea leaf reading as extra entertainment the guests — will turn any gathering into a fun and graceful celebration for the new baby.
Baby Shower Themes for Boys
If you are anticipating the arrival of a bouncing baby boy, there are plenty of wonderful themes to choose from. Shades of blue, green and grey will pair wonderfully with a woodland theme, along with fresh, foraged greens and gypsophila. For something a little more minimal, consider creating a nautical backdrop out of crisp, blue stripes and seashells.
How to Decorate a Baby Shower
Whether your theme is something as simple as a color palate, or something that requires a heavier touch of ‘show business’, achieving an eye capturing, seamless design throughout your venue can be tricky without the right baby shower suppliers.
As you consider your decor, it might be a good idea to revisit your venue and note down any areas that require more work. Perhaps there is a large, empty expanse of wall in need of a backdrop, or an empty corner that would make a lovely lounge-area with the right furniture.
Let your creativity run wild, and discuss any ideas or concerns with your baby shower suppliers.
Full of the joys of spring, or blossoming midwinter — celebrate a new baby with flowers. Feminine pink carnations, youthful sunflowers, and fresh, dewy foliage. Baby shower centerpieces should be bursting with life, colour, and fragrance. A professional florist will be able to capture the essence of the season — and the celebration — in your flowers.
Finding your baby shower decorations is made much easier if you choose to rent them. As well as freeing up a significant chunk of your budget, renting your baby shower will gain you access to a staggering variety of on-theme, luxurious furnishings and accessories. Welcome signs, backdrops, chairs, tables, additional lighting and, if your theme calls for it, scenery props will all be at your fingertips — and you needn’t take them home with you, either.
Should You Hire a Catering Team?
Professional catering has a way of making your guests feel incredibly well-cared for; an afternoon or evening of to-notch flavours, beautiful presentation, and impeccable service never fails to make anyone feel special. What’s more, as the host, hiring a catering team for your shower will give you significantly more time to spend with the mother-to-be, and all of her doting guests.
When you begin working with your catering team, make devising a menu that will appeal to the Guest of Honour your top priority. Consider her favourite tastes and dishes. Although exciting, a party can be tiring work for an expectant mother, and providing her with a hearty and healthy meal will restore any flagging energy levels, and keep the atmosphere going for longer.
Next, consider the style of service your event warrants. If you have a large number of guests to feed, and plenty of space, you might prefer to create a food table, and have your guests help themselves, buffet-style. Buffet service is less formal than table service, which allows guests to take a seat for an hour or two, make conversation, and enjoy a restaurant-style dining experience.
Remember that each catering team is different, and will require specific equipment in order to work to a high, efficient standard. If your venue’s cooking facilities are lacking, your caterer will be able to hire any necessary items for the day. Avoid any last-minute panic by making sure they are aware of any shortfall at the venue ahead of time
Do You Need a Photographer?
A professional photographer will be able to capture the joy of the day for you. Not only is this a party to remember for the rest of your lives, this is a significant moment for the expectant parents, marking their final few weeks of waiting for their baby to arrive.
For a new mum, getting organised and prepared in time for the due date can be a squeeze, and getting some lovely photographs of her and her beautiful bump may fall to the wayside. The baby shower is an excellent opportunity to get a few professional shots of her, as she shares in the excitement alongside her friends and family.
A photogrpaher will also take the responsibility away from you and your guests, allowing you to focus on more important things, and enjoy the day without distractions. As with all of your baby shower suppliers, secure your photographer in plenty of time before the day.
Baby Shower Entertainment
When there’s a new baby to discuss, entertaining your guests will never be hard, but adding a few special moments throughout the day will help you to keep spirits high.
Remember that the guests will be connected by the mother-to-be, and may be meeting for the first time. Without any entertainment with which to break the ice, they may all gravitate towards the Guest of Honour, which can be overwhelming — and exhausting — for anyone who is imminently expecting.
Although organising a few games, such as ‘Don’t Say Baby!’ or ‘Guess Whose Baby Photo’, can be an enjoyable way of encouraging guests to get to know one another, it can be difficult to organise a roomful of people into a single task. For something really special, arrange professional entertainment for your baby shower, and take the pressure off.
- A Magician
A professional magician will know how to create a lively, energetic atmosphere amongst your guests — just make sure they are a member of the Magic Circle, as this will confirm that they are up to the mark.
- A Photo Booth
Even if you have organised for a professional photographer to join you on the day, a photo booth makes for an extra opportunity to create memories with the expectant mother. It is a wonderful way of keeping guests busy, entertained, and providing them with an opportunity to break the ice and get to know one another.
- A Portrait Artist
If you want a creative way of combining your entertainment with your baby shower party favours, then hiring a portrait artist to create a beautiful, personalised souvenir for each of your guests in just a few minutes.
Should You Provide Party Favours at Your Baby Shower?
Commemorating the party with a little favour to your guests is a lovely way of showing your appreciation. Although it is, by no means, a requirement of the hostess, it makes for a personable way of drawing the party to a close, and leaving them with a lasting token from the day.
Your baby shower party favours need not go to extremes, simply find a few small gifts as you gather the rest of your baby shower supplies. You might consider gifting:
- A Small Bag of Seeds for your guests to grow and nurture throughout the season. Roses can be planted throughout Autumn, late Winter, and early Spring.
- A Tree Sapling that can grow and thrive throughout the seasons and years, alongside the new baby.
- Something Sweet, such as a cupcake or box or iced biscuits. Place an order with a baker or cake maker a few weeks before the shower.
- A Candle or Soap with a smell that will let their minds wander back to you.
- A Photograph from the day. Although it may not be ready immediately, a high-quality print from your professional photographs will be treasured for a lifetime.
A Few Insider Tips…
- When choosing your venue, make sure it has plenty of comfortable, relaxing spaces for the mother-to-be. Likewise, if any of your guests are new mothers themselves, ensure there is a comfortable seat for nursing, and facilities for changing.
- Make a clear plan for games, dining, and entertainment before the day itself. Ensuring that you are organised with your time will make the day run smoothly, and keep everyone on the same page.
- Double-check with the mother-to-be before making concrete plans. She may wish for the party to draw to a close earlier, so that she has time to rest and reconvene with her partner, or may have a specific requirement for the food. Put her at the top of the priority list.
- Keeping on top of your baby shower suppliers can be tricky. Keep every document and invoice in a dedicated folder, and a running list of each deposit and final payment that needs to be made (and when).