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Tips to Planning a Baby Shower

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Baby Shower Chalk Board
Credit: Quinn Burke Photography

My wife is in her 30’s and has about a solid decade of experience planning baby showers. It’s something that she takes very seriously and has great pride in. With each shower, she learns something new and polishes her techniques. Below are her best tips for baby shower success. 

Planning Basics

The first thing to do is to enlist help! More work goes into a baby shower than you would think. One you have determined who else is hosting the shower with you, gather everyone together to tackle the planning.

Next, you will need to determine a theme for the shower. The theme will influence the color scheme and decorations. My wife suggests that you browse Pinterest for themes. You can even create a secret "pin board" as a way to save all of your ideas in one place. As a bonus, you can invite the friends you are planning the shower with to view the board and add pins.

It is best if you ask the mom-to-be for a guest list for the shower before you meet to start planning. That way you will be better prepared to accommodate the number of guests. A shower with twelve guests will be a lot different than a shower with fifty guests. My wife suggests Etsy as the best place to go for invitations. Many sellers on Etsy have digital invitations that you can take to a local print shop to make as many copies as needed.

The next thing to decide on is a date (be sure you’ve first asked the mommy-to-be you are honoring for her top choices!) and a location. A home is my wife’s favorite place for a baby shower because guests can linger and mingle before or after. However, some people prefer other venues such as a garden, a winery, or a room in a trendy restaurant. 

Details and Decor

Once you have nailed down the basics in the planning department, it’s time for the fun! One of my wife’s favorite things to do is to rent some unique pieces to make the shower extra special. Her staples are sequined tablecloths, ornate chalkboards, gold flatware, and vintage plates and cups. Even just one of these items can make a big impact.

Another thing that makes a shower exceptional are the decorations. My wife has a penchant for tissue paper garlands and pom poms, so she often makes these for events she hosts. See Pinterest for ideas, inspiration, and how-to guides. Too lazy to spend hours crafting? Many of these same decorations are also available (already put together!) to purchase on Etsy.

It is vital to set the mood with a special music playlist. My wife’s favorite is Spotify, but feel free to use a different streaming company if that works for you. Pinterest is a great resource for lists of songs for baby showers. 

The Menu

Work with your co-hosts to plan the menu. If you are not having it catered, it is best to divide up the responsibility for the food. The amount of food on the menu will likely be lighter or heavier depending on the time of day. If it is near a mealtime (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), it is important to have more food for your guests.

Favors

Favors are a special touch and a must-have at any shower. One of the hottest trends right now is to plant mini succulents (or other plants) for each guest to take home. Nail polishes, mini sugar scrubs, tiny jars of jam, or small champagne bottles all make great favors. It’s best to set favors out on a tray near the door with a sign so guests can grab them on the way out of the door.

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Games and Activities

Games and activities are a good way to keep the shower exciting. It is important to have prizes available for these activities. The favorites? Small gift cards, candles, and chocolates are great. My wife recommends wrapping these in the color scheme of the shower and having a few extras on hand in case of ties.

A fun activity trend is to host an Instagram contest. Make a sign that tells guests about this activity and create a special hashtag for them to use. This is a great way to get guests to take photos and to mingle on a social network.

It’s smart to have a few games in addition to activities. One of the most popular (and easy) is Baby Shower Bingo. In this game, guests fill in bingo cards with items they think the bride will open as she receives her gifts. As she opens a gift and receives an item, guests can mark that item off of their bingo card (if they wrote it on originally). The first guest to yell “Bingo!” wins.

Another wonderful game is Who Will? Make a list of responsibilities of a new parent (feeding, changing diapers, etc.) and ask guests to guess if “Mom” or “Dad” will be responsible for each. Have the momma you are celebrating fill one out at the same time. Whoever’s answers match the mom’s most closely is the winner! 

Other Thoughtful Tips

If you plan a shower with each of these elements it will be fantastic. Want to make it even better? Try these things, too:

  • Have an out of town mom-to-be? On the invitations, ask guests to mail large packages directly to her home.

  • Ask a friend to pick up the mom (because what mom wants to drive herself to the shower?). Bonus points if the friend arrives with the mom's favorite fruit smoothie when she picks her up.

  • Pick up a pretty package of thank you notes before the shower. Wrap them with twine or ribbon and give them to the mom beforehand to help make thank you notes less of a chore. During the shower, keep a list of items that she opens so it’s easy for her to write her notes later.

  • At the end of the shower, load the car for the mom. She’ll feel extra special if she gets a few extra minutes to chat with her grandmother instead of manual labor.
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