Throwing a baby shower? Our baby shower planning guide answers all your burning how-to and etiquette questions.
You’ve been tasked with planning the baby shower for someone special in your life. Even if you’ve never planned a baby shower or other type of party, you can easily and seamlessly plan the party of the year by following just a few simple steps. So let’s get organized, follow our baby shower planning guide and get this party planned!
What exactly is a baby shower?
A baby shower is a gathering (traditionally of the ladies) for the mom-to-be and other close family and friends to share and celebrate this special time. The tradition got started during the baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s as a way to celebrate new beginnings and help the mom to be get a start on all the baby essentials the new parents will need once the new baby arrives.
Modern baby showers carry the tradition but also often include games, good food and sometimes the party is coed where the guys get to take part in the festivities as well.
Who typically throws the baby shower?
Similar to a bridal shower or other party, there is no one person that throws the baby shower. Typically, it’s someone close to the expecting mom such as a friend, co-worker, sister or sister-in-law, or even the soon-to-be grandmother.
Can you have more than one baby shower?
The simple answer is yes. While some may fear that it may appear like merely an attempt to get more gifts, not all baby showers are planned to include all the important people in the mom-to-be’s life. For example, if the mom-to-be’s sister or mother plans a baby shower that includes other family and even close friends, co-workers may not be invited so it would be perfectly OK for co-workers to plan a baby shower to celebrate at a separate baby shower.
Even today however, it is not seen as appropriate for the mom-to-be to plan and host her own baby shower. It is wise however to get the input of the mom-to-be to get ideas on theme, menu, guest list, etc.
When should the baby shower take place?
Most pros recommend planning the baby shower when the mom-to-be is somewhere in the range of 28 – 35 weeks. This is considered ideal because she’s not yet so big that she’s uncomfortable and has no energy. It’s also considered early enough that the parents-to-be will be able to return/exchange duplicate items or buy items that are missing and have time to organize and get the nursery set up.
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Where should you have the baby shower?
There is no specific rule about where a baby shower could take place. Most often they are held at a private residence, a restaurant or even a church hall. Holding it at someone’s home has a lot of advantages for a baby shower because it can significantly keep costs down not just in the venue cost but because you can use your own plates and silverware, have more control on date and time of day and so much more.
Pro Tip: One home to avoid is the home of the mom-to-be. Having it at her house will inevitably lead her to be the one answering the door, and acting as host. Remember, this is a day to celebrate her so you want her to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the day.
How soon should mom-to-be register for gifts?
While it’s tempting to want to celebrate and plan for the new baby right away, baby shower plans and gift registries shouldn’t be started until at least the start of the 2nd trimester after the risk of miscarriage drops significantly. Waiting a few months also gives mom and dad-to-be time to think about the items they will need like a diaper bag, swaddling blankets and crib sheets just to name a few. This also gives the parents time to eliminate things they don’t need (tiny sneakers).
Not sure where to register? While there is no singular rule, we love registry.thebump.com because mom-to-be can shop all her favorite retailers in one place and this gives her one link to easily share on the invitations and elsewhere.
Who gets invited to the baby shower?
The guest list for the baby shower comes down to what kind of party you want to have. Traditionally baby showers were a ladies only affair but modern showers can be a couples cocktail. If you aren’t sure, think about the father-to-be and consider whether or not he would enjoy socializing and opening gifts in front of his guy friends.
Pro Tips on Guest Lists: If the party isn’t a surprise, ask the guest of honor for a list of guests she’d like to attend and be sure to get email addresses or phone numbers at the same time so that if you have to follow up with people who didn’t rsvp, you don’t have to rush around to track those people down. Furthermore, if space or budgetary concerns means you have to cap the guests at a certain number then kindly ask the guest of honor to stay within that number when supplying her guest requests.
Proper etiquette for baby showers says you should send out the invitations 4 weeks / 1 month before the event. This gives your guests plenty of time to shop for a gift and make plans to attend such as taking time off work, making travel arrangements or setting up child-care.
The baby shower invitation should include the name of the mom-to-be, provide the date, time and location (with address) of the event as well as provide RSVP details such as who to respond to and when and also include the registry details. The host or hosts may also be included on the invitation.
While here at Raspberry creative, we’ll always argue for sending formal invitations, today’s events have made it perfectly acceptable to send a digital invitation via email or text. We sell a variety of printed and digital invitations to fit any style depending on your plans for sending out those invitations.
Also, because a baby shower isn’t a formal event, there is no need to send out save the dates. It’s also probably already obvious but you should never publicly post an invitation on social media.
There is no rule for choosing a theme for the baby shower you are planning but generic isn’t memorable (think pink for a girl or blue for a boy). Instead of keeping things generic, try to find ways to make them personal or connected to the guest-of-honor somehow. It’s even OK to take cues from the nursery to help direct you toward a theme that makes sense.
Need more help?
Think about popular children’s books that the guest of honor loves. Charlotte’s Web, Winnie the Pooh or Dr. Seuss.
Nature motifs also never go out of style and offer so many options when it comes to everything from the invitation design to the party décor. From Safaris, woodland animals, elephants or baby chicks.
You can also get inspiration from TV or movies. Research celebrity baby showers if you need some ideas. Disney themes are always popular.
You can also use personal interests or hobbies of the mom-to-be to help set a theme for the party like a travel theme or nautical theme just to name a couple.
The majority of baby showers happen in the afternoon but they don’t have to. If you are having something in the afternoon then we suggest keeping the menu on the lighter side. Soups, salads, bruschetta or savory tarts.
We also suggest talking with the mom-to-be if the party isn’t a surprise. See if there are any foods that she can’t get past the smell of or if there is something she’s been especially craving. The party is for her after all.
While the main event evolves around socializing, eating, drinking and opening gifts, other activities such as games can give your shower some personality and make it more meaningful and memorable for all who attend. It can also be fun!
Keep in mind that not everyone will want to play traditional games that can unintentionally exclude guests that may not be as close to the mom-to-be as family. If you aren’t sure about games, consider asking guests to bring a piece of advice or an item for the baby’s bucket list in his or her first year.
Baby bingo is also a popular game these days because it’s something everyone can play. Guests fill in the boxes with things they think the mom-to-be will open and then check them off as those items are opened. Another fun activity is allowing guests to decorate plain onesies.
Traditionally yes because it’s a kind gesture and a way to show your appreciation to the guests that attended the event. Favors don’t have to be expensive or complicated. If you aren’t sure what to do, consider your theme. Something as simple as a bottle of nail polish in the color of the theme or a single pastel macaron wrapped in pretty paper.
Hopefully by now you are feeling much more confident planning a baby shower for something special in your life. Even if this this your first time ever planning a shower, following hte tips and suggestions in this guide will enable you to seamlessly plan the shower of the year. Stay organized, have fun and get planning!