If you've had experience planning a baby shower before, I'd love for you to share your tips in the comment section below. For those of you who have this task coming up, here are my top ten ways to host a great baby shower without breaking a sweat.
1. Inform the momma-to-be!
This might seem like a great big no-brainer, but I can't tell you how many times I've been at a surprise baby-shower, and it never goes as planned! Surprise parties are usually fun, but unless you know the guest of honor intimately, save this type of party for another event. Almost all moms-to-be want a smidgen of input in their own baby showers, even if you've been gifted the task of hosting. Plus, being able to talk with her will make your job so much easier when it comes to things like guest addresses, the baby-gift-wants list, and even what kind of cake to get!
2. Pick an easy location.
By easy, I mean easy to get to, easy to fit your party guests in, easy to pay for. You don't want to have the party at the home of your mom-to-be. All this does is leave a mess for her to clean up and make everything a bit crowded. You also don't want to spend a fortune on a location - this isn't a wedding reception, it's a baby party. And you definitely don't want it to be so far away that some of your guests decide not to show! Two of the best options are heading to a local park that has both indoor & outdoor locations to choose from, or checking with the mom's place of worship. Both of these venues generally come at a thrifty price, the option to reserve an area with a kitchenette, and complimentary trash pick-up afterwards!
3. Ask the mom-to-be for the guest list.
This is one job you should definitely delegate to the mommy. This is her party after all. I have been to at least four baby showers where the mom didn't know most of the guests! This is a big no-no at a baby shower. Mothers(-in-law), I'm sorry, but baby-shower-territory is where you tend to go a bit crazy. It's understandable that you want to share your joy with all your friends. However, your daughter(-in-law) probably doesn't know any of your high-school friends, the ladies you play cards with, or your church prayer circle; and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say she'd most likely prefer to play party games with her friends instead of yours. Whether you're an anxious grandmother-to-be, a best friend, a co-worker, or close family member - skip the urge to invite everyone you know and just ask the mom for a list of invitees instead.
4. Pick a theme.
You'd be amazed at how out-of-control and out-of-budget a party can get if you decide that you're going to grab every cute thing that tickles your fancy. Baby showers should have a theme to tie everything together not only because it looks nice, but because you'll be able to pick out colors, decorations, favors and more as quickly as possible. Easy baby shower themes to go with are: Ducks, Teddy Bears, Pink Ribbons, Blue Cars, Frogs, Rattles, Baby Dolls, and Bassinets.
5. Plan a party time-frame.
Baby showers - unlike other parties - should not end at "???" Chances are that after the fun & games & cake, the expectant mom will be ready for a good nap, and your guests will be ready to head home. Plan to have no more than 3-4 party games, gift unwrapping, and cake cutting, followed by some mingling until the party end-time. Try not to cut the cake before the gift-unwrapping since the mom-to-be will probably miss out on eating her own cake if she's too busy unwrapping everything!
6. Make a master party-shopping list.
One big mistake you can make when party planning is to just head out and start buying. Chances are that you will under-buy or over-buy on something, and that's going to mean wasting time (and gas money!) on another trip back to the store. Pick out party games beforehand and figure out exactly how many tables there will be (and what size the tables will be) so that you can add to your list accordingly.
7. Hit the dollar store first.
The dollar store is probably one of the most overlooked options when planning a party. Not only do they have a vast array of items pre-made specifically for events like baby showers, but they are also a wonderful source for things like DIY centerpieces and party-game supplies (think notepads, pencils, toilet paper, diapers, baby dolls, etc.)! Shop here first to check items off your list as cheaply as possible.
8. Skip the catering.
Baby showers are rarely fun as a sit-down affair. These types of parties are about getting up and about, mingling, playing games, oohing and aahing about tiny baby items, and eating a big slice of cake. No one will be shocked or think the baby shower wasn't fun if you choose to serve a cake, beverages, and maybe a few cheese/cracker/veggie platters. Baby showers are generally held in the afternoon anyhow, between lunch and dinner, so your guests shouldn't be hungry for more than a snack! This will not only save you a lot of money but a lot of clean-up as well.
9. Give good game-prizes.
Most of us who have been to a baby-shower have come to realize that the baby-shower-game prizes usually aren't all that awesome. However, if you've ever been to a baby-shower where the prizes are good, you realize how much more fun they are. Offer up a nice candle, a gift certificate, or a box of fine chocolates and suddenly you have a room full of women squealing to diaper a baby-doll fastest while blindfolded... not to mention laughing and having a good time. The interest and enjoyment of your guests should not be overlooked since this is what often makes or breaks most baby showers. Yes, you should be paying attention to the guest of honor, but because you are hosting the party in her place it's also your duty to provide for her guests as she would!
10. Plan ahead for what comes after the party.
After the party ends, most people feel the sudden thud of responsibility hitting them square in the face. The guests are leaving, the mess needs cleaned up, the expectant mom wants to go home, and someone needs to get the gifts back to her house! Make sure you have a plan of action in place for clean-up before the party ever starts. Enlist someone to write down who gifted what during the unwrapping to make the job of sending thank-you's super-easy. Have a male family member pick up the unwrapped gifts during the cake-cutting to make one less job to do after everyone goes home. Let guests take the centerpieces home so you don't have to mess with them again. Bring extra trash-bags so you don't have to wait for the venue-staff to empty the can during clean-up. Go through the clean-up process in your mind so that you know what kind of obstacles you'll face and be able to handle and plan for them with ease.
Do you have a baby shower coming up? What's one-thing on your must-have list that you hope your guests will bring? I love talking with my readers, share with me below!
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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.