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How to Plan a Baby Shower

Life can be one long party, and there’s no better reason for a celebration than having a baby. The baby shower is usually done to mark the occasion of your first baby, but more and more couples are having a get-together for their second, third or fourth too!

So whether this is your debut in the world of parenthood, or you’re a seasoned pro and are just looking for a good excuse for a party, we’ve got all the info you need to plan the perfect baby shower.

Part 1: Planning

Picking a party type

The first thing to do is to establish what kind of event you're hosting. Is it one to announce that you’re actually having a baby to your friends and family, or if they already know, perhaps it’s a gender reveal party?

You might opt to ask people to roll their sleeves up at a painting party where you decorate the new nursery, or maybe something more sophisticated like an afternoon tea. There’s no set structure, so let your imagination run wild.

Deciding who to invite

Traditionally the baby shower is a female-only event, but why shouldn't the men be welcome too? It puts a very different spin on your party when both sexes are involved, but can ultimately be more rewarding as you hear about tales of parenthood from both sides of the coin.

You should try and get a mix of old friends plus some of the other moms-to-be that you will have met recently. Soon, both these worlds will collide so it’s nice for everyone to get to know each other.

The big question is whether your friends with kids can bring their little ones. Obviously, you may want a chance to catch up with your adult friends without their attention being elsewhere, but consider additional childminding costs for them and how that might affect attendance rates.

Choose the date

Roughly seven months into the pregnancy — when comfort levels have yet to reach the unbearable point — are generally when baby showers take place, but there’s no reason to stick to that schedule.

The best thing to do is base it on when most of the people you want to attend are available. Everyone leads busy lives, so put a few dates out there and see which ones stick.

Set a budget

You may or may not have heard; babies are expensive!

While you want to mark the occasion by doing something special, that doesn't mean that you have to break the bank. You’ll regret it massively in a few months time when the shopping bill comes in with your first purchase of diapers.

Keep it simple and remember it’s an event for friends and family, not razzmatazz.

Part 2: Preparation

  1. Invitations
    Electronic methods like text, email or social media are perfectly acceptable forms of invitation these days if you’d prefer not to go down the card route.
  2. Venue
    Most baby showers take place at home, but it doesn't have to be your home! Perhaps your parents or a close friend have somewhere more suitable than your house if it’s not party suitable - and of course, there’s always the option of hiring a venue.
  3. Food
    Small bitesize snacks are usually more appropriate than a meal, and you can save a lot by timing your party between traditional meal times then people won’t expect to be fed.
  4. Drink
    You might not be able to drink, but your guests might want to. To accompany the usual options, an alcohol-free cocktail would be a nice option, perhaps themed around your imminent arrival. Anyone for a Pink Fizz or Blueberry Lemonade?
  5. Music
    A baby shower is much more suited to some subtle background tunes rather than one where a DJ might be getting folks dancing. Put together a playlist that spans the duration of your event so you're not constantly changing the tracks.
  6. Activities
    The games played at baby showers are infamous and can be hilarious. Challenging guests to put in a diaper while blindfolded or match celebrity babies to their moms are great ways to get guests talking, especially if they don't know each other.
  7. Decoration
    A balloon arch is an excellent way of making a normal house turn into a party venue. The color ranges are endless, so you could go with a gender themed option, or one that matches the decor of your home.

Part 3: Buildup

Set up a chat group

If the details of your party are likely to change, or you just want to have some pre-party chatter, a WhatsApp group is a really good way to build anticipation for your event. You might even want to ask everyone in the group to share their baby photos which you could display at your party as a nice ice breaker.

Share a gift wishlist

It may be awkward to ask guests what to buy you, but most will want to contribute, and they’d usually prefer to know what you might need rather than get you another bodysuit that won't be worn.

What to wear

A baby shower is like any other party and you’ll obviously want to put on something special.

Maternity wear can be expensive and it’s a big ask to but something new just for the event. Ask around your mom friends to see if they have any nice outfits from their pregnancy days, or check out second hand sales for something special.

Prepare the venue

If you’re having your party at home, give it a good clean (or pay someone to do it for you), mow the lawn if you’re having it outside and make sure you let the neighbours know there’s going to be a bit of noise coming from the house. They’ll have to get used to it anyway when the baby comes along!

Part 4: On the day

  1. Send out a reminder
    Hopefully everyone will be able to make it, but it’s nice to know if people need to pull out at the last minute so you can prepare.
  2. Check the weather
    If you’re planning on being outside, make a contingency plan in case things don't look like they will go your way.
  3. Get the food prepared
    If there’s anything you can do in advance, do. You don’t want to be watching the timer and holding a pair of oven cloves as your guests arrive.
  4. Rearrange the furniture
    Try and create a big communal area where everyone can congregate. If you don’t have enough chairs at home, hiring them is a relatively inexpensive way to make your guests more comfortable.
  5. Introduce guests to each other
    Not everyone is comfortable when walking into a party, so try and steer people towards people with whom they’ll have something in common.
  6. Guest book
    Put out a book and ask people to put in their tips for parenting. Hopefully, there will be some useful pointers in there to look back on when you most need them!
  7. Speak to everyone
    They’ll want to congratulate you, but make sure you ask about how their life is going too; remember they’re your guests. Be prepared for those with kids to moan about them, but don't let it put you off - they love them really!
  8. Keep the games fun
    If anyone is looking awkward when faced with a diaper with a melted candy bar in it, have an alternative to change to rapidly so the mood doesn’t sour.
  9. Keep the food and drink coming
    Keep an eye on everyone’s glass, but also make it known they’re able to help themselves so you don’t turn into staff at your own party

Part 5: Once it’s over

Share photos

Hopefully, your guest will have enjoyed your event enough to have taken lots of photos. Ask them to put all these together into a shared album so everyone can enjoy them.

Send out a thank you message

Even though your original invite may have been via electronic methods, the thank you card is much better received via post, especially if you make mention of the gift they provided. And when you’re signing it, don't forget to include a little note from The Bump’.

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