How to Plan a Baby Shower
A baby shower is the perfect way to celebrate the mom-to-be and to help welcome her new baby into the world! Below, check out our guide to planning a baby shower, including tips and advice for baby shower themes, games, activities, decor, food, gifts, and more!
BABY SHOWER INVITATIONS + GUEST LIST
First things first: set the date. Figure out a good date and time for the shower. Baby showers typically take place during the last two months of pregnancy before the baby is due to arrive. As for a timeline, plan on 2-3 hours for the baby shower depending on the time of day you choose to host the party and the theme. A brunch baby shower, for example, could take place from 11 am–1 pm, while an evening baby shower could run longer, say from 7–10 pm. Baby showers are traditionally thrown for a mother’s first child, but modern mamas have been known to have smalle, more intimate baby showers for their second and third children too.
Second, create the guest list. It’s not uncommon to have more than one baby shower, so keep in mind who is hosting the shower when it comes to the guest list. For example, if your sister, mom, or aunt is hosting the baby shower, the guest list should include other family members. If friends are hosting the baby shower, the guest list should include friends. And so forth. You’ll also want to decide if the event will be for women only or if men and children will be invited too.
When it comes to invitations, consider mailing a paper invitation (the traditional method) or sending a digital invitation via Paperless Post or Minted.com (the modern method). Invitations should be sent at least three weeks in advance of the baby shower to allow sufficient time for guests to coordinate and RSVP.
BABY SHOWER IDEAS + THEMES
Consider a fun and festive theme for the baby shower. A theme is a great way to make your baby shower memorable and personal. When it comes to selecting a theme, think of traditional baby motifs, such as animals, teddy bears, tea party, rainbows, dinosaurs, etc. Classic children’s books or movies can also provide inspiration, such as a “Where the Wild Things Are”-themed baby shower or a Disney-themed baby shower. Colors are another great baby shower theme, from brights to pastels to neutrals or classic pink and blue. Another way to select a theme is to think of something unique to the mom-to-be: for example, get inspired by her favorite color, flower, food and drink, or travel destination, like a French countryside-themed baby shower of a Mexican fiesta-themed baby shower.
BABY SHOWER GAMES + ACTIVITIES
When it comes to baby shower games, there are two types of moms-to-be: those who love games and those who hate them. If the shower is for a mom who’s in the former camp, figure out a few fun and simple games that all guests can enjoy: think baby bingo, pin the diaper on the baby, baby-themed crossword puzzles, etc. If the shower is for a mom who’s in the latter camp, stick to opening presents as entertainment or consider a fun DIY activity instead, such as decorating onesies for the new baby, asking guests to write down their advice for the new parents, or even taking snapshots with a Polaroid camera to include in a guest book to commemorate the baby shower.
BABY SHOWER DECOR
Balloons are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to decorate a baby shower. Select balloons that match the color palette and theme of the baby shower. Create clusters of balloons around seating areas or tables, or try your hand at a DIY balloon garland., which makes a festive backdrop for photos too. Another fun balloon idea is to spell out the word BABY or the mom-to-be or baby-to-be’s first name in large mylar balloons (available at most party supply stores).
Flowers are also another great way to add flair to your baby shower. Choose blooms that coordinate with the rest of the baby shower decor, theme, and setting, or consider selecting the mom-to-be’s favorite stems. Create small centerpieces by clustering a few flowers together in a vase, or set up a DIY floral bar so guests can create a fresh arrangement to take home and enjoy as a party favor. You can find good, affordable blooms at your local floral wholesale or places like Costco and Trader Joe's. Or if your budget allows, consider hiring a florist to create a few custom floral creations.
BABY SHOWER FOOD + DESSERTS
When it comes to planning the menu for your baby shower, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed—focus on simple but satisfying finger foods and small bites without too much fuss. Don’t feel as though you have to prepare a four-course gourmet meal for all of your guests (unless that’s your thing, then by all means knock yourself out!). You can also make the baby shower a pot-luck event and ask guests to bring their favorite dish or assign specific dishes to guests. If your budget allows, another option is to hire a caterer to create some items for the baby shower or to pre-order items from a favorite restaurant or cafe.
Depending on the time of day the baby shower will take place, think of fresh, easy to prepare foods that can be consumed at room temperature by hand. For a brunch baby shower, consider mini pancake stacks, pastries, egg casserole, fruit salad, or a yogurt and granola bar. For an afternoon or evening baby shower, consider a charcuterie board, homemade pizza, frittata, chicken or shrimp salad, grilled meat and veggie skewers, or even a DIY taco bar for something delicious but casual.
As for satisfying that sweet tooth, consider setting up a candy bar or dessert buffet with the mom-to-be’s favorite treats, such as cupcakes, mini cakes, brownies, cookies, cake pops, rice krispy treats, peanut butter squares, and more. A candy bar featuring a variety of sweets, from gummies to licorice to chocolate and lollipops, can also double as favors for guests—just include some small cellophane or decorated bags, candy scoops, and ribbon for guests to scoop up their own little bag of candy to take home.
BABY SHOWER GIFTS
When it comes to baby shower gifts, there’s no shortage of great gift ideas! Most moms-to-be will create a baby registry, so if you're the gift-giver be sure to refer to her registry for gift ideas. Some common baby registry and gift items include a diaper bag, baby clothes, diapers and wipes, swaddles, books, pacifiers, and toys. Big-ticket items like a car seat or stroller are great ideas for group gifts.