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baby home > unique baby shower ideas > baby shower planning guide

Baby Shower Planning Guide

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Baby Shower Overview

A typical baby shower lasts about 2-3 hours. As guests arrive, they are offered food and drinks and they mingle. Once all of the guests have arrived and had a chance to enjoy food and drink, about 30-45 minutes into the shower, the games begin. There are usually 3-5 different games lasting for another 30-45 minutes. After all of the games have been played and prizes awarded, the guest of honor opens her gifts. Then cake is served and the party ends. As a host, your day might start with preparing the food to be served at the shower. You should try to prepare as much as you can before the shower to avoid the stress of trying to get everything done before your guests arrive. It's a good idea to enlist the help of a few friends to set up for the party including decorating the venue.

Host To-Do's

Pre-Planning: One-Two Months Before the Shower

Your first job is to coordinate with the mommy-to-be on the date of the shower, the guest list, and the location of the shower so you can send out baby shower invitations. Here are your first steps to planning an awesome baby shower!

  1. Set the date. – the first thing to do is figure out a date that works for the guest of honor
  2. Make a guest list. – some things to consider are whether the shower will be for just the mom, or a couples? shower, all female, or co-ed, kids or no kids.
  3. Send save-the-dates. – once you have a firm date, it's a good idea, especially if the shower is more than 2 months away, to send out save-the dates. Save-the-dates can be mailed, e-mailed, or via electronic invitation (such as Evite, Pingg, and Paperless Post). At this time, you may or may not have chosen a venue yet, but it's still a good idea to get the date on everyone's calendar
  4. Choose a venue. – baby showers are often held at home, whether it's the home of the mommy-to-be or the host, but can also take place at a restaurant, tea house, banquet hall, park or any other space that can accommodate the party
  5. Order and send invitations. – once the venue is locked down, order your invitations and mail them to your guests. Consider ordering some invitations that match your baby shower theme or venue.

Planning the Details: 3-4 Weeks Before the Shower

Now that the date is drawing closer, it's time to plan the details of the shower! This is the fun part when you get to decide on the food, the games, the theme, and decorations.

  • Food – when planning the menu, take a cue from the theme of the baby shower and the time of day. If it's a tea party, your menu should consist of dainty finger sandwiches, sweets and pastries. If it's a spa shower, a cold noodle salad and fresh fruit might hit the spot. If the shower starts at 11 or noon, guests are probably expecting lunch, but if it's an afternoon shower, snacks and finger foods are perfect. If cooking isn't your thing, ask your favorite restaurant if they cater.
  • Decorationsbaby shower decorations can vary depending on the venue and the baby shower theme. A cute banner or garland goes a long way, but don't forget to accessorize it with plenty of balloons, paper poms, or lanterns. Hang your main decorations where most of the activity will take place (for instance, where the gifts will be opened) so that it makes a good backdrop to the pictures. Get some table settings that match the colors and set out some pretty flowers to add a special touch.
  • Games – Baby showers traditionally involve various games, although they are not strictly necessary. If you do decide to play some games, some popular baby shower games include "Baby Shower Bingo", "Baby Shower Price is Right", and "Dirty Diapers" among others.
  • Prizes – Be sure to purchase some prizes for the winners of your games to keep things interesting. Depending on the budget and number of games planned, you can pick up simple yet practical gifts such as stationery or kitchen accessories that anyone would find useful.
  • Favors – don't forget to order baby shower favors as a parting gift for guests. Favors can range from candy to toys or small keepsakes. Edible baby shower favors are always a hit and can make the perfect keepsake for a co-ed shower.

Baby Shower Etiquette FAQs

Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions baby shower etiquette:

Who should host the baby shower?
Typically, moms, sisters or friends of the parents-to-be host the baby shower, but anyone can play the part of the host(ess).

Are men allowed to attend baby showers?
Couple's showers or co-ed baby showers are very popular-- after all, it's just as important to shower the daddy!

How long do baby showers last?
A baby shower usually lasts 2-3 hours. Budget about 30-45 minutes at the beginning for guests to arrive, nibble on some food, and mingle with one another before the games / entertainment begin. Spend the next 30-45 minutes playing games. And the rest of the time having cake and opening gifts.

What are appropriate baby shower gifts?
The mom and/ or dad-to-be usually register at their favorite stores for baby shower gifts, but if in doubt, think about items that the couple will most need in the first few months. Items such as diapers, bottles, and plenty of onesies are always needed.

Is it okay to throw a shower for the second child?
Sure! It is perfectly okay to have a "second time mommy" baby shower. Many moms opt to have a smaller shower the second time around so make sure to talk to the guest of honor before planning on throwing one.

What kind of games do you play at a baby shower?
Baby shower games often serve as entertainment and as ice breakers for guests who may not know one another. Click here for a list of fun (and funny) baby shower games.

What are some baby shower themes?
A theme can be helpful in pulling together the look of the baby shower. If the guest of honor has a special interest or hobby, like cooking or crafts, you might plan a baby shower around those themes and incorporate them into the invitations, activities, gifts and decorations. Check out our comprehensive list of popular baby shower themes for more ideas.

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