Have you ever thrown a baby? Me neither, but my cousins do it all the time at family reunions and it freaks me out. I have thrown multiple baby showers so a friend who’s about to throw their first shower recently asked me for help and ideas.
So, here are the basic steps of a shower:
1. Compile a guest list — Invite people you and the mother-to-be will actually enjoy spending time with. I honestly don’t think the promise of more gifts is worth inviting the annoying coworker who spends a good portion of her time making fat jokes behind your pregnant friend’s back and taking bites out of her sandwich in the lunchroom. If the shower is not a surprise, definitely get the list directly from the showeree.
2. Pick a date — Call the most important guests in advance and find a date when you’re sure they’ll be able to come. I’ve had to reschedule showers in the past because we planned everything, invited the guests and NO ONE could make it on that date. Ask around first.
3. Choose a location — Personally if I’m hosting a shower, I like to do it at my home, as long as the guest list is small enough. I don’t believe you should ever have to pay for the location to host a baby shower. If your guest list is truly huge, make friends with a millionaire and host it at their house.
4. Invite guests — I’ve done everything from hand-delivered homemade cards to mailed invitations to e-vites. Personally I like the mailed invitations the best. It’s just fun to get some good mail every once in a while. It’s also a fun keepsake for the baby book. In addition, I like to send out an evite as a reminder and to keep track of RSVPs.
5. Plan some activities — There’s a big debate in the baby shower world over games, activities and favors. You’re not in on this hotbed of violent discussion? Count yourself lucky. I’ve been to showers with no fewer than 10 games, showers where the game-nazi host literally yells at everyone to stop talking every time some spontaneous fun is initiated because it’s time to start the next game. This gets obnoxious. I tend to be of the “less is more” camp when it comes to planning every second of the shower.
A game or two really does help to break the ice, especially when you’ve got a group of people who don’t know each other very well. Have a couple of emergency activities up your sleeve in case the conversation doesn’t seem to be going well, but if people are having fun on their own, let em go and don’t be offended that you didn’t make it through your whole agenda.
As for party favors, I could take them or leave them but I do think there should be little presents for the winners if you have a game. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
6. Organize food — Regardless of what time of day you have the shower, you’re gonna need to feed these ladies. Your choices range anywhere from a bowl of dried prunes thrown out on the table (very good for regularity) to a full catered meal. I tend to opt for small finger foods, something sweet (Mini brownie bites with a dab of whip cream and a raspberry on top are nice.), something salty (I tend to go with a fabulous and easy crustless quiche recipe I have that’s always a hit.), some fruit (A fruit tray can be really spiced up with a nice dip. One of the best dips I know is just a small jar of marshmallow cream whipped with a tub of strawberry cream cheese. Delicious!), and maybe a veggie tray. If you plan to go the luncheon route, croissant sandwiches are always a good option combined with a simple salad and dessert. For drinks I nearly always go all out and add sliced lemon to ice water. (I know. Oooo and Awww!)
7. Get Decorations — Now again, I say go easy. My favorite baby shower decoration is a rope with cute little baby clothes clipped on with clothespins. Place this across the mantle or some other prominent place, put a few bunches of helium balloons in strategic places and a simple tablecloth on the table and you’re good. If you want to go the extra mile, buy a bouquet of brightly colored fresh flowers to put on the food table, along with some white candles. You can use really inexpensive white plates, napkins and cutlery, no need to get all cutesy with the baby-face-engraved Chinette.
8. Party Party Party
Lastly I’d like to share a couple of games that can be fun.
-One of my favorites may be sick and wrong if you think too hard about it but it’s always been a hit. You buy tiny plastic babies from a party supply store and then freeze them in ice cubes. Once everyone’s arrived, explain that whoever’s baby is “born”/unfrozen first, wins the game. This game’s fun because everyone’s getting to know each other while holding their drink and keeping an eye on their baby. Very low maintenance.
-There’s the old standard strip-jars-of-baby-food-naked-and-try-to-guess-what-flavor-they-are game. This has many variations where you can allow the guests to smell, touch or even taste the food. I have found no sanitary or pleasant way to do this last version so I’d advise against it.
-Hand out a quiz as guests are coming in with multiple choice questions about the pregnancy, possible names for the baby and other interesting facts about the mom and baby to be. Whoever gets the most answers right wins. I like to put at least one totally ridiculous answer with each question. People chuckle over it and it gets them talking as they fill in their answers.
Be sure to have someone record the gifts and who they all came from so your guest of honor can write thank you notes.
I’d love your input. What makes a good shower? Do you have any memorable baby shower activities or experiences you’d like to share?