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Baby Showers 101: Planning a Success

Baby showers are a wonderful gift for any expecting parent. They bring family and friends together and celebrate a new life. In the past, baby showers were only held in honor of the first baby of a family. Today, celebrations are held for every 'bundle of joy.'

Choosing a Theme

Thematically, baby showers are as diverse as ever. No longer is the focus solely on cutesy animals, bottles, and pacifiers. These days, a baby shower is an occasion to be creative. Whether it's an eco-friendly party, a 'peapod' event (for twins), or a diaper blowout, there's a lot of room for original takes - for making your baby shower as unique as it can be.

Consider these ideas and build on them:

  1. Eco-friendly: Food is organic, plates and utensils are biodegradable, and gifts are reusable and not wrapped in paper (e.g. many will use a onesie or blanket to wrap their present, which makes two gifts in one). For a game, avoid any waste. A good choice is 'Baby Photo,' where guests bring along baby photos of themselves. As the photos are drawn from a bowl, the guest(s) of honor attempts to make a match. No waste, but lots of laughs.
  2. Baby Animals: A classic theme that doesn't get old because of creativity. Invitations, decorations, and gifts should all reflect 'baby animals,' which is more versatile than you might think. For favors, you could fill goodie bags with tiny stuffed bears, decorative tins, and candy bars. For the chocolate, order personalized candy wrappers complete kittens, puppies, ducklings, etc.
  3. Diapers: With a diaper-cake centerpiece, this theme centers on the most expensive, most used baby item there is - diapers. Guests of course are asked to bring one package (in addition to any other gift they'd like). Games include 'Baby Items,' where guests are given 5 minutes to write down all the baby items they can think of. At the end of the timed round, prizes are given out to the longest list, as well as the list with the most original item.
  4. Clothesline: Also expensive are clothes. With this theme, guests can bring along clothes 'must-haves' for Baby, such as onesies, T-shirts, and diaper bottoms. String up a clothesline in the middle of the room and have guests pin their gifts up. For the cake, make it the shape of a T-shirt or a safety pin. As for a game, get extra clothespins, count them up and place them in a jar. Have guests guess how many are inside for a prize.

Setting a Budget

Note that when it comes to baby showers, it's not about budget, but how much thought and effort is put into the planning. You can spend a ton on decorations and a venue, but if it's rushed or disorganized in any way, the takeaway will likely be disappointment - for the guests of honor and their guests.

This is a major reason why party packs are less than ideal for a baby shower. You don't want to be limited in any way by what's included in premade kits as 1), most are too broad to match your specific theme and 2), it's unlikely the number of guests will match a specific number of kits; thus you end up with too much or too little.

Bottom line for a themed event, you want to keep it consistent throughout. Everyone sees the same and receives the same (plates, cups, favors, etc.). To achieve this, it's best to buy supplies and decorations individually. A crafts store like Michael's will have everything you need - all in one trip.

Tip: To help keep costs under control, set a budget before you begin shopping and stick to it. You'll end up finding a lot of bargains this way.

Did You Send the Invites?

Invitations should be sent at least two months before the baby shower. Unlike bridal showers, which can be held anytime before a wedding, baby showers are on a tight schedule. You want to hold it close to the due date, but within reason.

Once you've selected a date and location (home, church, or restaurant), you can send out the invites. Give guests enough time to decide and plan. RSVPs should be returned two weeks prior to the event for a final head count.

Include the following information on all invitations:

  • Name of the guest(s) of honor
  • Name of the person(s) hosting the event
  • Location
  • Date
  • Contact information (for directions, questions, RSVP)
  • Theme
  • Instructions (if guests need to bring anything)
  • Gift registry (handwritten)

Invitations should be chosen based on the theme or color scheme of your party. Stationers have dozens of designs to choose from these days and can work with you on designing something that's unique and original. Font, wording, and phrasing can do wonders in making an invite stand out.

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