If you’re a 30-something year-old like me, you’re probably familiar with the wedding circuit. There’s at least one bridal shower, a bachelorette weekend, sometimes a lingerie shower, and of course, the wedding weekend itself. But if you think you’re done celebrating the couple after the wedding, think again. As the old adage goes: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes (insert baby name here) in the baby carriage.
And as any BFF knows… the baby shower.
New to baby shower planning? Don’t worry—we all were at some point. From one Millennial to another, here are some insider tips and tricks to help you as you shower your first soon-to-be momma with love. You’ve got this!
1. Get the basics out of the way early.
First pick a venue and a theme, and then send out invitations. To do so, get the guest list from your future momma, and based on numbers, narrow down your venue options. If you don’t have a home that can accommodate the group, pick a restaurant with a good terrace or a private dining room.
When it comes to themes, don’t limit yourself to a purely “pink” or “blue” theme, as the possibilities for a hip theme are endless; it can be anything from the mom’s favorite vacation spot or princesses, to a “King of the Jungle” party, or even a nautical theme. One easy way to choose is to look to the calendar for seasonal inspiration (like our ideas for spring, fall, and winter themes, or a summer patriotic theme!). If you’re going to include the dad-to-be and his friends, consider these 10 guy-friendly themes for a co-ed shower the couple is sure to love. Whatever you choose, plan to send out your invitations six weeks ahead of the shower date, and choose your venue and theme before that.
2. Set a budget.
When your favorite person is having a baby, it’s only natural that you want to do everything you can to make them smile. But as any shower planner knows, food, alcohol, invitations, gifts and favors can add up, so set a budget to make your life easier.
3. Don’t forget to consult with the guest of honor, when necessary.
The mom-to-be needs to approve the date, time, and guest list. As for the rest? Since you’re paying for it, it’s up to you! Because you’re a good friend, however, find out what the guest of honor really does or does not want and accommodate where you can.
4. Keep the food simple.
Most showers are thrown mid-morning or -afternoon, so a full meal really isn’t necessary. Find out your mom-to-be’s pregnancy cravings and food aversions, and serve appetizers that factor them in. A simple brunch is easy to prepare days beforehand and served the morning of the shower. Another creative option is a fun food bar, where all you have to do is prepare the ingredients and let the guests put their meals together! As for the cake, make that part of the décor. Bake it yourself if you can, or order a cute one- or two-tiered cake from your local grocery store or bakery.
5. Remember: It’s not a bachelorette party!
You’ll need drinks to wash down that food, so serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to keep your non-pregnant guests happy, too. Unlike your college nights out with the mom-to-be, however, choose just one or two types of alcohol. Don’t feel like you need a full bar! White wine, champagne, or a signature drink (like “Baby Bellinis,” perhaps?) is just fine. Consider creating a signature “mocktail” that the guest of honor can enjoy, too.
6. Etsy and Pinterest are your best friends.
Whether it’s invitations, decorations, game templates or themes, Etsy and Pinterest let you draw inspiration from professional planners and creatives alike. Check out a few of our favorite finds above, from invitations and decorations to favor tags!
7. When it comes to activities and games, pick what you would actually want to do.
Nine times out of ten, baby shower games are painfully cheesy. But if you have a little fun with it, they don’t have to be! Think of what you’d like to do. If you like crafting, set up a decoration station with plain white newborn onesies and craft pens. Play “Baby Jeopardy” with categories like “Famous Babies” and “Baby Tools.” If you want to spice it up, ask the future mom baby-related questions and make the guests drink when she gets one wrong. Want a few more fun ideas? We’ve got you covered! Check out these baby shower games for activities your guests will enjoy.
8. Do yourself a favor: Pick easy favors.
Keep your shower favors easy and pick things people will actually use. If you can, stick with the theme—take-home macaroons for a Paris-themed shower is perfect. If there isn’t an obvious choice for your theme, pick “girly” items like sugar scrubs, candy, homemade cookies, candles, nail kits, or even mini-bottles of bubbly.
9. Keep your mom-to-be happy… within reason.
Much like a wedding, all new moms dream about the fun their “baby year” will bring. And because you love her, you’ll want to make those dreams come true! That said, be cognizant of what you can handle. For example, if the future mom wants a fancy restaurant and a full lunch for 50 guests, don’t feel like you need to make it happen if it’s out of your budget. A shower doesn’t have to be extravagant to be good; it just needs to be personal, thoughtful and well planned. As a general rule, pick one or two things your mom-to-be really wants and use your knowledge of her taste to guide the rest.
10. Head to RegistryFinder.com to get your guest of honor the perfect gift.
Want to shower the future mom with a little extra love? Check out RegistryFinder.com to find out the gifts her and the baby really want or need. Don’t forget to add the website to the invitation so that guests know how to shop for them, too!
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Written by Jennifer Agress, a travel, dining and lifestyle writer and editor who has thrown four bridal showers, four lingerie showers, five bachelorette weekends, and now… a baby shower.