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Bring on the Baby Shower! An Essential Guide to Planning the Perfect Shower …

With all of the aches, pains and worries that can come with pregnancy, Mums-to-be (MTB) deserve a day to be showered with friendship, fun and gifts!

If you’ve been given the daunting task of organising a friend’s baby shower and don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a simple how-to guide to take away the stress and help you to enjoy planning a baby shower that will stick in the memory…for all the right reasons!

General Baby Shower Etiquette

Before we begin to talk about the general etiquette for baby showers, it’s important to note that there aren’t any strict rules. It’s your party - do what you wish. We have heard of celebratory clubbing, spa days and even salsa showers! Nothing is off-limits and every baby shower is unique to the MTB, who you will know far better than anyone. There’s no rule that says that only women should attend the shower or that the mother has to open her gifts at the party. The only important thing is that you take the time to celebrate mum and baby in a way that you know they’ll be comfortable with

When should you host the shower?

Showers tend to happen around four to six weeks before the baby’s due date. Any later could be a little risky, as the last few weeks of pregnancy can be exhausting and unpredictable. Have you checked with MTB that your suggested date doesn’t clash with any medical appointments? Her plans to paint the nursery? Or even time set aside with her partner before life changes forever? Make sure your date really works for your friend.

How many people to invite?

The host should choose how many people to invite in accordance with how many people they are comfortable accommodating. A baby shower is usually an intimate and personal occasion so is generally limited to close friends and families. Ask the mother who she wants to invite so that you don’t forget anybody important!

How much to spend on a gift?

This will probably depend on how close you are to the MTB. A general rule of thumb is that family members buy the bigger, essential gifts such as cots and baby chairs and friends tend to give more personal and unique gifts. But, of course, not all mothers will have close family members and not all mothers will invite many friends so again, these are not hard and fast rules. In truth, your MTB appreciate the thought you put into your gift, not what you spend.

It’s become quite a trend to personalise gifts with baby’s name, date of birth, weight and so on, but of course you won’t know all of these details until the little one arrives. Why not make your baby shower gift one that’s more about pampering your MTB – a gift to help her feel nice while she waits for the baby to arrive or something lovely for the bath that she can enjoy after the baby’s born. It’s amazing what a luxury a relaxing bath can be in those first few weeks of motherhood!

Invitations

When your guests receive your invitation, you want them to feel excited. Baby showers are meant to be fun and your invitation should reflect this. If you have a theme, make sure your invitations match it, but even if you don’t have a theme as such, there’s still plenty of room to be creative.

  • Why not make up a fun little nursery rhyme for the invitation? Release your inner poet!
  • Style the invitation in a newspaper bulletin - a baby on the way is big news after all.
  • Everybody loves a bit of nostalgia so style your invitation in the form of a popular child’s book. Who hasn’t read The Very Hungry Caterpillar?
  • Have a fun play-on-words and send invites in the style of a library card with a ‘due date’

Our top advice for baby shower invitations is to think very personal or very creative!

Decorations

Before your guests arrive, you’ll need to make sure the place is nicely set out and decorated tastefully - whether you’re out in the garden or in somebody’s lounge. It all depends on your budget but don’t forget that beautifully decorated cakes and snacks also add to a decorative feel.

  • You can’t go wrong with floral arrangements and they can be relatively inexpensive depending on where you look. For a classic feel and if only for the pun - go with Baby’s Breath as a nice accent flower.
  • Stylish decanters, fancy glasses or even vintage teacups for the drinks can also double up as decorative items, so whip out your posh crockery to add a special feel to the day.
  • Hanging paper lanterns, bunting or banners can add a minimalistic but effective tone to the party.
  • If the MTB hasn’t developed an aversion to candles (when you’re pregnant, fragrances that you once loved can become intolerable!), they can be a lovely addition and add to a relaxed atmosphere.

It’s about making the most of the space you’ve got - obviously candles won’t work for a garden party that takes place during the day. You’ll have to evaluate the space you’ve got and then you’re your decisions from there …

What sort of food should I prepare?

No party, baby shower or otherwise, is complete without drinks and nibbles. Here are a few ideas to bring some fine dining to the shower:

  • Being well stocked with bubbly can add a tasteful touch but you’ll need to be mindful that MTB won’t be able to enjoy it with the rest of you, she’ll be staying on the juices. Will there be other pregnant women in your MTB’s circle of friends? If you think she’d be ok with everyone around her enjoying a drink to toast her bump (your friend might even suggest you ‘have one for her’), fetch the corkscrew…
  • A popcorn bar is a fun twist - having different flavoured popcorn out on a table lets your guests snack without worrying too much about the calories.
  • If you’re a creative baker, bake some cookies and cut them into baby-themed shapes. How about a bottle-shaped cookie? Bottle biscuits?
  • Along with cookies, you can’t go wrong with other sweet baked goods such as muffins, cakes and buns. How about these baby-shaped cupcakes or these rattle-shaped ones?

  • If you’re feeling like your decorations are limited, take a champagne flute and fill it with small, colourful sweets such as the aptly named jelly babies. A few of these simple decorations will break up any beige / neutral food that you may have on display.
  • An additional snack that hosts tend to forget? The mother’s special pregnant cravings! If MTB suddenly goes into diva mode and needs chips dipped in cola or battered chocolate bars, you’d better be prepared!

If you don’t want to arrange food and snacks, it’s not the end of the world. But it’s all about having a great atmosphere and keeping everybody happy - so if you don’t have food, make sure you have some great activities planned …

Games and Activities

Some guests will groan when you say you’ve got some games and activities planned, others will get excited (some, almost too excited!). So planning activities all depends on your potential guests.

  • If your guests don’t mind, encourage them to bring baby photos of themselves and ask everybody guess who is who. This can be a fun, ice-breaking game and is considered a baby shower classic!
  • Create a jar and call it the Baby Bucket List Jar. When there’s a quiet time at the party, encourage guests to write down a fun activity or experience that you think all children should have in their first few years. This will give MTB plenty of ideas and inspiration for things to do with her new baby once they’re settled into a routine!
  • Get the glitter pens and the glitter glue out for bib and onesie decorating! Not only is this a fun activity but the MTB will have reserve of extra bibs for extra messy days (and it’s these chaotic days in which mums most need to be reminded of their friendships and support network!)

  • A game for the quick witty thinkers - who can come up with the best baby song title? ‘Live and Let Diaper’ or ‘Oh, Nappy Days!’ …
  • Put together a celebrity baby quiz for those guests who maybe read too many lifestyle and celeb magazines. Who famously named her babies Apple and Moses? Whose baby is called North West?
  • Everybody loves a quick bingo game because they know where they are with it. Make bingo cards for each guest with common gifts in each square. Guests can then tick off the bingo squares as the mother-to-be opens her presents.
  • Give each guest a sheet of paper and pen and ask them to write out a motivational message of love for the mother. When she’s in times of great stress (which will be more often than she probably thinks at the time of the baby shower!), she can then read them and remember that she has friends and family around for support and that she’s not alone!

Party Favours

It’s always nice to thank the guests for coming once the food has been eaten and the games have been played. What can you send away guests with as a thoughtful party favour?

  • How about a small flower bouquet - possibly with Baby’s Breath to tie in with the decorations?
  • Herbal gifts can go down a treat as they’re nice to give but are also pretty handy for those guests who love to cook.
  • Nowadays you can get inexpensive novelty badges, t-shirts or hats which can be fun mementos. Some call it tacky, some call it fun – call it what you like - it’s all about your guests and what you think will make them smile!
  • If there is leftover food, by all means let your guests take some home. Make sure you have some napkins and party bags to hand – no one wants to transport a cupcake in their handbag…
  • If your invitation is interesting enough, it may be a keepsake in itself!

Baby shower guests won’t automatically expect party favours so these can be a nice surprise and will leave guests walking away with a smile on their face.

Other Things to Think About

No matter how much you plan, there will always be things you forget or things you wouldn’t dream to think about - so here are some additional tips and ideas that can make the party run seamlessly:

  • Seating - make sure you have enough chairs (or even beanbags or large cushions) for the amount of guests that may come. Make sure you have extras too just in case somebody brings along an unexpected plus-one.
  • Do you have a place to put gifts? - You don’t want to be struggling for space and end up playing jenga with boxes and bags. Set out a nice table and once the presents come, you can make a nice stack (an additional decorative display!)
  • An unwrapping kit - make sure you have all of the things your mother-to-be will need if she wants to open her gifts at the party.
    • Scissors
    • A large bag for rubbish
    • A notepad to keep track of who has given what – nothing affects the memory like ‘baby brain’…
  • Another handy tip is to have colour coded bags for when your mother-to-be wants to take her gifts home. Have one colour bag for baby toys, another for baby clothes and another for ‘mum gifts’. It keeps things organised and we’re confident that when MTB is enveloped in mess and stress, she’ll appreciate knowing where that lovely bubble bath and candle set got to…
  • If you’re hosting a baby shower outside, make sure to have a rain plan in place. It sounds obvious but we all know how unpredictable the weather can be in the UK.

Don’t forget to share this guide!

We really hope you found this baby shower guide useful - don’t forget to share it with any of your friends who might be planning a shower at the moment. Let us know if you have any additional tips and tricks by tweeting us at @CaboodleBags and we might feature your tip in an updated guide in the future!