Planning a baby shower can almost feel like planning a wedding. As the host, you surely want the party to be perfect for the expectant parents you’re celebrating, and there are quite a few things to plan for. While it can feel overwhelming to think about finalizing a guest list or deciding what games to play, there are simple steps you can take to make the event fun and easy.
Whether the event will be held in-person or virtually, here’s a checklist to follow when hosting a baby shower.
1. Think about the basics
First, decide where the party will be held (your house? a country club? a local park?). You might hold the event at a spot the parents-to-be love, whether it’s a restaurant they’re partial to, a family member’s house or a park they frequent. Next, work with the parents-to-be to finalize the guest list.
As for when to schedule the shower? While there’s no right or wrong time, many parents-to-be prefer the second or early- to mid-third trimester — by then, the mom-to-be is far enough along to be showing and her baby registry is set up, but she’s not so close to her due date that she’s feeling overly tired.
2. Send the invitations
Next on your list is to let guests know about the event by sending out invitations. Include essential information such as the time, date and location, as well as RSVP details and registry information.
3. Decide on a baby shower theme
Once you’ve checked the basics off your list, it’s time for the fun part — planning the party! It may feel like there are tons of to-dos, but one of your first decisions can help dictate the rest: choosing a theme.
While it’s certainly not essential, many hosts find that it’s helpful to have a baby shower theme. A theme helps everything else come together seamlessly, from what your invitations will look like to the decorations that you’ll decide on.
Not sure how to pick a baby shower theme? You can look to a favorite children’s book (like Goodnight Moon or The Velveteen Rabbit), a sweet animal (owls, rabbits and storks are all popular choices), the guest of honor’s favorite locale (Paris-themed for an all-things-French lover, for example). Think about what the parent-to-be would enjoy to make it personal and extra-special.
4. Plan the menu
Serve up some of the parent-to-be’s favorite foods, or choose a menu that sticks with the theme or color palette. Some little touches you can incorporate: a rainbow-of-fruit display, a pregnancy-safe and Pinterest-worthy charcuterie board, an ice cream sandwich bar, an all-sweets buffet or DIY cocktails and mocktails.
Hosting the shower virtually? You might send guests a simple list of ingredients to create a fun beverage ahead of time, and virtually toast when you’re all together on camera.
5. Set the stage with baby shower decorations
Baby shower decorations can be elaborate (a welcome sign, floral centerpieces and balloons) or relatively simple (just some flowers). You don’t have to go all-out and revamp the space — instead, zero in on a few noteworthy details, from a pretty buffet table to an aesethetically pleasing photo wall, for example.
If your baby shower is virtual, consider sending guests a special Zoom background that will make everyone feel connected even when they’re physically apart.
6. Have fun with baby shower games
While your guests will be busy chatting, eating and watching the guest of honor open her adorable gifts, many hosts also like to plan some fun activities. You might have one big activity, like asking everyone to decorate plain white onesies for the new baby or one fabric square of a quilt, or a number of smaller (but equally entertaining) baby shower games.
While they’ll certainly be fun, games are equally important for making the baby shower memorable. They’re a great icebreaker (“What’s your favorite memory of the parent-to-be?”) and open the door for other parents to pass on advice when appropriate.
7. Consider personal touches
Don’t forget that the party is in honor of the parents-to-be, so shower them with a few of their favorite things. Make sure the menu include some of their faves. And throw in a few extras they’ll get a kick out of: favorite songs playing, flowers they love on the table or a festive photo booth.
Speaking of photos, they’re an easy way to personalize any party, and baby showers are no exception. Go with baby pictures of the parents-to-be (and even of the future grandparents, aunts and uncles) or cute shots of the guest of honor at various stages of her pregnancy — or all of the above. You can display them in frames on the tables or a mantle, string up copies with baby-size clothes pins over the buffet or include them in other details, like the invitations.
8. Select baby shower favors
Baby shower favors aren’t essential, but it’s always a nice gesture to give guests a token thank-you gift as they head out. You don’t need anything big — scented body wash, sweet treats or a small potted plant are all thoughtful choices. You can even send guests home with something from the event itself, like a bud vase with a single bloom from the tables or a pretty gift bag full of candy from the dessert buffet.
Or, opt for DIY favors that your guests work on during the shower, like a sugar cookie they decorated or a little potpourri sachet they made. Another option: Dress up store-bought favors with some creative packaging that’s in line with your theme.
No matter how elaborate or simple you go, get help from those close to the parent-to-be (and even the guest of honor it’s not a surprise event). It will all come together beautifully for a baby shower they’ll never forget!