Throwing a baby shower can be a daunting task, and many hostesses or hosts often find themselves overwhelmed by the finer points that have to be considered.   Things like who to invite, what to make, and what games to play can be quickly forgotten while you are trying to arrange the venue and who will be driving the guest of honor.  I have seen many baby showers where a name has been forgotten on a guest list – even Monica and Phoebe from Friends forgot to invite Rachel’s mother to Rachel’s shower – and I have been to baby showers where guests have found themselves milling around since no games had been planned.

Despite all of these faux pas that can occur, a baby shower is truly what you bring to it.  If you forget a few games or maybe miss out a name or two, it can be corrected, although sometimes with great effort and many gifts to sooth hurt feelings.  With our 8 step guide, however, we will make sure that you have crossed all yours, dotted all yours and have all those guests, decorations and meticulous details lined up in a perfectly shining row.

1.  Who, What, and Where

We all know the what (it’s a baby shower!) but do we know all the rest.  Planning a baby shower is centered on three important elements, and they should be decided upon before you start planning anything else.  These include deciding who will be hosting the party; whether it will be hosted by an individual or if it will be co-hosted by two or more people, what special considerations do you need to take into account; will you need dad there, are you having it after baby arrives, and where will you be hosting it; at a restaurant or in your home.  After all of these questions have been answered, it is time to start planning everything else.

2.  All the Little Things 

They may not seem like little things when you actually sit down and start going through them, but they can often be lost in the flurry of activity surrounding the planning of a baby shower.  Things like setting up the perfect date and time that will accommodate all of the important guests like the expecting mother, her parents, siblings and parents-in-law.  It is surprising how that trivial thing like a date and time can throw so much stress into the planning process. 

After that, you need to figure out what type of budget you have and how you are going to stretch the budget or not stretch it if you are lucky enough.  Lastly, you want to plan out the timeline, not only for what will be happening at the party but also what you will need to do in the weeks leading up to the baby shower.   Once you have all of these little things sketched out, started and decided upon, it’s time to figure out theme. 

3.  Planning the Theme 

I just love a well thought out theme, and I’m no exception.  There is nothing more enjoyable than arriving to a house filled with soft green balloons, hints of lavender and the occasional parasol accessorized drink circulating around the room.  Themes can add so much dimension to a baby shower, and you can do just about anything from the color pink to the season in which baby will be arriving. 

There really is no wrong way to plan a theme so it comes down to knowing what the expecting mother would like.  If she isn’t one for themes, no worries, just throw the theme away and have an eclectic party (rainbow colors anyone?).  One word of caution: a theme can be overdone to the point where it stops looking sweet, breathtaking or simple, and becomes a gaudy entity of its own.

4.  The Guest List

Before you dare to click here, have a nice bottle of aspirin handy and keep it close at hand until all the guest lists have been checked several times and those invitations have been sent out.  This can be the Achilles heel of a baby shower and if you could do a baby shower without guests, I would suggest it.  Unfortunately, it can’t be done so stop avoiding it and let’s get down to business. 

When you are drafting your guest list, you are going to have to figure out who should come, who is in the proverbial dog house and if you will need to throw a secondary baby shower.  Also decide if it is a “girl’s only” engagement or if you will be inviting everyone.  Creating a guest list can be a daunting task but the best advice that can be offered is to plan out the guest list with a family member that knows all the dirty secrets and long standing grudges, ask the grandmothers about who they would like invited, and ask the expecting father to lend a hand or a word of advice.

5.  Let’s make it a Party 

Now that the important steps have been taken care of, it’s time to start having a little fun.  Nothing beats shopping and this can be said about purchasing the decorations and invitations that you are using.  These can range from simple yet elegant to the extravagant but remember both your theme and your budget while you are spending.  And what party is complete without the games!  That’s where planning can bring laughter to your lips instead of stress lines to your forehead.  So don’t forget, you want games, decorations and invitations – it is a baby shower party after all.

6.  Creating the Perfect Menu 

Not every party is going to serve Lobster Bisque, but every party will need to have some type of food for the guests.  Creating a menu can be difficult, but it can be very simple if you take into consideration how much you have to spend, what time of day the baby shower is at, and also if you will be preparing the meal yourself or having it catered.  Don’t feel like you have to serve a meal since finger foods can provide a filling alternative and make the atmosphere less formal. Having a potluck baby shower is another way to offset the costs of hosting a shower and also ensures that there is something there for everyone.  Don’t forget to mention it on the invitations if you are having a pot luck and always remember that there is no such thing as too many desserts.

7.  It’s all about the Bling 

Now who goes to a baby shower for the baby, not many because secretly everyone is going for the bling, whether it’s the bling they bring or the bling they receive. Ok, maybe we are exaggerating just a little bit here but party favors, prizes and gift bags will take a well-planned baby shower from being centered on just the mom to being fun for everyone. Finding the right party favors, prizes and gift bags can be a challenge but don’t feel that you need to conform to traditional accessories.  Spice them up, make them practical or make them personal and you will have your guests competing for those cherished prizes to get the party going. 

8.  The Wrap Up 

We like to say that it all ends the moment the guests leave and in a perfect world, it would.  As many of us know, we don’t live in a perfect world and there will be things to consider as you finish up a baby shower.  Things like how you will end the party, when you will give out gift bags, how your expecting mom is going to get her presents home, and when you will have to politely ask the stragglers to leave, should be taken into consideration before the party.  Also, figuring out who will help with clean up, what you will do with lost items that have been found and where the leftovers are going should be planned ahead of time to make it easier when the time comes.  It is funny how the end of the party has a million and one things to consider and may require a planning committee all on its own.