How to Plan a Baby Shower

Person touching stomach of pregnant friend
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Few celebrations are happier than a baby shower. The parents-to-be are both excited and a little nervous about the future, grandparents who know what's coming can't wait for the big day, and guests are simply happy to share in the joy.

If you've accepted the task of planning a baby shower, here are the steps you need to follow and check off your list to make it memorable for the mom-to-be and fun for all the guests.

Tips for Unique Situations

All new babies deserve to be welcomed. Here's how to handle those special situations that may raise a few party planner questions.

  • Welcoming an adopted child: An adopted baby brings with it a different set of circumstances, and the type of celebration and timing of it may have to be adjusted from the traditional baby shower format.
  • Showering a second-time mom: Why should only first babies receive a shower? A second or later child is as eagerly anticipated as the first. Celebrate those later birth order children with party and gift ideas for parents who already have the basic necessities from their first arrival.
  • Organizing a baby shower at the office: A shower at the office can go a long way toward building team spirit, but the etiquette involved in this situation is a little bit different.
  • Throwing a shower after the baby arrives: Sometimes, out of necessity, a shower comes after the blessed arrival. The party is usually a light, casual, and quick event out of respect for the parents' new busy schedule and likely exhaustion.

Tip

Before you plan any baby shower, decide whether it is going to be a party for couples or for women only. If it's not a surprise shower, ask the parents-to-be what they might prefer.

Start With a Theme

Once you have an idea for the baby shower theme, it will be easy to plan your invitations, decorations, party favors, food, and even the games. You can choose a theme based on the baby's gender, if it's known, and if the mom-to-be is okay with it, or stick with gender-neutral themes. The future parents can be of inspiration, as well, using themes to reflect their interests, passions, or occupations.

Here are some inspirational ideas for baby shower themes:

  • Hawaiian luau, coastal, or beach style
  • Wonder Woman
  • Dinosaurs
  • Girl power
  • Harry Potter
  • Mermaids
  • Space or astronaut
  • Princesses
  • English tea party
  • Nautical
  • Parisian or another international flavor
  • Cowboy
  • A star is born
  • Vintage or boho style
  • Safari, wildlife, or favorite animals

Set the Tone With Invitations

So you've gone ahead and selected the theme, time, and place for your shower. The next step is to find the perfect baby shower invitation to set the tone for your party. Find traditional invitations at your favorite retailer, or create custom versions using popular online services offering baby shower e-vites or printables. These sites also help you find the right wording for invitations.

Gather your guest list for the shower, too. Ask the couple or mom-to-be for a guest list. If it's a surprise party, ask the couple's family members or best friends for the info, complete with the full names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. Request that lists are given to you two months before the date you've set for the shower to give you plenty of time to streamline or revise.

Tip

When putting invitations together, add any baby gift registries that the mom-to-be or couple may have created so guests don't have to guess what to bring.

Add Festive Decorations

Centerpieces and decorations set the tone for the baby shower. There are plenty of retail sources for decorations that fit your chosen theme, but you'll have more fun if you make a few custom decorations. Here are some ideas for DIY baby shower decor.

  • Create a diaper cake, which serves as a gift and a centerpiece.
  • Make giant baby blocks from cardboard boxes, paint, or tape.
  • Place smaller baskets as centerpieces on all the tables, and fill them with baby necessities like (new) bottles, pacifiers, and cloth diapers.
  • Balloons add color and joy at any party, so order bunches (don't skimp!) of helium balloons to fit the shower's theme.
  • Gender-reveal parties offer some innovative baby-shower decor ideas, such as filling a piñata with clues to spelling out the gender with balloons.

Purchase a Cake

The cake is one of the major highlights of a baby shower because it's part of the decor and theme as well as party food. Remember when choosing a cake to always take into consideration potential allergies guests may have, like gluten or peanuts. Here are a few ideas for baby shower cakes to get the ideas rolling.

  • A gender-reveal cake that reveals the answer once the cake is cut into.
  • A sheet cake shaped like a onesie.
  • A pull-apart cupcake cake: a large "cake" design comprising many cupcakes covered with decorative frosting.
  • A cake with a topper of two or three babies to signal twins or triplets.

Break the Ice With Games

We know they may seem hokey at first, but baby shower games—even simple ones like bingo—help to break the ice as well as encourage guests of different generations and genders to feel comfortable sharing their childbirth and parenting experiences. Here are some ideas to help you plan.

  • Co-ed baby shower game: For loads of laughs, create a "baby Pictionary" game where couples compete over who can draw and guess various baby- and pregnancy-related items or situations.
  • Interactive game: Give guests the heads up that they can't say the word "baby" during the shower, and, if they do, they will be tagged with a sticker by whoever hears. The guest with the most stickers wins a gag door prize.
  • Fun for all game: Inspire laughter when you ask every guest to bring a baby picture of themselves to the shower, and then have everyone guess who belongs to which photo.

Save the Memories

One of the best gifts you can give the guest of honor is keepsakes of the shower. Here are ways to provide memories of the event.

  • Advice: Create a guest book, chalkboard, or large card that all the guests can sign with their best parenting advice.
  • Photos: Assign someone to take photos and videos to capture the festivities, and then create a photo book or scrapbook.
  • Books and wishes: Instead of a card, ask every guest to bring a children's book that they've signed with a heartfelt message of wishes for the baby and parents.

End With Party Favors

Send your guests home with a little reminder of the special day. There are many fun DIY baby shower favors to give guests as they leave. Here are some typical favors for guests of baby showers.

  • Soaps, cookies, or candies in the shape of baby footprints.
  • Champaign split with a custom label commemorating the day.
  • Seed packets, also customized with a label celebrating the event.