Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to plan a baby shower the mum-to-be will love!

Is there anything more exciting than welcoming a new baby into the world? Every birth is a miracle and deserves to be celebrated. There is no nicer gift you can give a mum-to-be, than to throw her a baby shower...to celebrate with family and friends, to have a bit of fun, and to help mum-to-be prepare for the impending birth of her precious little one.

In the next few weeks, I will become an Aunty again, and I'm in the midst of planning a baby shower for my sister-in-law. I am so excited, and I can't wait to meet my little niece!  This will be the second baby shower I have hosted, and second time around, I have a much clearer idea of what works...and I'm going to share it with you.  Let's begin...

1. Talk to the mum-to-be
It can be loads of fun planning a party, but you mustn't forget that the party isn't for you...it's for the mum-to-be. Her opinion should most definitely be considered.
  • Does the mum-to-be know the gender of her baby, or is it going to be a surprise? Perhaps she knows and would like to reveal the gender at the party?
  • Who would she like to invite?  Traditionally, a baby shower is just for women, but perhaps she'd like to invite both males and females.  Ask the mum-to-be to write a guest list for you.
  • When does she want to have it? You don't want to host it too late in the pregnancy, and risk the mum-to-be going into labour.
  • What type of shower would she prefer? Perhaps she'd prefer an intimate sit down lunch at a local cafe, to a big group of people at somebody's home.
  • What's her favourite cake flavour? Are there any particular foods she'd like to include? 
  • Does she like playing games? Not everyone likes to play games, however they can be loads of fun, and will give your guests something to do other than sitting and eating.
  • Does she have any special requests? Perhaps there's something she really doesn't like? For my own baby shower, I requested no teddy bears and no Winnie the Pooh. I didn't want my house filled with stuffed toys, and I didn't want my baby's nursery to be locked into one particular theme.
2. Start with your theme
Once you've sought the mum-to-be's input, it's time to get into the planning. Setting a theme for the baby shower will give you direction. There are loads of inspiring party planning websites out there that you can look to for inspiration. My favourites are Bump Smitten, and Kara's Party Ideas. Your theme could be based on the baby's gender, an animal, a colour scheme, a favourite childhood story, or perhaps a pamper party (the indulgence kind, not the nappies. lol).  Your theme will set the tone for the whole baby shower.

3. Gather your inspiration
This is where Pinterest becomes your best friend. As you research baby shower ideas on the internet, pin your ideas to a baby shower pinterest board.  You can pin anything and everything that inspires you...such as cake designs, recipes, decorations, invitations, gift ideas, you name it. Just make sure you pin from the original blog post, not the generic web address, that way you'll be able to return to the exact image, tutorial or recipe, and won't have to scroll through the whole site trying to re-find it. If you're not on pinterest yet, you will need an invitation. Send me an email, and I'll hook you up!

4. Source your location
There are a number of things to consider here:

  • What type of baby shower are you hosting?
  • How many people are being invited? Will they all fit?
  • What will the weather be like at that time of year?
  • What's your back up plan if your outdoor baby shower is threatened with rain?
  • Will your mum-to-be, be comfortable? Bear in mind, she may be heavily pregnant and not too happy to sit on the ground.
  • If you're hiring a venue, how much will it cost?
I have attended baby showers at people's homes, at cafes, and in local parks. All have been very lovely, and appropriate, for the type of baby shower being thrown. I prefer the intimacy of hosting a shower at someone's home, usually not at the mum-to-be's home. You want her to relax and enjoy the festivities, not fretting about having to clean up afterwards.

5. Create your invitations
Now that you've bedded down your theme, decided when to host the shower, and booked a venue, it's time to invite your guests. You may wish to use technology and invite guests by email, text or create an event in facebook. I prefer to send an invitation in the mail. This will give your baby shower more importance in the eyes of the guests, and it will set the tone for the baby shower...besides, it's always nice to receive something in the post that isn't a bill!

You can create handmade invitations, purchase fill-in-the-blank notepads, or have something specially designed. The benefit of having a designer do the hard work for you, is that they can create coordinating items for you too, such as advice cards, thank you cards, cupcake toppers, place cards, and much more. Having your invitations designed for you, isn't as expensive as you think. Many designers give you the option of having a high quality image delivered to your inbox, that you can print yourself. This is the option I'm going for this time around...printed on good quality paper. You could also print them on photo paper for as little as 9c per print!  A quick search of Etsy will reveal plenty of baby shower design options.
examples of invitations available from Etsy
sassyrae; whirlibird; inglishdigidesign;
greysquare; geldesign; blugrass
Don't forget to purchase coordinating coloured envelopes, and some fun postage stamps! The post office has quite a number of designs available for you, and they don't cost any more than regular stamps...teddy bears, flowers, or perhaps balloons.  You should send out your invitations 3-4 weeks before your event, to give your guests enough time to plan their time too.


Join me for part two of planning a baby shower, where we'll get into all the fun stuff...food, decorations, games and more!

Did you have a baby shower? What was the most memorable part of your celebration?

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