Host a Perfect Baby Shower
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Anonymous, Eng and 3 others
The long wait is almost over. The stork is at hand and it's time to have a baby shower. For a radiant mom-to-be it's the new hen night and a shower is a good time to party and have a big bang before the "due date." This is the perfect opportunity to ask the expectant mother's closest pals and relatives to celebrate.
As a close friend or relative, you may find yourself in a position where you have to put together a baby shower for a person you really like, but you don't know where to start. Take heart, you can now learn how to host the perfect shower without driving yourself crazy.
- 1 Women Have Done Showers Through the Ages
- 2 Invitations Related
- 3 Things to prepare
- 4 A Blow-by-Blow Checklist
- 4.1 Seven weeks before the shower
- 4.2 Six weeks before the shower
- 4.3 Five weeks before the shower
- 4.4 Four weeks before the shower
- 4.5 Three weeks before the shower
- 4.6 Two weeks before the shower
- 4.7 One week before the shower
- 4.8 Two days before the shower
- 4.9 The day before the shower
- 4.10 The morning of the shower
- 5 It's party time!!!
- 6 Questions and Answers
- 7 Comments
Women Have Done Showers Through the Ages
History has various records of how through the ages, women have consistently created rituals to celebrate the coming of new life. The Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, the women of the Renaissance, and the women of the Victorian era all had their ways of gathering together to show their delight at the coming of a new baby and their concern for the mother.
However, it was during the 1950s and 1960s that baby showers became celebrated in the way that people today are familiar with. Giving the mother-to-be gifts, playing games, positioning her like a queen on a chair while she opened her gifts and showed them around – these were rituals that started with the baby boomers and they have been passed down to the succeeding generations.
When should the shower be held? Showers are generally given around six weeks before the baby is due. By this time the baby bump is nice and ripe but, barring all mishaps, the baby won't make its appearance before the shower is held.
When should the invitations be sent?
Sending your invitations a month before is generally a good idea because it will allow "the girls" to prepare for the event. This means they will have a better chance to prepare a gift for their friend, and they might even be persuaded to contribute a game or some other fun activity. However, a month can be quite a long time – long enough for people to forget. Sending a gentle reminder about 10 days before the shower would be a good idea.
How long should the guest list be?
Two of the considerations that often decide the size of the party are space and finances. In general though, baby showers are rather small, intimate gatherings of maybe 20-25 people at the most. If there are too many people from one circle of friends to fit into the description of small and intimate, someone else could always host a second shower.
Who is to be invited?
It is not unusual for an expectant mother to have more than one baby shower. Since these gatherings are typically intimate and informal, friends and relatives tend to host smaller showers with the host inviting only people who are part of a somewhat defined circle. A host from work will have a shower with co-workers, friends from school will have one with schoolmates, and cousins will generally organize one with other cousins.
As host you will be expected to invite people from your common circle of friends and the mother-to-be's family members. You should show the guest of honor your guest list, and ask her if there are other people she wants invited.
What about the dad and the grandpa?
Traditionally, the baby shower is some sort of a female bonding ritual. The presence of men in the gathering may change the dynamics of the group, but if that is fine with everybody, inviting the dad-to-be and the grandpa is not going to be a problem.
As the host, though, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone has a nice time and there are no stilted or awkward moments during the activity. A possible win-win arrangement would be to have an all-girl shower as usual, then invite the men to come at a later time. You might save an activity for them, such as cutting the shower cake, and toasting the bride with fizzy orange juice.
Things to prepare
Must there be a theme?
You do not need to come up with a theme for the shower unless you want to.
It all depends on what would be most enjoyable for the guest of honor and the other guests. Themes can be a lot of fun, but if this is too much trouble and you would rather have none, you are certainly your prerogative as host.
However, as host, you also have to bear in mind that the shower needs to be designed to make the guest of honor happy. If a theme is requested for, be a sport about it. Besides, some themes are not all that difficult to adopt. For example, how hard would it be to have a "pink" shower? With a little creativity, you can easily put across most themes. For example, leis and flowers will do for a Hawaiian theme, hats and neck kerchiefs will be fine for a Western theme, and dime store tiaras will turn everyone into a princess.
What about games?
Games can add a lot of fun to a shower, but not everyone has the skill and the personality to manage these well.
Managing games is a bit like delivering the punchline of a joke; some people just suck at it. If this is the case with you, ask someone else to do it. Get someone from the group to prepare three games or so. Then all you need is to be ready with the prizes.
Should a gift registry be used?
Gift registries have become a very practical tool to make sure the guest of honor receives exactly the gifts she wants or needs. If you are hosting a shower where the guest's closest friends and relatives are invited, the registry can really help everyone. Guests won't have to think about what they will buy, and the guest of honor won't have to go through the trouble of exchanging duplicate gifts.
However, some people are not quite comfortable with the idea of a gift registry because it smacks of being mercenary.
The bottom line is, if your guest of honor has a gift registry, as host it would fall on you to promote it in a way that will not put your friend in a bad light. Here is what you can do: Omit mention of the registry in the invitation, and enclose a separate slip of paper with information about it instead.
What about the food?
For baby showers, try to find a festive and filling menu that your guests will enjoy without you slaving over the stove for hours.
The heart of a party is a host who is relaxed and able to set a happy atmosphere for everyone. If need be, buy some of the food (or all of it) so you have the time and energy for the shower you are giving.
- Cheese and fruit platter (cheeses, grapes, crackers)
- Tuna or salad finger sandwiches or pigs-in-blankets
- A pasta
- A cupcake tree (the usual blue if it's a boy, pink if it's a girl)
- Fruit juice, water
Get a good basic menu together and prepare the necessary quantity for everybody. You won't run out of food because people always like to bring food to gatherings like showers.
A Blow-by-Blow Checklist
Seven weeks before the shower
Six weeks before the shower
Five weeks before the shower
- 2If you are close enough to the guests to ask them to bring some of the food, go ahead and ask them.When they ask you what they should bring, be forthright. Say something like, "We will need four large pizzas from Giacomo's. Could you get together with Jane and Frances to provide those for the party?" Don't give them a vague, "Whatever you like" and presume the food will be fine.
Four weeks before the shower
Three weeks before the shower
Two weeks before the shower
One week before the shower
Two days before the shower
The day before the shower
Finish all the food that doesn't need to be prepared an hour before the shower. Check with the caterer or the people who will pick up food.
The morning of the shower
- Chill drinks and complete other food preparations.
It's party time!!!
People would have been assigned to record who gave which gift, collect all wrappings for trash, and pack the gifts for the bride to bring home. It is now time to enjoy the gathering of friends and family.
Your final task as host will be to make sure the mother-to-be has a great time – something she won't be able to help with a host like you!
Questions and Answers
Can you give suggestions for a shower for a Jewish friend?
What food and activities would work best?
I don't think it is a good idea to give a baby shower for a Jewish friend as they consider this as taboo. Why? Because they believe that it invites the "evil eye". Although there are people who are more open minded about this matter, I suggest that you ask them first if they wish to have a baby shower. If they say yes, here are the following things you need to know and what activities that can work best:
- do not decorate the baby room just yet. Instead, of decorating the room, plan it on the shower (they have this tradition of not giving/ preparing in advance for babies not until they are born)
- keep the shower as simple as it can, know the kinds of food that Jewish people eat and keep it light. You can also ask the mother for her favorite dishes
You can use this for menu: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/american-recipes/jewish/
- guests should be the people that the couple are close with
- choose an alternative to the classic baby shower as a mani-pedi day or a picnic
- instead of giving gifts for the baby (jews believe that they should not give anything to the baby until it is born), help the mom-to be by sharing baby knowledge (from experience or not) or help her with other baby related things
- instead of saying "mazel tov" which is a big no-no to pregnant women, wish her "b'shaah tovah"!
What is usually on the separates enclosed paper with a baby shower invitation?
It can be a map to the location of the the baby shower party. Sometimes, it can also be a picture of ultrasound results. This can all add to the excitement of the party.
Some baby shower parties with very specific programs would also layout what to expect during the party.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.