Host a Perfect Baby Shower

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Anonymous, Eng and 4 others

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The long wait is almost over. The stork is at hand and it's time to have a baby shower for the radiant mom-to-be. Whether a "Hen Party" or a "Shower, this is a good time to have a party, and celebrate before the baby arrives. This is the perfect opportunity to invite the expectant mother's closest girlfriends and relatives to share this event.

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As a close friend or relative, you may find yourself in a position where it's up to you to put together a baby shower for someone you really care about, but you have no idea where to start. Take heart, this article will guide you to creating a wonderful shower for your pregnant girlfriend or family member, without driving yourself crazy.

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The History of Baby Showers

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Throughout the ages, history has recorded the various ways women have consistently practiced 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 special ways of gathering to show their delight at the coming of a new baby, and "shower" the mother to be with gifts.

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It was during the 1950s and 1960s that baby showers were celebrated in the way most 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've been passed down to the next generations.

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Getting Started

Showers are generally given around six weeks before the baby is due. By this time the baby bump is nice and ripe, but the baby won't make its appearance before the shower is held.

When Should The Invitations Be Sent?

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Sending your invitations a month before the shower is generally a good idea. People will be able to add it to their calendars, before they become filled. It also allows "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. You might start an event on Facebook, as it will send reminders to the guests without you having to do it. You might consider asking guests to list any allergies they have (food wise), and whether they are a vegetarian or vegan.

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How Long Should The Guest List Be?

Two of the considerations that often dictate the size of the party are space and finances. In general, baby showers are rather small, intimate gatherings of maybe 20-25 people at the most. Depending on your culture, this can change. In some cultures, it's not unusual to rent a hall and have over 100 women in attendance. For example – if the bride's family belongs to a German club, this is usual. The older women in the club would get together and cook all the food, and bake all those amazing goodies for the Shower.

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Who Should Be Invited?

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It's 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 her sister will generally organize one with family members.

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As the host, you will be expected to invite people from your common circle of friends and the mother-to-be's family members. Unless it's a surprise, you should show the guest of honor your guest list, and ask her if there are other people she wants invited.

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What About The Dad And The Grandpa?

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Traditionally, the baby shower is a kind of female bonding ritual. The presence of men in the gathering may change the dynamics of the group, but if that's fine with everybody, inviting the dad-to-be and the grandpa won't be a problem. This is not usually done, as the men tend to feel very uncomfortable, yet, it's not unheard of to have a baby shower were friends include women and men. A possible win-win arrangement would be to have an all-girl shower as usual, then invite the men to come later in the event. You might save an activity for them, such as cutting the shower cake, and toasting the bride with fizzy orange juice.

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As the host, it's your responsibility to make sure everyone has a good time, especially the "Guest of "Honor", and there are no awkward moments during the activities.

How to Put Together a Great Shower

There are so many ways to plan a shower. Keep reading for some great ideas.

Must There Be A Theme?

You don't t need to come up with a theme for the shower unless you want to.

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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'd not include a theme into your shower, then don't. It's the host's prerogative.

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However, as the host, bear in mind that the shower needs to be designed around the personality and tastes of the guest of honor, and what it will take to make her happy. If a theme is requested for, be a sport about it. 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 achieve most themes to. 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.

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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.

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Managing games is a bit like delivering the punch line of a joke; some people just suck at it. If this is the case with you, ask someone else to organize the games. Get someone from the group to prepare three games, and all you'll be ready with the prizes.

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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.

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However, some people are not quite comfortable with the idea of a gift registry because it feels a little contrived with a sense of privilege.

The bottom line is, if your guest of honor has a gift registry, as host it would fall upon 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. Always start with; for those of you who are interested… This way, people won't feel they "have" to buy something from the registry.

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What About the Food?

For baby showers, try to find a fun, satisfying menu your guests will enjoy without you slaving over the stove for hours.

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The best party includes a host who is relaxed and able to create a happy atmosphere for everyone. If need be, buy some of the food (or all of it) so you can concentrate your energy on the shower's activities.

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Sample Menu:

  • Nuts
  • Cheese and fruit platter (cheeses, grapes, crackers)
  • Tuna 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, punch
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Remember - there are a lot of people who are gluten intolerant, wheat intolerant, and allergic to dairy. Also, many people don't eat meat, and you've you have vegan guests, you will be spending a lot more time on the menu. If it's a casual event, with close friends only, you might make it a potluck.

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A Timeline for the Shower

Be prepared. Make lists. Keep track of everything. Successful events always have a timeline.

Seven Weeks Before The Shower

  1. 1
    Set the date and the time with the guest of honor.
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  2. 2
    Prepare the guest list with names and addresses and email addresses.
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  3. 3
    Make a list of acceptable locations (someone's home, a restaurant, a resort, etc.
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  4. 4
    Decide on a theme or motif.
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  5. 5
    Make or buy invitations.
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  6. 6
    Send e-mails with a note of the date of the shower, and that invitations will arrive in the mail.
    Remember – people are sensitive to having their email revealed, so if you're sending all guests in one email, put their email addresses in bbc – so the emails are private.
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  7. 7
    Decide about source of food - Catering?
    Store bought? Cooked by you? Assigned to friends and family?
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Six Weeks Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Prepare invitations.
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  2. 2
    Ask the mother-to-be if she has registered for gifts and insert a small card in the invitation to inform guests about the registry.
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  3. 3
    Make reservations with the hotel or restaurant, if you have decided to use one.
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  4. 4
    Mail invitations at the end of the week.
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Five Weeks Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Plan the menu.
    (You need to know if the mother-to-be has any preferences or allergies. Other than that, the ball is in your court, so to speak.)
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  2. 2
    If you are close enough to the guests, ask them to bring some of the food.
    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?" You can also assign people things like – dessert – salad – vegetarian dish (especially useful if they are a vegetarian). Don't give them a vague, "Whatever you like" and presume the food will be fine.
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Four Weeks Before the Shower

  1. 1
    List the tableware, tables, chairs, platters, and linen you'll need.
    Decide if you are going to use your own things, buy disposable stuff, or rent.
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  2. 2
    Decide on the decorations, props, and flowers you want to use.
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  3. 3
    Make a list of games, prizes, and other things you will need.
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  4. 4
    Decide on your own gift for the bride.
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Three Weeks Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Prepare the non-floral decorations, props, prizes, and favors.
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  2. 2
    Buy your gift.
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  3. 3
    Make your food, beverages, and grocery shopping lists.
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  4. 4
    Wrap gifts and favors.
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  5. 5
    Ask friends to take on assignments.
    (Picking up the guest of honor, picking up the cake, helping with the décor, taking pictures.)
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Two Weeks Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Confirm hotel or restaurant reservation (if you are going to hold the shower there).
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  2. 2
    If you are going to hold the shower at home, prepare the linen, serving dishes, linen, napkins, and utensils.
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  3. 3
    Reserve tables, chairs, and other supplies if you've decided to rent.
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  4. 4
    Order the flowers, centerpieces, or balloons.
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  5. 5
    Confer with the caterer for any last-minute details.
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One Week Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Check guest list and call anyone who has not called or emailed to RSVP.
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  2. 2
    Buy groceries, ingredients, and pantry items.
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  3. 3
    Make freeze-ahead dishes.
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  4. 4
    Ask guests with food assignments if their contribution will go as planned.
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  5. 5
    Prepare a guestbook and a notebook to list gifts.
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Two Days Before the Shower

  1. 1
    Buy all the rest of the supplies needed.
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  2. 2
    Make all the foods that can be prepared in advance.
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  3. 3
    Set up décor and sound system.
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  4. 4
    Arrange the tables and chairs.
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  5. 5
    Prepare the guest of honor's chair.
    (This should be very comfortable.)
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The Day Before the Shower

Don't panic because the shower is tomorrow. Look how organized you are. Keep going.

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  1. 1
    Finish all the food that doesn't need to be prepared an hour before the shower.
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  2. 2
    Check with the caterer or the people who will pick up food.
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  3. 3
    Pick up the flowers or confirm their delivery.
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  4. 4
    Get the balloons.
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  5. 5
    Clean up, vacuum, prepare the guest bathroom, set up a table for gifts, etc.
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  6. 6
    Set out trays, linen, plates, etc.
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The Morning of the Shower

  • Organize the music you'll be playing, if any.
  • Chill drinks and complete other food preparations.
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It's Party Time!!!

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===Get The Mother-To-Be's family and closest friends to come early.

  • Assign one of them the task of recording who gave what to the mother-to-be. This is usually written on the card they gave to the bride, or on a note pad.
  • Ask another to collect all wrappings for trash.
  • Ask a third to pack the gifts for the bride to bring home.

Now It's Time To Enjoy The Gathering Of Friends And Family

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  1. 1
    Receive guests and introduce them to one another.
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  2. 2
    Mingle, eat, and check with the photographer.
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  3. 3
    Play games and open gifts.
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  4. 4
    Have fun!!!
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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!

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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 many Orthodox Jews consider them taboo. They believe any celebration of joy, attracts negativity. May won't buy anything for the baby until the baby is born. This is a cultural practice, not a religious one. More liberal minded aren't as superstitious, and do have showers. I suggest 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:

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  • 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 until they are born)
  • Keep the shower as simple as it can. now the kinds of food that Jewish people eat, and especially what they don't traditionally eat, and keep it light. You can also ask the mother for her favorite dishes
  • You can use some of these JEWISH RECIPES for the menu.
  • Guests should be the people close to the couple.
  • 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"!
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What is usually on the enclosed note with a baby shower invitation?

It can be a map to the location of the baby shower. Sometimes, it can also be a picture of ultrasound results. This can all add to the excitement of the party. Also, it might be the list of places the Mother-To-Be is registered.

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Some baby shower parties with very specific programs would also layout what to expect during the party.

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Categories : Relationships | Family

Recent edits by: Christine Carol Ansing, Maria, Lynn

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