That’s right, we’re getting old. Friends are getting engaged, getting married … and getting pregnant! And not always in that particular order. Nonetheless, you may find yourself having to organize a baby shower one of these days.
Disclaimer: I am not a Party Planner Extraordinaire. In fact, planning parties seriously stresses me out. All the details, decorations, everything you need to organize … it honestly gives me anxiety. But as a sister and a friend, it is my duty to organize these things once in a while, and most recently my sister-in-law’s baby shower last month.
There are many vague baby shower checklists out there, but none of them I found helpful. So here are some lessons learned that will help you throw a Blog-Worthy #BossBabe Baby Shower for a loved one.
1. When and How to Invite
Send an invitation at least 6 weeks in advance. This gives the guests more than enough time to make sure they can make it and to buy presents online.
If you have the budget, send a good old fashioned invitation in the mail. This makes it extra special because who doesn’t like getting mail nowadays? Make sure to save all the guests’ mailing addresses to give to the mommy-to-be after the party for thank-you cards.
If you don’t have the budget, an email-invitation is just as good in my opinion. I highly recommend using Evite.com. You can choose an adorable free invitation template or use your own custom design for a fee. Evite allows you to easily import, invite, organize and communicate with your guest list. And it feels like a proper event invitation instead of a simple email or Facebook event.
2. Invitation Details
I feel like I missed out on so many details when I sent my invitations and had to go back and add to it, so here’s a list for you to make sure you capture everything.
- The purpose of the event: baby shower, of course
- If the baby is a boy, a girl or not yet known
- Venue name and address
- Start time and end time – 3 hours should suffice for a guest list of 30 people
- Gift registry details
- Whether you’ll be serving breakfast, lunch, dinner or finger food
- Request dietary restrictions from guests
- Whether it is a ladies-only shower or if men are invited
- If kids may come or not
- Parking details
- The host’s name and contact information
- RSVP deadline
3. Food and Drink Details
It’s important to have good food that everyone can partake in, so make sure to accommodate all your guests’ dietary restrictions. If there are only a few people with dietary restrictions, keep their specialty food away from the rest of the spread to prevent others from taking it.
Dessert is a must as it can be a focal point in the party with a beautifully decorated dessert table or a one-of-a-kind cake. For an affordable personalized cake, try the Calgary Co-op’s photo printed cakes. For $40 I was able to get a cupcake cake with 24 cupcakes with my choice of cake flavours, icing colour and a photo printed on the cake itself.
To go with dessert, a coffee and tea station is another must. Guests appreciate the caffeine kick as well. Purchase some large to-go coffee carafes from a café (like Tim Horton’s or Starbucks) or provide a coffee maker. I used our own Keurig Single Serve Brewer and provided K-cup coffee pods for guests to help themselves. For tea drinkers, simply provide tea bags and an electric kettle so they can plug it in and boil their own water to their heart’s content. Don’t forget all the fixings like stir-sticks, sugar, cream and the usual substitutes.
Now to drink or not to drink alcoholic beverages — that is the question. I would suggest asking the mommy-to-be if she has a preference. I recommend against providing alcohol because the party is to celebrate the mommy-to-be who can’t join in the drinking. Try a non-alcoholic Mom-osa Bar instead with some disposable champagne flutes, frozen berries, exotic juices, sparkling water and sparkling apple juice.
4. Keep Up The Pace!
Try to avoid a party that drags on and keeps guests waiting around. Have enough activities and games for them to keep busy for the duration of the party like signing the guest book, onesie decorating and guessing the flavours of baby food. Have a program loosely scheduled out and share it with guests so they know what’s coming next. Hopefully most of your guests show up on time so you can get the party started and flowing. And remember to bring music to liven up the party. It’s a celebration!
5. Event Time and Location
As a host, you will be busy planning and prepping for the event until the very last minute, so I don’t recommend having the baby shower first thing in the morning. Start the event in the early afternoon to allow yourself ample time to bring everything to the venue and set everything up. And recruit helpers! I had helping hands during the purchasing of drinks, moving equipment and supplies over to the venue, decorating, taking pictures, documenting the gifts and cleaning up!
Try to choose a time and date for the party that is convenient for your guests. If your venue is downtown Calgary, I suggest Sunday so that guests can take advantage of free parking downtown. Make sure to tell your guests where the best place is to park if there is not an obvious parking lot by the venue.
And choose an accommodating venue that will allow you to get there early to set up and stay later to clean up. A venue with lots of natural light is ideal for photos as well.
6. Hire or Assign a Photographer
If you read my How To Throw A Blog-Worthy Birthday Party post, one lesson learned was to hire or assign a photographer. Sure everybody has their phone, but it’s easy to forget to take pictures while your busy enjoying the party. And it’s nice to have cohesive high quality photos for the mommy-to-be’s memories.
7. Decor decor decor!
Last but certainly not least, it’s all about the photo-worthy decorations. Pick a colour theme and stick with it throughout all party paraphernalia down to the cutlery. An affordable way to ensure a cohesive colour theme throughout the venue is to purchase plastic tablecloths from Walmart that match the party colour and use them on every possible surface. To save on decorations, make them yourself! There are countless guides available online on how to create garlands, banners, fans, pom-poms, etc. Add some special custom touches like an extravagant diaper cake or a collage of baby photos. If you don’t have the time but have the budget, buy your decor and buy a lot of them. You’ll need more decor than you think. A delivery service for decorations on the day-of is ideal because that is one less thing for you to do and you’re not driving around with the backseat of your car packed with balloons lol. I highly recommend Calgary Party 50. They have a wide variety of decor options in every possible colour including gigantic confetti balloons, foil letter balloons, tassel banners, and even super chic disposable tableware to add that extra-little-something to the aesthetic. And they deliver!
So those are my top tips when throwing a baby shower worthy enough to blog/Insta/SnapChat about. Do you know of any baby shower details that I missed? Please share! Wishing you the best of luck in your next party planning venture. Until next time, stay strong and stay you. 🌹