Traditional baby showers have a reputation for being boring, awkward, uncomfortable gatherings that people dread. The reason many people attend is that they feel obligated to do so. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is entirely possible to plan a baby shower that doesn’t suck.
If you’re planning a baby shower, these 21 suggestions will help you throw a memorable event that your guests will remember and enjoy.
How to plan a baby shower that everyone will enjoy
Choose a convenient location
Choose a location that is somewhat central to your guests. If you are choosing a location that is too far away, people may not attend.
Host it in an air-conditioned room
No one wants to be in a hot room for any length of time.
Serve delicious baby shower foods and beverages
If your baby shower coincides with a meal, provide some heavy baby shower hors d’oeuvres or a light meal. Guests who are completely satisfied are happy guests!
Set a 3-hour time limit
As you plan a baby shower, be sure to set a three-hour time limit so that the afternoon leaves guests wanting more rather than secretly checking their phones for the time.
Make it flexible
Having a drop-in style rather than a strict start-and-stop time allows your baby shower guests to drop by for a quick hello or to stay for the duration—depending on what they’re comfortable with and what their schedule allows. This eliminates the inevitable guilt associated with being late or having to leave early.
If necessary, have separate baby showers
Sometimes a baby shower with grandma and besties doesn’t work well. If you think grandma is a little too old fashion, and wouldn’t approve of certain things that are planned for the baby shower, consider having two separate showers—one for relatives, another for your friends.
Have useful baby shower favors
There is no sense in buying cheap baby shower favors, only to have those favors end up in the garbage because people don’t like them.
Have baby shower games that people will actually enjoy
As the baby shower host, you may know the guests as well as anyone. Therefore, select baby shower games that you think they will actually enjoy.
Or choose baby shower activities instead
There are tons of great baby shower activities to choose from! You could even set up different stations with optional activities. It doesn’t force anyone to take part who doesn’t want to, and it allows guests who want to participate in more traditional shower activities to do so.
If you are going to have games and/or raffles, choose great prizes
Baby shower games have gotten a poor reputation over the years because some games are boring. Many guests will play them because it’s traditional and/or because the host has asked them. But you can have baby shower games that people actually enjoy playing. To put a cherry on top, you can also offer awesome baby shower prizes people would want to win!
The same applies to diaper raffles too. People are going to buy the diapers because they know it will help mom-to-be, but if you offer a great diaper raffle prize, they may be more inclined to buy extra diapers for the chance to win extra raffle tickets.
Any party or gathering without music is going to be uncomfortable. Avoid it. Plan ahead and play your favorite music, music you think most of the guests will appreciate, or play “songs with baby in the title.”
Include men and children
Traditional baby showers are for women only, but times have changed! Nowadays, dads have their own diaper parties and dadchelor parties, while moms have their traditional women-only baby showers. But instead of having two separate parties, you could have a coed baby showers.
While women-only baby shower can certainly be pleasant, consider that for many women, leaving their partners and children behind for a weekend afternoon can be painful. Some women won’t come! However, by allowing partners and children, you are making things less painful. For one thing, mom doesn’t have to get a babysitter. Welcoming children also allow busy families to drop by in between sporting events or other activities without having to worry about transporting children. Also, by inviting partners, you are making the conversation flow a little easier.
Serve alcohol for guests and mocktails for mom-to-be
Baby showers are about commemorating a special occasion with close friends and family. Often, when we celebrate, it is with alcohol. No one is suggesting guests get drunk – you can just enough alcohol so that each guest gets 1-2 glasses.
Greeting guests with glasses of prosecco or cocktails can help break the ice. When people are relaxed, they will enjoy the baby shower a little more. Alcohol can also be an enticing refreshment, depending on the time of day and your personal preferences. For example, you could make a large batch of baby shower punch, and add a bottle of liquor next to the punch in case some guests would like it.
Mom-to-be should not feel obligated to open gifts
Opening gifts while guests are watching can be awkward for mom and the guests. This is the case for traditional baby gifts or gifts for the new mom. Simply have mom-to-be open her gifts later at home.
Or have a display shower
At a display shower, guests don’t wrap gifts. This means mom-to-be doesn’t have to unwrap gifts. It’s a win-win! Instead, guests bring their unwrapped gift with a card, and display it for all to see.
Ban all birth horror stories
The mother-to-be does not need to hear birth stories about tears or marathon labors. The baby shower is not meant to scare her.
How to make the baby shower easier for mom-to-be
Set up a comfortable chair
Not all pregnant women need to sit all the time, but if she needs to sit, make sure you have a comfortable chair reserved for her—the kind where she can get up easily without help.
Offer mom-to-be mocktinis or mocktails
Pregnant women understand they cannot drink alcohol, but don’t let her feel left out by offering drinks for everyone except her. Instead, make mocktails or mocktinis for her.
Set up a pregnancy cravings station
Pregnant women have weird cravings. As the host, check with mom-to-be what her cravings are, and be sure to set up a station where she can indulge in her cravings.
Set up a table for thank you cards
Instead of mom-to-be needing to write out tons of envelopes for thank you cards, ask guests to give her a hand by writing out the envelopes for her. It’s really easy to do – print a sign, set it up at a table along with envelopes and pens.
Choose a gift-handler
As the host, designate a close friend or family member to be the baby shower gift handler. This person can keep track of who gave what (unless you are having a display shower), get rid of the wrapping paper, and transport all the gifts back to mom-to-be’s house.