Baby showers are a celebration of new life. They are full of anticipation and excitement. They give friends an opportunity to offer advice and support. Ideally, the shower will be in the last two months of pregnancy, although I know people who are superstitious about stocking the nursery before the baby arrives. For them, a “Sip and See” party after the baby is born is better. If you are offering to host the party, ask the mother-to-be what she prefers.
Ladies or co-ed? Convention is broad and the preferences of the hostess and the mother-to-be should govern the design of the event.
Second or third sibling? The parents will have most of the basic equipment after the first child. My own preference is that a ‘Sip and See’ is a better way to go the second time around and gives guests a chance to welcome the new child without the necessity of buying a gift.
Send out the invitations
For you traditionalists who want to be efficient, Minted.com will send out high quality paper invitations to your guest list.
Feeling DIY? Etsy offers five styles of baby shower invitation which you can buy, download and print at home.
Find a local stationer/invitation shop and order from their book. This invitation is at Kramer Drive.
Some parents-to-be are reluctant to use baby registries, but I think they help the rest of us give gifts that will be useful. Ask the mother-to-be if she has registered. See the ASE article on baby registries for more information.
Everything from tea to champagne is fun at a shower. Your choice may be determined by the time of your party. The mother-to-be will probably want a non-alcoholic option so check out the ASE article on eanabs and mocktails. Serve the drinks in baby bottles with blue or pink straws. The guests will channel their ‘inner infant’ and the bottles will make a nice gift to the new parents.
These Dr. Brown ‘plastic’ bottles are BPA free and have a special vent system which moms say reduces colic. Since most of your guests will not have colic – you can just give them a straw.
Four Dr. Brown 8 oz. bottles for $19.68.
Evenflo glass bottles are a ‘go-to’ choice if you prefer glass. Six 8 oz. Evenflo bottles for $17.58.
Baby bottles are 7 inches tall, so you’ll want at least 7.75” inch paper straws. If you know the sex of the baby – go for pink or blue. If the mystery remains, you can offer both colors to your guests and have them choose based on their guess about the baby’s sex. $3.00 for 25 straws.
Anything goes from finger sandwiches to mini cupcakes. My preference is for small bites since it is fun to let people mingle and they will probably not be seated at a table. If you know that the baby is a boy or a girl, you’ll have a color theme to build on. Pink and grey? Blue and white?
I love these little lamb cookies. See Martha Stewart for the recipe.
For a DIY decoration, make a pacifier. Each pacifier is two lifesavers, a jelly bean and some frosting to hold it together. All you need is a cupcake. From Miss Kopy Cat blog
A pop-corn bar is a fun option. You can give guests their choice of sweet and savory.
These small ‘about to pop’ popcorn boxes in pink and blue will keep your guests coming back to try another flavor. 10 boxes, 2”x 3”x 4” boxes, $7.95.
Here are three popcorn websites we’ve discovered:
www.479popcorn.com – Their caramel sampler looks divine! The flavors are Fleur de Sel Caramel, Ginger Sesame Caramel, and Chipotle Caramel and Almonds.
Pop Gourmet Popcorn – This popcorn company delivers an all-natural, non gmo, gluten free product in great sweet, savory and holiday flavors.
www.coastalmainepopcorn.com – This Maine-based popcorn factory has savory, sweet and chocolate popcorn. Can’t decide which one to try? Not to worry, they have a sampler pack and a monthly subscription!
Setting the scene – decorating
From Southern Hospitality
If you have some cuddly stuffed animals, they will add a furry touch to your buffet table and room where presents will be opened.
Baby bottles make great vases and they will be useful to the mom-to-be when the party is over.
If the mother to be has a favorite children’s book, you’ve got a natural theme. Peter Rabbit? Paddington? Winnie the Pooh? The Cat in the Hat? Put out the books and related stuffed animals. Choose a few of the colors for flowers and napkins – and you have a party.
This article has been updated for accuracy, April 2017