Planning a baby shower is a fun and memorable event not only for the mother-to-be, but for the guests and the host as well. Even though a lot of planning and preparation is involved, that does not necessarily mean a lot of stress must also be part of the process. By staying organized and planning well in advanced, even the most disorganized host can plan a well-organized and successful baby shower for the mother-to-be.
Step one: Create an Organizational Checklist
For those who hate making lists, this is a necessary evil when organization is top priority. Staying focused an on task is simple when a checklist is in hand, especially when it easily accessible. Many suggest keeping checklists handy on a clipboard, but in this case, it may be best to keep this one in a slender 1/2 inch binder along with other lists, notes, menus and ideas that need to be tucked away during the planning process.
Two Months Before the Shower: this is when the guest list is written, the date is set, and the location is determined. You may have to do some digging to find out exactly who you should invite to the baby shower. Talk to the mommy-to-be, but do not be obvious about trying to pull this information from her or why. You do, after all, want to surprise her!
The same holds true for trying to figure out the best date and time for the shower. You want it to be a date and time that is convenient for the mommy-to-be, that is workable for all the guest’s schedules, and that will fit in with any other scheduling obstacles you may face. When determining the location, your budget will play a big role in determining this factor. We’ll discuss this more in Step Two of this planning guide.
One Month Before the Shower: you need to choose the theme and the colors for the shower at this point of planning a baby shower process. There is a wealth of inspiration and ideas found via social networking and blogs online, as well as in books and magazines. At the same time during this month, you will also be deciding on invitations for the baby shower. This is often done in conjunction with choosing themes and colors because each play into each other very well.
At this point, also, you can decide if you want to make the baby shower invitations, or if you would prefer purchasing them. If there are a lot of guests attending the shower, it may be better to purchase the baby shower invitations. That way, matching thank you cards can easily be purchased. However, if a small group is gathering, say twelve to fifteen guests, it would be a special gift from you if you are the creative type if handmade baby shower invitations and thank you cards were created for this occasion.
Three Weeks Before the Shower: the menu and cake decisions are made and finalized during this portion of the planning process. This point of the planning process is also when the cake (if you are not backing and decorating it yourself), balloons, and flowers are also ordered. If a large group of guests are gathering and you do not have enough tables and chairs and you do have room in your budget, this is the time you will need to contact a company for rentals.
Two Weeks Before the Shower: plan what type of games you would like to play with the guests and what prizes they will receive. Keep in mind that showers typically last between two and three hours and, even though unwrapping gifts is the center of attention, at least one game should be planned. Plan on favors, decorations, papers products, and finalization of the menu during this time period as well. Some food ideas include having a ham and cheese platter, croissants, scones, a pickle platter, muffins, fruit salad, finger sandwiches, and a variety of other salads.
One Week Before the Shower: you should have all the RSVP’s by now, so finalize the head count. Wrap up all the game prize and the party favors. Double check the digital cameras and video cameras that will be used during the baby shower to ensure their memory cards are full and their batteries are charged. You’re going to need to assign at least two or three guests to take pictures and video during the shower, so make sure these items are ready to go when they arrive.
One Day Before the Shower: if the shower is being held at your home, now is the time to begin decorating. If the shower is being held at a venue, determine the earliest point you are allowed to enter to decorate. Begin cooking and preparing food as early as possible if this is not a catered event. This is also when you need to set up games, and start working on a timeline so you know when to serve food, have the mommy-to-be open gifts, present the cake, and play games.
Step Two: Set Up a Budget
No one likes to hear that they can’t spend as much as they want to throw the party of their dreams. Reality speaks a different truth, though, and we have limits. Be realistic about what you can afford and spend. Save by having the baby shower at your home and by not hiring a caterer. Set up the budget so you know what to expect by including the costs of food, paper goods, favors, prizes, flowers, centerpieces, decorations, the cake, and the gift. You can also cut the budget down by requesting close family members to bring a dish potluck style, bring bags of ice, bring drinks, or bring paper products.
Step Three: Set Your Plan Into Action
The checklist and budget each speak for themselves when rolled out and put into action. All you have to do is follow along. Seems fairly simple, right? It does take organization and calculation on your part, though. This is especially true for those who are managing careers and families throughout the planning process. If the planning process becomes to difficult to put into action, enlist the help of friends and family members to co-host the baby shower with you. There is no harm in asking for help.