I remember when I started planning my daughter Siena’s baby shower last year. For months, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to host a baby shower. One day however I had a revelation that if I did not do one, I may regret it forever. It was my only chance to have a baby shower and see all of our loved ones in one place to celebrate. At the end, it ended up being the best day and we got amazing weather for our special day in October in New York! Here are my tips for planning your own baby shower:
- Pick a date! Picking THE date is the most important part of planning. You have to make sure the most important people you definitely want at your party can attend on the date you plan to select. You can never get everyone to clear their schedules, but most would be great! We held our baby shower in October and Siena was due Christmas. It worked out perfectly. I still had the energy to host and do things, and I still felt good about having my pictures taken. You know what I mean.
- Build your guest list. When you start looking for a location, the first question the venues will ask you is how many people you plan to host. You need to have a ballpark answer. This will also help you in selecting the right type of venue for your event. Our shower included men and women. I just could not imagine hosting a shower without my husband, his family, and friends. It was an important event for us to experience together.
- Select a location, venue, and format. Yes yes, nowadays, given the pandemic, you may need to host your baby shower virtually, and that is perfectly fine too. There are so many creative ways to make virtual events interactive and enjoyable. (That will be another post!) Assuming your event will be months away and we will all be in a better situation by then with a vaccine at hand, you can also consider hosting the shower in person. Perhaps host a more intimate event, and have everyone take tests and take temperatures prior to the event. For those of you who live in multiple cities or countries, remember that it is not recommended that you fly during and after 7 months of your pregnancy (even if you fly private). You will definitely be taking a risk if you plan to host your shower in a city other than where your OB is located. We hosted ours in New York. In terms of venue, we selected the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel. We had the option of indoors and outdoors, in case the weather did not cooperate. We got lucky though and it was a beautiful fall day in New York. Selecting the right location is everything. Always remember that good places book up in advance!
- Choose your baby shower host(s). This really depends on your personality, and where your besties live. Most of my best girlfriends live outside of New York, so I personally preferred to plan the shower myself. If I were in Los Angeles where I spent most of my life, it would have been a different story. I highly recommend getting help from your girlfriends and family, when and where you can. Planning any event while you are very pregnant can become very overwhelming and you just need to accept that you need help. You simply cannot do it all.
- Create a registry for your baby shower. For this, I highly recommend checking out my post on 17 must-have items for your baby registry. When I had to register, I went to one of my best friends Tamara who has 4 kids, and asked her to tell me what I should register for. From there, my list evolved as I read my books and surfed the internet, and talked to more moms. By the time I put together my must-have list, I had been there done that, so to speak:)
- Decide on the theme. You may want to decide on your theme before you send your save the date so you set the tone for the type of event you will have.
- Set a timeline (don’t worry it will be evolving). It is good to plan everything in advance if you can. Once you have decided on your event date, backtrack, and decide when you should send your save the date, then your hard copy invites if you plan to send those. When should you order the cake by? What time will everything be delivered that day or prior? All of these are items that can go into your timeline. This will be an evolving document and should be shared with your hosts.
- Send your save the date including registry information. It is very important to send your save the date along with your registry info. You will save yourself a lot of back and forth email or text traffic because everyone will be asking! Nowadays most people send their gifts in advance to your home. Our mailroom downstairs was filled with gifts from our loved ones for a few months building up to the baby shower. For your return and thank you card purposes, make sure you keep all paperwork and cards that arrive with your gifts.
- Find caterer and/or finalize menu. Food is everything. You have to have good food at your party, and a lot of it! Justin and I decided to host our baby shower over Sunday brunch. This allowed our friends to spend more time together and enjoy the beautiful day. Many of our friends came from out of state or country and it was so great to be able to spend time with them. Our favorite item on the menu was chicken waffle sliders!
- Book the photographer or videographer. I think that if you are going through all this and planning a real event that will be in person, you should definitely get at least a photographer to memorialize the event. You can one day show these pictures to your daughter or son and show that his/her arrival was celebrated in style! If you don’t want to or can’t spend the money on this, just make sure you assign picture-taking to one of your besties.
- Finalize decoration details. Do you want any decorations to be custom made? Do you want to have a display table? How will you personalize your event? Will you have balloons? Dessert table? For those of you who love your social media moments, where will everyone take their pictures and selfies? This part is so fun and you should try to enjoy it as you plan with your girlfriends or partner.
- Decide on any shower games you will have and order what is needed. Yes, some of you may think that baby shower games are lame, but some think they are the funniest part of a baby shower. Try to let loose and have some fun with this. We did only a couple of things that people did at their tables.
- Decide on music. Music will also set the tone for your event. Do you want dancing, do you want dinner music, do you want live music? Do you want jazz? Think about the venue and select accordingly. Justin and I selected live jazz for our event.
- Order your cake. If you want to order a special cake that will be made by a pastry chef outside of your venue, it is good to plan in advance. You should also consider how the cake will be delivered to your shower, what time, and how long it can sit out, if it needs to be refrigerated or not, etc. I personally can never have a party without a delicious cake!
- Get creative. Once you have your basics taken care of, get creative, and try to make your event unique and memorable. It’s all in the details. And if you don’t feel like you can do any more than you already have done, that’s fine too! You will have the best time anyway just seeing or meeting with your best friends and family. This is a big moment and a big step that should be celebrated by all!
I will continue to add to my list as I remember more tips. Do you have any you would like to share?