Planning a baby shower can be a stressful experience, especially when you want everything to go perfectly for the mom-to-be. It can be overwhelming trying to coordinate where the shower is going to take place, how many guests to invite, and what to do at the shower.
Yet the key to throwing a successful event is thorough organization so that there won't be much guesswork involved on the actual date. By following these steps and learning some clever hacks, any beginner event planner can pull off a great shower and without having to sweat the small stuff. After all, the day is supposed to be happy and care-free showering the mom-to-be with love and support.
10 Recruit A Team
Even though it can be hard for some to admit, anything is easier to accomplish when you have a dedicated group of people as your team. Planning a baby shower can be time-consuming and overcoming since it consists of tons of preparation prior, during, and after the shower. Recruiting others to help you with the event can take a lot off your plate, and can be contributing to having more than one creative mind to come up with outstanding ideas.
You'll want to organize your volunteers by what they are capable of doing. You will need someone to help you with preliminary plans such as date, location, budget, and guest list. Then, you will need volunteers to help with the invitations, making/buying of decorations and food, and decorating and setting up for the event. Secondly, you will need volunteers to help during the event for coordinating food and activities. Lastly, you'll need a team who will stay after the baby shower to help clean up and load presents into the expecting mother's vehicle. Remember, the more volunteers the better because some are bound to bail last minute.
Once you recruit a team of willing and able volunteers, the next and perhaps most important step is figuring out your budget. Of course, it can be easy to overindulge in the welcoming of a precious little baby; however, baby showers shouldn't break the bank for the planner or family members. There are ways to throw an extravagant looking baby shower without going into debt, and important to remember the sentiment means more than the price tag does to your guest of honour.
Realistically estimate how much you and others who are helping to plan would like to spend on the baby shower. Be mindful that most aren't capable of spending outside their budget, so set the amount low enough that if you spend slightly higher it won't empty your wallet. By setting a budget, you can plan which stores you will shop at, what will be bought, and what can be made. It can be helpful to price match items in stores and online before making purchases.
8 Date & Location
Date and location can be tricky to decide, whether the event is a surprise or knowingly planned. If it is a surprise, you'll want to plan the baby shower when the mother-to-be is available and use an excuse or location that is inconspicuous. If she is aware of the baby shower factors like guests who live out of town making it to the event, prenatal appointments or weather conditions can become a stressor.
Ideally, the date of the shower should be somewhere in between the mother's 28th-36th week of pregnancy because you'll want her pregnant enough (cute belly pictures, right?) but not too pregnant where she could go into labour at any time. The location should be based on how much room is needed to accommodate guests. If you plan for an outdoor baby shower, it is always wise to have a plan B in case weather conditions are not favourable, so you are not scrambling at the last minute.
When you are coming up with a guest list, there are two things to bear in mind: 1) Invite enough people where it won't be too crowded but not too empty either. 2) For local guests, expect 85% of those invited to attend. For out of town guest, chances are 55%. Last minute RSVPs or cancellations, around 35%. It helps to keep a master list of all those who were invited, who said they were coming, and those who might come.
After invitations have been sent out, it is helpful while planning to know the guests who will be attending. Knowing how many children will be attending is helpful so you can plan independent kid-friendly activities or play.
6 Know The Mom-To-Be
A baby shower is supposed to be an event all for the momma-to-be, so it pays to know who she is. Some cultures have pregnancy traditions that can be admirable to acknowledge at a shower. If she is reserved or timid, she may prefer a smaller and intimate baby shower with close friends and family. If she is outgoing and has many people in her life that wants to attend her baby shower, more guests will be invited. Knowing what the mom-to-be likes and what her interests are can also help with picking a theme for the shower.
5 Let your strengths shine through
No one is perfect; not even when we do everything we can to tackle the list of tasks assigned to ourselves, that we think we can do. It is hard to give it your all when you are running a baby shower and responsible for delegating tasks to others. Taking on too much at once can rob you of the joy of doing something nice for someone else.
While organizing what needs to be done before, during, and after the shower; always assign yourself the tasks you know you do well. If you choose tasks you can let your creative and innovative strengths shine through, not only will you be less stressed but chances are you will be able to finish those tasks quickly and help others in theirs. If you are realistic in what you can actually do, it is that much easier to give it your all providing a better sense of fulfilment when it is complete.
4 Make A Plan
It's always better to be prepared than underprepared. It makes it easier to keep lists, plans, and other important documentation for a shower all in one place. Not only should you keep track of a guest list, but shopping lists for decorations and food can be a lifesaver if you're asked how someone can contribute. It can also help with time management, knowing what needs to be made or bought before the event. Making a floor plan prior to the event of how you want tables and chairs set up and what decorations go where can be a lifesaver when it comes to delegating your team while setting up for the baby shower.
An itinerary of how the baby shower will proceed can help determine how many games should be played, when to have food ready to be served, and how long a baby shower will be expected to run until. Since many people use different sequences of order when it comes to these kinds of event, using an itinerary will have everyone on the same page and help lessen any unwanted confusion and mishaps.
3 Food & Beverages
Serving food and beverages can become costly quickly when you are feeding a lot of people. This can be a problem if your budget is fairly small and you are not interested in hiring a caterer for the baby shower. It's true that guests are more likely to enjoy themselves if they fill their bellies... but you don't want them too full where they will no longer participate throughout the event.
If it's not possible to feed everyone on the guest list on your own or even with the help of your recruited team, there are hacks to get around this predicament. If you start the baby shower early in the afternoon, chances are guests won't be as hungry since they probably had lunch before attending. With starting the shower closely after a mealtime, you can serve guests dishes like finger foods, platters (cheese, meat, fruit, veggies, etc) and beverages like water, juice, soda, and coffee/tea.
Many baby showers become a success by how well the games played were received by the guests. Although games seem silly in nature, it pays to acknowledge what kind of games will be needed for the specific shower. Even the most fun games can become a flop if guests can't adequately participate or hear and see what is going on.
For smaller baby showers, games and activities that should be chosen should try to include everyone present. It can be helpful to play a few ice breakers before diving into sillier or hands-on games. For larger baby showers, paper games like BINGO, Name that Tune, or Guessing Baby Animal names can be a game that includes everyone without having to get everyone out of their seat.
1 What to Expect
Ideally, you want the event you are planning to pan out flawlessly. However, nothing ever goes entirely as planned making it difficult to know what to expect. Advisably, it is best to always prepare for the unexpected so if there is a mishap that occurs it can be resolved fairly quickly. That being said, it's important to not stress over the minor details.
At the end of the day, you might be able to list all the things that went wrong but the mother-to-be won't be minding any of that. Organizing an event is never an easy feat because you can't always control what will happen. Take pride in what you are able to accomplish, reflect on the time and effort that inevitably paid off, and remember to actually take time to sit down and enjoy what you organized.