Baby shower

Planning a baby shower is an exciting way to be a part of a loved one’s growing family—but what if you’ve never done it before? Are there trends that have become best practices? Will guests be expecting something totally different than what you’ve planned?

Relax. A baby shower is supposed to be fun for the mother-to-be, the guest, and you. If you’ve been asked by the mother to plan the baby shower, consider her the Chair of your Baby Shower Advisory Board. You don’t need to check in with her on every detail, but ask her if you’re uncertain on big decisions. Tasks like locations, themes, and most importantly the guest list, all fall within the realm of things to ask the mom. Asking for the guest list can be the perfect segue to gathering more information. Try to keep these information sessions short and brief. After all, you are the planner!

If you haven’t been asked but would like to volunteer, know that your invitation will likely be warmly accepted. Nobody likes to ask someone to throw a party. So are you ready to get started? Here’s how to throw a flawless baby shower and kick off a lifetime of great memories.

1. Plan the shower for the mother

This isn’t a party for the guests. If you’re the planner, you probably already have a very good idea of the mom’s likes and dislikes. Empathy goes a long way here. It’s your job to stick up for what she wants. Try to plan from her perspective, and don’t forget to ask her or those very close to her for insight.

2. Choose the day and time carefully

The mom will be in charge of this decision, but help her pick a date and time where she’ll have energy and most of her guests can make it. This generally falls on mid-day during the weekends. This can be a tough time to book reservations and venues. As soon as you get the title of planner, start booking reservations and confirming guests.

3. Choose an activity that fits within the guests’ budgets

Generally, the mom shouldn’t be paying for anything that has to do with the party. But depending on your budget and how much you want to spend, the guests might be chipping in. This might include individual checks at a dinner or pooling together for a specific activity or venue. Great baby showers can be thrown on any budget. The most important thing for any mom is that all her loved ones are there.

4. Make sure to spread the word about the baby registry

If the mom has a baby registry, it’s your job to let guests know where to find it. Do not include this information on printed invitations (it’s traditionally considered a bit too forward). However, it can be shared on online sites dedicated to the shower or individually with each guest.

5. Get a definitive list of yes/no responses when it comes to classic activities

When planning the theme, one of the most important aspects is knowing if the mom wants traditional games and which ones. Some moms feel very strongly, one way or the other, about games like “pudding in the diaper.” Guessing the size of the mom’s belly might be a blast for some moms and very uncomfortable for others. If the mom gives the green light for traditional games, make up a list of options for her to easily check yes or no. Make sure you know her stance on gender reveals and plan accordingly.

6. Help the mom make memories

Whether you hire a professional photographer or assign one person to be the unofficial photographer and videographer for the day, it’s critical to capture these memories. One option is to have a “no phones” policy, with the only exceptions being those who are tasked with recording the day. This way, the mom and all the guests aren’t distracted. Plus, photos look much better when those captured aren’t staring at a screen.

7. Keep the party brief but allow for unofficial “after parties”

The mom likely won’t know how much energy she’ll actually have for entertaining. Err on the side of caution and max the party at three hours. If she’d like to continue after the official end time, have a plan for a laidback “after party” that will continue somewhere she’s comfortable and doesn’t have to clean up after guests. Alternatively, if she’d rather take the “after party” home, make sure you attend to recruit and man the cleanup crew.

Baby showers are as unique as the mom and her growing family. There are no hard and fast rules. What’s important is making her feel special and pampered. Customizing the day around her wishes and likes is the best way to do this. Your biggest job as the baby shower planner is to make this a fun, easy day for her while ensuring memories are captured with photos and videos.