Throwing a baby shower is one of the nicest gifts you can give to an expectant mom. It can be the perfect time for a mom-to-be to celebrate with friends and share the joy and anticipation of becoming of mother. We’ve all seen the standard shower full of yellow rubber duckies and diaper derbies. Now that it’s your turn to play hostess, why not have some fun and get creative? Here some ideas to get you started.
Every party needs direction, and a great theme can tie everything together.
1. Mom Themes: Think about what the mom-to-be’s hobbies and passions are. For instance, if the expectant mom is a huge sports team fan, create a shower that combines baby items with team colors and mascots (baby booties in team colors and tiny jerseys, for example).
2. Baby Themes: “Decorations can be a major element for a more unusual shower,” says Sherri Foxman, AKA the “Party Girl” and founder of Party411. “We have used disposable diapers as napkins, tied with ribbon, of course; filled baby shoes with candy at each table (don’t worry the baby will grow into them); and created personalized labels for baby food with the mom’s picture (put one at each place setting).” You can also include a baby blanket tablecloth, hanging mobile centerpiece, and small baby bottle flower arrangements for some added baby fun.
3. Sleep Over: If some of mom’s favorite guests are coming from out of town, throw a girlfriends slumber party just like you did when you were kids. This time you can host it at a local bed and breakfast or spa hotel. What a great chance to catch up before the new arrival!
4. Home Spa: A new trend in spa parties is the home visit. Spa professionals can come to the party and give everyone massages, facials, and manicures. This way an indulgent spa touch can be added to a traditional shower, and guests don’t have to travel to another locale.
5. Walk on the Wild Side: Freshen up the party by moving it outdoors. Check out local scenic parks or gardens for possible party locales. This is especially nice if mom enjoys nature or gardening, or if there is a large crowd.
6. Paint by Numbers: For a lively, activity-based party, have everyone meet at a “paint your own” pottery studio. Guests can each make a special piece for the new family, such as plates, vases, and commemorative items. Everyone will have fun and the mom-to-be will have a full set of custom baby tableware with which to remember the day.
7. Shopping: What better way to spend the day with girlfriends than a day out shopping? Plan a special day out at a cool shopping district or mall. Decide on a great place for lunch and request everyone bring gift cards to the nearby stores, so the mom-of-honor can have fun shopping with everyone. (This also saves guests from the trouble of registries and gift-wrap.)
8. Keep it Close: A core group of friends and family can sometimes be more enjoyable than a huge room full of people, especially if the mom-to-be is uncomfortable in a crowd. Throw a low-key shower with a small group. Look through photo albums, make special crafts or start a baby scrapbook, rent a movie, order take-out, and just spend some quality time together.
9. Office Space: Surprise the expectant mom by decorating her cubicle or office with baby-themed items. Focus on ways everyone can make her work time easier during her transition to motherhood. Give her a thoughtful or funny memento to remember everyone while on maternity leave, such as a mini scrapbook or recording of her coworkers singing a lullaby.
Looking for new decorating ideas? Try these for a bit of added ambiance.
10. Color, Color, Color: Blue, pink, and yellow have always been the standards for shower decorations. Make a bold choice by shying away from these colors and going with a more brilliant style. Colors that make a pop can be jewel tones like purple and gold or lush colors like moss green and rose.
11. A Little Bit of Country: Decorations with delicate bunches of lavender, white linen tablecloths, and potpourri-filled bowls add a sophisticated but homey touch.
12. A Touch of Class: Add sophisticated touches, like fresh flowers, elegant trays of patisserie finger foods, and candles in varying heights.
13. Celebrate the Seasons: Play off the season—vibrant oranges and reds for summer, light shades of green for spring, rich yellows and golds for fall, and crisp white and blue for winter.
Remember your first priority should be to the guest of honor. During the shower, try these little steps to greatly increase mom-to-be’s enjoyment.
14. A Sense of Place: Design a special seating area where she can open presents, read cards, and participate in activities. The sitting space can be decorated in the theme of the party, but should also be comfy and roomy.
15. Crowd Control: As the hostess, keep your eye out for any tensions or unfavorable feelings from the mom-to-be or guests. If someone is stealing the spotlight or being rude, switch gears and quietly request a change in behavior.
16. The Doting Host: Look for cues that the expectant mom needs a break. If the shower is outdoors, make sure it is not too hot and that your guests have a sufficient supply of drinks and food.
Party Outside the Box
Try these out-of-the-box ideas for an original and fun baby shower.
17. Head Shots: Ask guests to bring baby pictures. Have you ever played the standard baby shower game of matching the baby photo to the guest? Add this fun twist: instead of just labeling names, have guests write quote bubbles next to the pictures. The quotes can answer a question, like “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Then afterward read the blurbs to everyone for some good laughs.
18. Crash the Party: Invite unexpected guests, like childhood friends, professors, or former coworkers. Make sure the guests would be a welcome surprise.
19. Male Invasion: Encourage the men to come to the party. Sometimes throwing in the opposite sex can lead to a more entertaining shower. Isn’t it always more fun to laugh at the guys trying out baby food or competing in a bottle-sucking race?
20. The Entertainer: Host some entertainment, like a local jazz band or amateur violinist. The music will add another layer to the party and provide a nice backdrop for conversation.
21. Let There Be Kids: Many women have difficulty finding childcare, and what could say “Welcome Baby” more than the laughter of children? Create a special spot for kids; set up with toys, books, and kid-friendly snacks.
22. Go Virtual: Host an online shower. Websites like webbabyshower.com offer a virtual party experience that is great for moms who live far away or who are on bed rest. Complete with printable keepsakes, party games, and registry links for easy online shopping, this idea will probably only get more popular.
23. After the Fact: So what do you do if you’re a mom who doesn’t know if a shower will be thrown for you? “In this day and age,” says Foxman, “it is completely appropriate to approach a close friend or family member and ask them to host a shower. Another option … wait until after the baby is born and have a ‘coming out’ party so it doesn’t seem like you’re throwing yourself a shower. This would be much more appropriate,” adds Foxman.
24. Video Shower: “If the mom-to-be is in a new area and hasn’t made new friends, and family isn’t close by, we’ve been known to host ‘video’ showers,” says Foxman. “Everyone sends gifts and someone video tapes the proceedings and mails everyone a copy! Ahh … the electronic age!”
And finally … some advice for the hostess:
25. R-E-L-A-X: “As for any party,” says Foxman, “relax. Many hostesses get stressed out because they want to make such a good impression. People generally have a great time when they get together, especially for a party as happy as a baby shower. Make your guest list, choose the space based on the number of guests, pick a theme … and go for it!”