baby shower newb — The Bump
Baby Showers

baby shower newb

My BFF is due with her first baby in May and I've offered to throw her a shower, but I've never attended, let alone hosted, a baby shower. I just need some pointers to make sure I'm going in the right direction. I feel like I know how to host a party properly; I'm just new to the parents-to-be thing. I'm also new to the Bump; I used the Knot forums a fair amount for planning my wedding a few years ago, but I'm relatively unfamiliar with any Bump/baby-specific jargon.

She and I talked by phone today to clarify some specifics (date, rough number of people invited, location options) and general feel of the event, which will be a co-ed, low-key shower for her and her husband. They frequently host BBQs and holiday parties, and we are both envisioning something similar. Guest list will be friends only (their families are hosting a separate family shower), men and women invited, as well as the few young kids in their social circle -- probably inviting 30-40 people in total. Location will be my home.

- Time of day? I had thought about afternoon, in between meal times, say 2-5 pm, with appetizers, but maybe doing a simple meal would be easier, either at lunch time or early dinner.
- Related to that, food? I'm currently considering doing appetizers (my husband and my mom have offered to help). But BBQing or getting catering from a local restaurant might be easier anyway? Is there a norm for baby showers?
- Games? She is not into really traditional, women-only games (neither am I), so I'm looking for (a) whether to have games, and (b), if so, what? I'm personally more comfortable with ongoing activities (like a registry-BINGO, is that still a thing?) as opposed to specifically timed events, as I dislike trying to herd people around. Ideas? We will have beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Favors? I know they aren't mandatory; will anyone miss them? Any easy ideas that are crowd-pleasers? I don't want to sound lazy with this, but I'm not particularly crafty or wealthy.
- Invitations timeline? I'll likely be ordering invitations from somewhere like VistaPrint -- how many weeks prior to the event are they to be mailed? I know wedding invites were 6-8 weeks; I'm assuming these are closer to 3-4 weeks out?
- Anything else I should be asking?

Thanks in advance.

Re: baby shower newb

  • I am helping to host a baby shower for a friend too. I am not an expert, but I can share what I have done.
    - invitations I sent 6 weeks in advance
    - favors we wont have much, just some decor here and there that we found on pinterest. our theme is shabby chic.
    - as for games we will have the one you give a necklace to each guest and whoever says the qord baby gets the necklace stolen, we will guess the aize of the belly, and we wowill guess how many mms are inside of the bottle (rreal easy quick games).
    - we are having it from 2 to 5pm and we are making sandwiches and some small appetizers.
    Hope it helps with your ideas!
  • I can try to help!

    - Time of day? I would do 2-4pm if you'd like to avoid feeding guests an actual meal - which could get spendy. See next question.
    - Related to that, food? I would just do appetizers, seeing as how the party would be after lunch, but before dinner. I've never been to a baby shower and had an actual meal, just snack foods. Again, up to you on what you want to make or spend money on. Alcohol is good though.
    - Games? Most people can't stand baby shower games. The only one I ever liked was the quiz type game where you make up questions about the mother to be and guests have to answer them, based on how well they know her.
    - Favors? To me, favors aren't a big deal and I haven't seen them at showers I've been to.
    - Invitations timeline? I would probably mail them out at least a month before the shower if not 6 weeks.
    - Anything else I should be asking? Don't mention anything about specific gifts on the invitation. You can put down where she is registered but don't ask for diapers, do a diaper raffle, etc. It's rude to dictate how people spend their money.
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  • Will this be something outside for a BBQ or just all inside?  

    For a couples shower like this, I wouldn't do any games nor favors.  

    When they've had their BBQs and holiday parties, what kind of food do they typically have?
  • Hmm, I think if you want to do a co-ed BBQ type shower, you can skip games and favors, but without the structure of timed activities, I would probably do it at a meal time and actually serve a meal. It can be casual or buffet-style, but it sounds like food is going to have to be be the main event, just like it is as holidays gatherings and barbecues.
  • You've gotten some excellent advice on your questions.  Here are also a few pitfalls to avoid:

    --Build in a specific time for the MTB (mother to be) to open gifts.  People sometimes contemplate skipping this part, but it is, after all, the entire purpose for the party.  Anyone who gets tired of gushing over pacifiers and diaper genies can hit the snacks or beer cooler again and chat/mingle on the outskirts of the gift opening, especially at a co-ed BBQ shower.  Many guests will spend time precious time picking out a thoughtful gift and will really appreciate seeing the MTB's gracious reaction.  Skipping this is a faux pas.

    --Don't be too rigid and structured about games and activities.  People know how to socialize without having to play games.  That being said, I always think at least one game that doesn't make the guests feel awkward isn't too much to bear.  Like someone said above, the quiz game or gift-opening bingo is a game that is entertaining without awkwardness.  I think the worst games are the ones that involve diapers full of melted chocolate or force adults to drink from a baby bottle. 

    --Don't force people to decorate a onesie as a gift for the MTB.  Personally, I love this activity, but I seem to be in the minority.  I know some people dread this type of command performance.  They feel forced and judged, and who wants a guest to feel that way?

    --Remember that a baby shower is something that most people consider to be more of a social obligation than a fun way to spend an afternoon.  They don't mind attending, and they want to acknowledge this important family life milestone of a friend or family member.  But if given a choice, they'd almost certainly choose free time over attending a baby shower.  So, make it short, drama-free, and pleasant for the guests.

    --Along the same lines, don't "over-Pinterest" the shower.  Sometimes people get over-inspired and think they will fail as a shower hostess if they don't include every cutesy/clever/craftsy/expensive novel baby shower idea they've pinned.  See above.  It's just a baby shower, not a Broadway production. 

    Have fun and ask for help if you need it.  Hostessing solo is tough!
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • I'd throw a Shower the way the Mama wants. Backyard BBQ style, with no goofy games (face it, no one likes them), and have a special time where the Mama-to-be opens the gifts. If this party is coed, you should make a sitting area for folks that is nearby the BBQ hangout, so that everyone can be included, even if they aren't sitting and staring at the Mama-to-be the entire time. Keep it short and sweet!
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