So, your best friend is having a baby and she asked YOU to host a baby shower. What an honor! Time to celebrate and shower her with love. But, where to start? Should it be themed? Where in Cedar Rapids do you have it? What kinds of games do you play? How do you keep it under budget? Look no further.
Here is your how-to guide on hosting a baby shower.
Pick a place that’s local to the mama-to-be, whether it be at your place, a community hall, convention centers, or even at a library (Cedar Rapids Library rents rooms for free)! If it’s nice, you can also throw a party outside – think casual BBQ patio party, rent a pavilion or hit up the Cedar Rapids Country Club (if you’re a member). Ensure that there is enough room for your guests to mingle. Call ahead to get reservations, chairs, table cloths, and other rentals booked ahead of time! August and September are actually the two busiest months for all things baby (showers, sales and babies being born), so be sure to plan ahead if you are in the busy season.
Invites can be as formal or causal as you’d like. You can make them yourself using Word or PhotoShop, or you can dish out some money for pre-made templates which you can find at Micheal’s, Party City, or any supermarket. Etsy also has customizable invitations to fit any theme. To save money on postage (and if your guest list is super tech-savvy), you can send an e-vite on websites like Punchbowl and Paperless Post. Per etiquette rules, invites should be sent out at least 6 weeks in advance to allow guests to make arrangements and RSVP. Be sure you leave your phone number or email on the invite so people can contact you. Although etiquette says not to include the mama-to-be’s registry information on the invite, I think it’s perfectly fine to add a slip in the envelope to let people know what she needs.
Not sure what theme to choose? The good news is you don’t have to. Whether you’re thinking something full-on Pinterest or are going for more of a low-key vibe, be sure to get some ideas from the guest of honor. Try to play up her personality with what you choose. If she loves books, try a nursery rhyme theme. If she’s into dance, do a ballerina theme. And, if she doesn’t know the gender or prefers something more laid back, try something simple like elephants, “ready to pop” or twinkle twinkle little star. If you’re looking for some pre-made themes, check out Somewhat Simple’s Baby Shower Theme List to download. It includes free printables and ideas for décor, food, games, invitations, banners, and more.
The beauty about having an outdoor shower is you get to take advantage of nature’s ambiance. A few balloons, diaper cakes or wreaths, and some cute banners or vintage chairs and you’re set. You could also try hanging some white lights or lanterns if it’s an evening shower. The world is your oyster! From pompoms and adorable center pieces to homemade chalkboard signs, decor can be as elegant or simple as you like. If you know the name or want a more personalized banner to hang, Etsy has customizable ones. If you’re renting an indoor space, be sure to check with management to see if it’s ok to hang things on the wall and decorate.
It’s truly an honor to be asked to host a baby shower. Your friend thinks highly of you and puts trust in your hands to make the day special. Getting her a special gift as a token of your appreciation is the considerate thing to do. If you’re at a loss what to get, sticking with the registry is usually a safe bet. Also, diapers and wipes are always big hits. If you’re looking for something a bit more personalized and unique, try making her a baby scrapbook where she can fill in the pages as the memories are made. Crochet a blanket, make homemade hair bows, homemade burp rags, get a gift card for a massage, or set up a MealTrain account – anything that’s from the heart will do!
Food & Drinks
Food depends on what time of day you hold the shower as well as how formal or informal the event is. For morning showers, you could serve brunch – think egg casseroles, fresh fruit, orange juice, donuts, or muffins. For lunch, try serving finger food like triangle sandwiches, crostinis, cucumber water, juice, dips, veggie trays, cookies, pickle wraps, chips, or popcorn. Try to coordinate the food with the theme to wow the guests. Bring a lot coolers, slow cookers or warmers to keep food at its appropriate temperature. If you’d rather not fuss with making food and drinks, catering is also an option. Cedar Rapids has a slew of options such as Dostal Catering, Hy-vee, Julia ‘n’ LeChef Catering, and Wright Touch Catering and Bake Shoppe. Also, ensure there are options for guests with dietary restrictions (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.) and plan bring a surplus of food as some guests will have seconds.
Games & Prizes
Games are the heart of the party. It’s important to have a few games during the party or before presents to keep guests entertained and involved (especially if there are women who don’t know each other well). Some mamas-to-be aren’t fans of kitschy games, so be sure you run some of your ideas by the guest-of-honor. There are so many great, and unique, baby shower games you can get your guests excited to play. Check out a few of my favorite sites: FitPregnancy’s Genuinely Fun Baby Shower Games, Parents’ Festive Baby Shower Games, and Buzzfeed’s 30 Baby Shower Games That Are Actually Fun. From guess the baby photo to name that baby animal, these lists of games are sure to get the party started and ensue a few laughs to break the ice. Be sure you have a few prizes to give away for the winner (think nail polish, body scrubs, candles, or candy in pink or blue!).
At the end of the day, this should be a fun event, so no need to stress out or blow your budget. Tackle each stage step-by-step and before you know it, you’ll have a shower everyone will rave about. More importantly, your friend, the guest of honor, will remember for it for years to come.
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