Planning a baby shower anytime soon? If you are, you know that this can be a somewhat overwhelming and nerve-wracking thing. Sure, the idea of it may be fun and exciting as you envision blessing the new mom with your talents and creativity. But then you actually have to get started on the work aspect and it can be difficult to work through the details.
I recently threw a baby shower for a friend of mine. This was the first baby shower I had ever thrown and, naturally, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.
Here are some things I would suggest doing if you are preparing to plan a shower for a friend and new mommy-to-be:
1. Do not limit her guest list. Tell her that up front. Allow her the freedom and privilege of inviting the people who are closest to her and whose presence would be meaningful to her. This might mean your guest list is only five people. It might mean there are 80 people on the list! So be it. It's her day to be blessed and your day to do the blessing. I realize that you might have space issues but do try to resolve them as best as you can. When you are the one having a baby, it's hard to think of limiting your friend list and who you want to have come and celebrate the new arrival alongside you. Try to accommodate as many as possible. (And don't freak out if the original guest list is long! It's unlikely every single person on the list will show up on your doorstep!)
2. Ask her for the guest list at least one month in advance - names and addresses! This allows you time to work on the invitations and mail them out three weeks before the actual shower date, giving the guests adequate notice so that they can make the time in their schedule to attend the shower.
3. I prefer mailing out invitations myself. I think it's more formal and special that way. However, if you know your friend well and if the guest list is long, ask if there are any guests on the list that wouldn't mind receiving a hand-delivered invitation. I don't think that's a rude question, but a fair one. But before you ask - do try to be aware of whether or not that question is offensive. I STILL think receiving an actual invitation is more special than an e-mail invite. (Personal preference.)
4. Ask the mommy-to-be the following questions as you prepare the invitations:
- Would she prefer to have her shower before or after the baby's arrival? (Allow her to decide!)
- Does she know the gender of her baby, or will this be a surprise?
- Does she have a theme selected for the baby/the nursery?
- Has she, or is she, planning to register somewhere? Obtain the required registry information so that you can pass that along to her guests.
- Would she like someone to lead a devotional or would she prefer to just allow her guests to mingle?
- Does she like baby shower games or would she prefer those to be avoided? Are there any games in particular that she would rather not have take place at her shower?
- Would she like to open her gifts in front of her guests, or would she prefer to open them later on with her husband? (Allow her to decide!)
6. Ask the guest of honor if she has any food allergies or aversions. You certainly don't want to get caught serving something that she would be sick at the sight of!
7. Plan your menu. There are lots of resources online for helping you select an appropriate menu to suit the theme the mother has chosen for the baby (i.e., Classic Pooh, Princess, Baseball, etc.). Make it fun! Take some time to be creative. She will remember this day!
8. Ask for RSVP's to help you plan for the food - but don't bet on them. Sadly, most people fail to follow through with RSVPs these days and so give it your best guess and estimate. Plan for more food than you think you might need. Leftovers are A-ok and the mom-to-be might appreciate some snacks to take home to the father-to-be if there are extras. (No doubt the father-to-be would be delighted to help polish off the food from the festivities!) Also, I recommend against putting a deadline on RSVPing for the event. It is inevitable that someone will want to come to the shower but forget to RSVP and then at some point will notice there was a deadline requesting information on their presence. In my opinion, it's bad form to cause a guest feel like they are unwelcome to come because they accidentally forgot to let you know that they wanted to come before your imposed deadline kicked in.
Do your best to plan, but plan to be flexible.
9. If possible, ask for a volunteer in advance to sit next to the mommy-to-be and take notes during the gift opening (i.e., mark down who gave what.) Have the supplies laid out and ready to go, (including a trash bag!), so that the present opening process goes as smoothly as possible.
10. Take the time to introduce yourself to each guest that you are hosting and personally thank them for coming. It's just polite. (If there are a lot of people, this might not be totally possible, but if you can - do.)
All these things and more (I'm certain!) can be done to make this showered-upon blessing experience a wonderful one for the new mother. Keep a smile on your face (even if you are tiiiired) and remember the day is not about you - it's about blessing another and celebrating life together!
Any additional suggestions? Leave them in the comment section below!