Insider advice on throwing a baby shower in pregnancy, fun games you can play plus gift etiquette
Baby showers, predominately an American tradition where the mum-to-be is literally ‘showered’ with gifts for her unborn baby, are growing in popularity in the UK.
While the interest in baby showers has increased here over the last few years, it's with our own British twist, believes Alexandra Atkins, from The Ultimate Baby Shower.
“The baby shower tradition we prefer to uphold is rather more British – a gathering of close family and friends to celebrate mummy before baby, nappies and sleep deprivation arrive,” says Alexandra. “It’s about getting a support network together that new mummy can turn to when baby has arrived. Plenty of advice and giggles amongst tea and cake create the perfect baby shower.”
“A baby shower is traditionally a gathering of the new parent’s close friends and family to celebrate the impending arrival of baby,” says Alexandra. “It is also a massive help towards the huge costs of a newborn as baby shower guests usually come armed with array of baby gifts.”
“The ideal time to have your baby shower or host one for a friend or family member is around the 7th or 8th month of the pregnancy,” says Leena, from The Baby Shower Host. “Although don’t leave it too late, as it won’t give you much time to organise the gifts, plus the excitement could bring on the labour!”
By good old-fashioned invitations, says Alexandra. “The invitations are the clue to the event so it’s good to make an effort so that guests are excited about attending.”
“A typical baby shower would be an afternoon tea with around 10 to 15 people,” advises Alexandra.
Don’t expect full-on catering or a three-course meal - baby showers are all about finger food and nibbles. “There would be mini sandwiches, cupcakes, scones with jam and cream and perhaps a glass of champagne or two for the guests,” suggests Alexandra.
So, how do you make a baby shower look like a shower, rather than a party? It’s all about the baby-orientated decorations, says Alexandra. “The room would be baby-fied, but preferably in an elegant manner with a few banners, table centre pieces, baby-themed cookie bouquets and some suitable tableware.”
“Many like to put a personal stamp on their shower and have a theme,” says Leena. "If you know what sex your baby is, you might want a pink or blue theme, or even go all out and have it as your favourite film or fancy dress!”
There’s also the emerging trend of gender reveal parties.
Once you’ve got the décor sorted, how do you ensure your guests are entertained? “There are likely to be a few baby shower games but not too many because the guests like the chance to have a good chat too,” says Alexandra.
If you want to liven up the shower with some fun games, you could get the guests playing a guessing game. “If the parents know the sex of the baby, they can get guests to predict what it’ll be and what time they’ll be born. When the baby arrives, the nearest guess wins bottle of bubbly,” suggests Leena.
While there aren’t any set or standard rules, bringing a gift is usually a given. But what baby shower gifts should you bring? And if you’re the mum-to-be being thrown the baby shower, do you ask for gifts?
“In Britain most of us are still shy when it comes to gifts,” says Alexandra. “A gift list for guests is a great idea because parents-to-be really do know what they’d like for their baby and it makes it much easier to know the gifts received won’t be wasted." However, if you feel uncomfortable making a gift list, leave the invite open.
”Many people are embarrassed about asking so when attending a baby shower it’s good to take something useful for the mum-to-be, dad-to-be and the baby,” advises Alexandra.
“There are many ways to cut costs when throwing a baby shower. It needn’t cost much at all,” says Alexandra. “You can buy a couple of banners, a couple of centre pieces and do the rest yourself. It’s easy enough to print out invitations, add a little decoration and send them off.”
As for the food, Alexandra suggests food can be bought from any supermarket and made to look lovely on cheap platters and stands, which you can pick up in the supermarket or at your local pound shop.
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