Who runs a baby shower?
Some mums-to-be organise their own showers, but it’s usually her best friend who’ll host it. It’s the mate’s responsibility to invite the guests, organise catering and ensure it all runs smoothly.
“The mum-to-be’s best friend will have a good idea about what to include and what she’ll enjoy,” says Chrystal de’Gale, founder of Beforebaby.co.uk. “If the expectant mum has a close group of friends, sometimes they’ll organise it together,” she adds. Another idea is to involve family. “I’ve found it’s nice for the mum-to-be to organise the shower with her mum,” says Suzi Rudd, founder of Babyshowersgalore.co.uk. “It’s a great way for granny-to-be to share her experiences with her daughter, and be there for her.”
Where and when should you hold it?
Most baby showers take place in late pregnancy, usually around six to eight weeks before the due date. “It’s best not to have it any later than this in case a mum goes into labour early and misses out on her own shower,” says Suzi.
Where you hold your shower depends on your budget. “The homes of the mum-to-be or hostess are great for comfort, but if you want something outdoors, a park can be a nice touch and it’s free,” says Chrystal, “or even your office during lunch before you go on maternity leave”. If you want to organise something a little different, try asking local hotels if they do packages.
How about a theme?
Themes come in all shapes, colours and sizes – blue and pink are the simplest, of course. “These are really effective because you can match everything to the theme including decorations, centrepieces and gifts. When the sex of the baby isn’t known yet, a neutral colour can be used instead,” suggests Chrystal.
Afternoon tea is a fashionable choice. “It’s really popular,” says Suzi. “It’s simple, elegant and represents a very English tone, which is something a lot of our customers go for because it’s understated. Typically, baby showers in America are more extravagant affairs, but people in this country don’t usually like to make as much fuss.”
Knowing who you want to invite to the shower is really important. If you’re organising it for a close friend you’ll probably already know who’s important in her life. “The majority of showers we organise have around 15 to 20 guests,” says Chrystal. You need to think about whether you want to invite just close friends, or if you want to include family and work colleagues.
Invitations should clearly state the location, date and time of the shower, including how you’d like them to RSVP so you know how many you’re catering for. “These days a little note with a mobile number on it saying ‘Text your RSVP to this number’ makes it a lot easier for people to reply quickly,” says Suzi.
What to serve?
Food and drink can be quite stressful because you’ve got to consider guests who might have allergies and dietary requirements. The easiest way around this is to cater the shower with a buffet. “Little nibbles and sandwiches allow you to cater for everyone without any fuss,” says Suzi.
Alternatively, if you’re working within quite a limited budget, you can ask guests to bring their own dishes. “That way, not only will you have a great variety, guests will feel really involved with the planning,” says Chrystal.
Any party needs a centrepiece and a baby shower’s no exception, so why not have some fun and make the cake a real feature. “We have lots of suggestions at Beforebaby.co.uk,” says Chrystal. “Cupcakes, or a large cake, on a decorative cake stand is a lovely, simple idea.”
If you’re planning a surprise shower for your best mate and you’ve got lots of time,why not consider a ‘gender reveal’ cake. “These are really popular for us,” Chrystal explains. “The mum-to-be gets her doctor or radiographer to write the sex of the baby on a slip and put it in a sealed envelope, which she gives to the hostess without peeking at it. When ordering the cake, the hostess will ask for the sponge inside to be pink or blue and hidden by icing. It’ll be the ultimate surprise because the mum-to-be only finds out what she’s having when the cake’s cut.”
Also, make sure you have a wide selection of drinks available at your baby shower. Alcohol can help loosen up the guests and get the party games going, but non-alcoholic beverages are a must for drivers and mums-to-be.
What to do on the day
Games can break the ice and allow guests to get to know each other better. “It’s best to really consider who your guests are before you plan activities,” says Chrystal. “You don’t want to embarrass anyone too much, especially if you’re inviting work colleagues.”
Typical games are baby bingo (using baby pics instead of numbers) and baby anagrams, where words relating to babies are used and the first person to guess wins a prize.
“We played Pin the Bun on the Oven. Similar to pin the tail on the donkey, we had a photo of me when I was pregnant, and cartoon paper buns. It was a really memorable day arranged by my amazing sister.”
Lisamarie Lamb, 30, Isle of Sheppey, mum to Alice, 9 months