Deciding Whether to Host a Surprise Baby Shower

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower

Baby showers are a great way to socialize, congratulate and celebrate with the expectant mother and father. Traditionally, these parties are held in the mother’s honor to bring friends and family members together to help her get ready for the coming baby and changes, and most first-time moms will most likely expect a shower at some point.

This may present a problem when deciding whether to throw a surprise baby shower and risk making her feel as if no one is having a party for her. Regardless, the mother’s personality and personal preferences will need to be considered before making this decision. Not all mothers are suited for a surprise baby shower party, so keep this in mind.

That being said, as the host of the party, it truly is your decision to make. You should know the mother well enough to determine if she will enjoy a surprise baby shower or not. You’ll also know what types of activities, baby shower themes, decorations and menu items she’ll most likely prefer.

Another consideration should be whether the mother can physically handle a surprise baby shower. If she is having a high-risk pregnancy or experiencing difficulty, it may be best to stick with a planned party she is fully aware of and involved in the planning process.

If you decide to throw her a surprise baby shower, a little extra planning may be in order. The advantage is that she will never need to worry about her own baby shower, and you’ll simply have the pleasure of treating her like a queen for a day.

First, recruit another close friend or family member of the mother to plan an activity with her on the planned day of the event. This should keep her from suspecting anything, and the co-conspirator can ensure that she arrives at the surprise baby shower.

The guest list should also be checked with both a close friend and family member of the mother to ensure everyone is included that should be. Also, all guests should be informed of the surprise baby shower so as not to ruin it later! Cars should always be parked far away from the party location. Also remember that planning a surprise baby shower for a second or third pregnancy will be easier to handle, as mom most likely won’t even be expecting one!

There are some instances where a surprise baby shower should not be planned. If you know the mother at all, you should know whether she’s the type that would enjoy a surprise or not. Some just simply don’t like to be surprised, and want to know of everything, so keep her personality in mind.

If the baby’s deliver date is impending, it may not be a great idea to plan a surprise baby shower, either. These are best planned for at least 2 months before the expected due date, in case of an early delivery or any last-minute complications.

Shopping Ideas for Baby Shower Gifts

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower

Everyone loves shopping for baby shower gifts, as it gives the opportunity to ‘awww’ at all the cute and tiny necessities for a new baby. Although we’d love to give the expectant mom every little thing we find, there are ways to purchase baby shower gifts that she really needs and wants.

It is absolutely acceptable to ask the mother-to-be if she has any specific baby shower gifts she would like to receive. Another great source is the host of the baby shower – this will prevent a shy mother from feeling embarrassed if she feels she may seem presumptuous. This also allows her to be truly surprised on the day of her celebration.

There are plenty of baby gear stores that offer baby shower gift registries. You may also simply look online at a few of the major ones to see if the mother’s name is located there. This way, you don’t need to ask the host about the existence of one unless you can’t find it yourself.

These registries have an entire list of baby shower gifts that the mother picked out herself, and typically incorporate a general theme or color palette that appeals to her. A variety of price levels allows even the most modest budget to find something that mom needs and will love!

The gifts are also typically grouped together by department – say, bath time or clothing items. This way, if you are particularly keen on finding a specific type of gift, you’ll know which area to look in.

Each item has a corresponding UPC number listed on the tag, as well as a description. Remember that if you ever have a problem locating these items that you can always ask an associate in the store. Another option may simply be to shop for the baby shower gift through the online store; this way, there’s no searching – you simply click the picture of what you want, and choose to have it shipped or kept for an in-store pickup.

Baby shower gift registries do prevent the possibility of duplicate gifts and additional time and effort on the mother’s part to exchange anything she doesn’t like. Of course, guests may feel this is an impersonal way to choose a baby shower gift, and want to give mother and baby something a little more unique.

Engraved and personalized gifts are especially unique, and perfect for baby showers held after the birth. This allows for including the birth date, length and weight, and full name of baby for a special keepsake memoir.

As a host, simply planning and putting on the baby shower is considered a gift in itself. This is perhaps one of the most elaborate and costly baby shower gifts that exist. However, a baby shower corsage for the guest of honor is a great little touch that can be added for just a few dollars. Coordinate the corsage with other floral arrangements used at the baby shower, or simply choose her favorite color or flower.

Planning the Menu for a Baby Shower Party

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Cakes

Regardless of the type of party you’re planning, food, beverages and cake are perhaps one of the most important parts of the process. When planning a baby shower, you’ll need to consider how to create the ideal baby shower cake for the occasion, as well as regular menu items for a luncheon or afternoon snack.

Feeding guests is an ideal way to let them mingle and socialize, and catch up with the expectant mother. Often, the simpler the menu the better – it needn’t be extremely complicated and stressful, but even simple food can be presented in such a way to wow everyone involved.

Most baby showers will typically include things like finger foods and sandwiches, or a buffet-style menu. The key is to choose foods that are easy to prepare and serve, as well as eat. In other words, don’t plan on serving the most elaborate dish or something that requires a lot of silverware and plates for the guests!

Costs also need to be controlled, so consider this while planning the menu. Also, keep the time of day the baby shower will be held in mind – this will affect how large the menu should be. You can also arrange for a ‘pot luck’ menu, asking each guest to bring their favorite dish; this lowers your individual costs as the host, and prevents major clean-up after!

When meeting with the expectant mom in the early planning stages, ask for her input on possible menu items. This will help you determine the required budget, as well as any items that can be prepared and frozen way ahead of time.

Beverages should generally be non-alcoholic. This will prevent any overindulgence on the guests’ behalf, but virtually any drink can be fun and festive. Consider standards like bottled water, iced tea or lemonade, but add a bowl of colorful and fruity punch to go with the serving of the cake.

Soda or flavored water can also be considered, and coffee and decaffeinated choices should be provided. Any of these beverage choices can be purchased at sale prices far ahead of the baby shower date.

Don’t forget that the baby shower cake will be the center of attention on the menu. Sheet cakes are the easiest to serve and tend to be the least expensive, and can be decorated with a wide variety of appropriate baby theme items. If you prefer a more indulgent cake, consider a tiered creation that is more formal and can offer several different flavors.

You can look online for several photos of baby shower cakes, or can visit several local bakeries to inquire about special offers and designs available. Most bakeries will only need a week or two of advance notice to prepare the baby shower cake for pickup, unless you require a very unique design or flavor.

Remember to try to coordinate the baby shower cake design with the theme of the party, or a more elaborate cake may serve as the basis for the surrounding decorations. The simpler your food and beverage menu, the more of your budget can be allotted toward the creation of a truly unique baby shower cake that will impress both mother and guests alike!

Finding the Perfect Baby Shower Invitations

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Invitations

Baby showers are a very special occasion, and it’s important to choose just the right baby shower invites to formally request the presence of everyone on the guest list. Written baby shower invitations are appropriate, but there may be instances where printed baby shower invitations or e-mailed invites may suit the situation better.

Of course, in the case of a surprise shower and interest in avoiding the expectant mother discovering any evidence of the planning, you may also simply invite guests via a quick and personal phone call.

You may choose to custom-order baby shower invitations in the case that there is a specific baby shower theme you want to incorporate. Of course, you may find cheap baby shower invitations or simply print some from online sources, as well.

There are a few things you should ensure the baby shower invites include, no matter which type you use. You should include the most detailed information possible about the baby shower party, including the fact that you are celebrating the birth of a child. Always include the mother’s name, the full name of the host, necessary dates and times of both the party and RSVP deadlines, and the location.

You may also want to include general directions to the location of the baby shower from the nearest major road to aid guests in finding it efficiently. If you choose to exclude children from the celebration, you’ll need to state this in the baby shower invitations.

Some hosts receive mixed reviews about whether the baby shower theme or gift registry information should also be included in the baby shower invites. Another option is to always allow guests to call or e-mail to inquire about this information. This prevents the guest from feeling pressured to buy a gift, but if they feel it is appropriate can inquire as to where they should shop.

Any of this information should only be given when asked, and not simply with every RSVP call or e-mail received. These proper etiquette guidelines ensure that no guest will be offended and even in the most formal gatherings no one will feel as if the host was rude or presumptuous in any way.

The proposed timeline for sending baby shower invitations is also a point in question. Generally, the most notice you can give the guests, the better. Conversely, if you give them too much time they may forget. Most hosts will mail the baby shower invites 4 to 6 weeks before the shower date – this is sufficient for even out of town guests to plan accordingly.

If for some reason you are running on a tighter schedule, a 2 to 3 week minimum should be allowed for mailing invitations. This should still allow some time for guests to shop for baby shower gifts, adjust their schedules and travel, and RSVP to give you a final head count.

Of course, if you have not heard from every guest by a week before the party, pick up the phone and call them personally. Even after receiving a final guest count, you should still allow for a few last-minute guests that perhaps simply lost the invite or did not have time to RSVP.

Deciding Who to Invite to a Baby Shower

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Invitations

Obviously, friends and family will be included on a baby shower guest list. This party is planned in honor of the expectant mother, and these guests will be important for her to have in attendance on her special day.

As the host of the baby shower party, you’ll need to consult the mom well ahead of time to determine how many people, as well as who she would like to invite. This will help to determine your budget and the size of venue you’ll need to accommodate everyone, as well as whether she wants co-workers or old classmates there, too.

You want to ensure that everyone she’d like to be there is at least sent an invitation, and unwanted guests are left off of the final list. Although a larger list means more expenses, it’s best to foot the extra dollars to include everyone she wants there, so don’t limit the number of people she can invite to her own baby shower. Most mothers will realize the costs involved, and show you the same respect by not inviting a hundred people.

However, if you’re planning a surprise baby shower, there are a few general guidelines to follow when coming up with a guest list. Of course, her closest family members and friends will need to be included. Your list will also be affected by whether someone else is having a baby shower for the expectant mother.

If co-workers are planning a baby shower party, you may not need to include them on your list. If a side of her family lives far away and holds a baby shower for her there, you may be able to exclude them and only include family and friends that are located nearby.

It’s also very popular today to plan a co-ed or couples baby shower so the men can be involved, too. If appropriate baby shower décor and activities are planned, all are able to have a wonderful time. This type of baby shower may be planned as more of an informal barbecue or picnic get-together as well. These types of baby showers are typically acceptable in a more casual style, and allows for even a pitch-in type of menu.

Men love to eat, and the more variety there is available, the more they’ll enjoy themselves. You may also consider planning a separate activity for the men to partake in while the women watch the guest of honor open her gifts.

Some special considerations may also cause questions about your proposed guest list. As a celebration of a new life being brought into the world, there may be question about whether to include an individual or couple who recently lost a child/pregnancy, or have been unable to conceive their own much-wanted children.

The simple way to answer this is with a resounding ‘yes!’. It will be up to them to decide whether to attend, but it’s simply rude not to at least include them on the guest list to share in the mother’s special baby shower celebrations.

Ideas for Unique Games to Play at a Baby Shower

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Games

Everyone loves a great baby shower – guests are able to socialize and visit with old friends and distant family, eat great food, play unique baby shower games, and watch the expectant mom open all of her baby shower gifts. If you’re planning the party, it’s a good estimate that it will last for 2 to 3 hours; you’ll need to have plenty of activities planned for the guests to prevent any embarrassing lulls in the pace of the shower.

When planning a baby shower, remember that as everyone arrives they’ll want to say hello and talk with all the other guests and expectant mom. Allow for some time to socialize and catch up with everyone before moving on to the food.

The menu does not need to be elaborate or formal, but a few munchies or finger foods are ideal for snacking. The time of day that the baby shower is planned for will largely determine the type of foods you offer the guests. However, the cake will usually be reserved for the end of the party, so everyone has a photo opportunity of the mom cutting her cake.

Baby shower games are always fun, and this is a great way to make your baby shower party unique and unlike any other. Just about any game that exists can be altered to be appropriate for a baby shower, or to fit the mother’s personality and the expected baby.

You should plan on at least a few different games to sufficiently keep the guests active and busy. These baby shower games should be planned at least a few weeks in advance to ensure you have plenty of supplies for all the guests expected. Door prizes also need to be purchased or collected for winners of each game, too.

One classic baby shower game is where everyone attempts to guess how big the expectant mom’s belly is with a roll of toilet paper. Another game idea is to fill a bottle with candy of some sort or cotton swabs (to be given to mother afterward, of course), and have everyone guess the number of them in the bottle.

Baby bingo is another unique baby shower game, as well as baby tic-tac-toe, and pin the pacifier on the baby. Free printable baby shower games are typically found online, and you may find some other unique baby shower game ideas on forums or dedicated websites.

Instead of games, you may also plan an activity. This may include the group making a special and personalized item for the expectant mother, and could involve everyone in making a scrapbook, quilt, or video documentary. Another idea is having everyone write a personalized message to mother and baby in an ‘advice book’ as an activity or simply as the guests arrive in the door.

If you’re planning a couples or men and women baby shower, make sure the baby shower games and activities will cater to the entire group. You may also simply want to plan the baby shower party as a group get-together, like a barbecue outdoors in the park or an ideal backyard.

How to Choose the Perfect Baby Shower Theme

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Favors

If you’re hosting the baby shower party for the expectant mother, an important part of the planning process is to decide whether to implement a baby shower theme, and how to determine the best theme ideas for the event. Color schemes, whether you’re planning a boy baby shower or girl baby shower, and input from the mother will most likely help in determining the type of theme you’ll use.

It’s best to meet with the mother well ahead of time and ask if she would like a themed baby shower, or which themes she may be incorporating into the nursery. She may have a specific idea of a theme she’d like to use, or at least give you ideas to come up with your own.

Obviously, a surprise baby shower will not afford you this convenience. However, looking at her gift registry to get an idea of colors and themes she likes for the baby may give you a great starting point. As the host, you should already know the mother well enough to understand her personality and general likes and dislikes.

First, you must decide what type of shower you’ll be having. Will it be formal or informal? Are the guests women only, or will men be included? If you’re having a co-ed or couples shower, remember that many decorations and themes the women may find “cute” will not be as appealing to male guests necessarily.

However, if the baby shower party is to be for girls only, your choices in baby shower themes is literally endless. If you know the sex of the baby, this will give you further information to use in this planning process. Also remember that you shouldn’t choose a theme that will be extremely difficult to coordinate or find decorations and games for, either.

You may consider a prince or princess baby shower theme, Disney character themes, animals, nursery rhymes, angels, rubber ducks, sports, holidays, celebrities, special twin themes, or baby apparel and supplies themes.

Your chosen baby shower theme should be approved by the mother-to-be if the party is not planned as a surprise. Other themes may include a ‘Safety Shower’ where all gifts are aimed toward keeping baby and child safe, or a ‘Pamper Mommy’ shower that centers around comforting the mom during delivery and during the stressful first months of her new schedule.

Mothers expecting their second or third child may not require as many standard gifts, as she may already own several of them. In this case, you can be a little more creative in your choice of themes, and reduce the pressure for guests to bring big and expensive gifts. A scrapbook may be an ideal personalized gift, where every guest offers a special message or idea for different pages to be included. This also creates a great activity during the baby shower party.

With a little creativity and input from the mother, virtually any baby shower theme can be planned for. Considering the guest list, plans for the baby, and time and money involved, it’s easy to create a fun day of socialization and celebration that everyone can enjoy.

Choosing the Right Baby Shower Favors

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Favors

Baby shower favors are customary for the host to provide to guests to thank them for taking part in the planned celebration. Taking time to attend and celebrate with friends and family can be more difficult for some, but showing gratitude for this effort and giving everyone something to remember the occasion by is always a good idea.

A ton of money needn’t be spend on baby shower favors. There are several options for homemade baby shower favors or very inexpensive options. The cost and extravagance is not what’s important – it simply needs to be something which commemorates the occasion.

Several retail and online stores specialize in such items, and can even be coordinated with many different baby shower themes. You may use a variety or sole items such as candles, candies, photo frames, magnets, writing utensils with an inscription of the coming baby’s name, home bath and spa products, or even seed packets. Yellow rubber duckies are always a classic favorite, as well as bottle-shaped or appropriately colored baby shower favors.

More formal baby showers may in fact call for a more extravagant choice in baby shower favours. Upscale items commonly used at these types of parties include silver tea spoons tied with a ribbon, coffee scoops, fine chocolate candy, and candles set inside a crystal bootie. These are also usually wrapped in baby shower themed bags and boxes for a great presentation on the table.

Baby shower favours can cost anywhere from $1 to several dollars a piece. This is why the hosts’ budget for the event is so important – the tone and type of baby shower to be held will largely determine the most appropriate choice in favors for the guests. A more formal event will require a larger budget for this item, which may mean that costs need to be cut elsewhere.

The larger the party, the more expensive the baby shower favors become, too. Every person that attends will need to leave with one, so make sure you order and purchase plenty for unexpected arrivals who failed to RSVP.

Also take in to account the types of guests you’re inviting. Varying ages, marital statuses, mothers and non-mothers will require a more general baby shower favor that all of these types will find appealing and useful. If you’re holding a co-ed or couples shower, this will require some added thought to make the favor a fun item for the men, too.

If the party is planned well in advance, you can keep your eyes open for sale and clearance baby shower favors at local supply or online stores. This can also be something that you shop for before ever setting the date; simply ask the mother for input, or what type of theme and colors she’ll want to see included. Of course, at this time you’ll have no idea how many guests will attend.

If your favors are more specific, a time period to shop for them is 4 to 6 weeks before the party. Also, keep your receipts in the case that you need to return more expensive favors.

Choosing Decorations to Compliment a Baby Shower Theme

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower Games

Once you have spent time with the expectant mother to determine the ideal color scheme and theme for the baby shower, it’s time to plan for the appropriate baby shower decorations to coordinate. Depending upon your budget, the amount of and elaborate possibilities in decorations for the baby shower will be determined already.

Some party decorations will be quite affordable, and others will be more expensive, so these costs will need to be juggled accordingly to properly incorporate the theme into them. The location of the baby shower will also largely determine the types of decorations you’ll be able to use. Streamers may not be easy to hang from some types of ceilings, and others may simply be too large to fit in the allotted space.

Even the simplest of baby shower decorations can be used to create a wonderful space for the event. A few basics can be personalized to fit any baby shower theme, and make an impression with even the smallest budget available.

First, a great baby shower centerpiece is a balloon bouquet congratulating the mother, or announcing the impending birth. Other great baby shower decoration ideas including using inexpensive pink and/or blue balloons to mark directional signs on the day of the event, as well as the location itself to help guests identify it.

Balloons are one of the most inexpensive baby shower decoration ideas, as endless color options can be chosen to match any baby shower theme or color choice.

Paper goods and baby shower tableware will also be a large part of the decorating budget. The guests need to put their food and drink somewhere, and will also need utensils if required, but definitely will need them for the cake. Wonderful baby shower plates, napkins and cups can be found in virtually any theme you can think of, or you may simply choose to match a specific color scheme for a less expensive option.

After these basics are addressed, any tablecloths, banners and other special decorations will largely be dependant upon the area you are holding the baby shower, and your remaining budget. You can always splurge on a fancier baby shower cake, or find additional decorations to use throughout the baby shower party location. Baby shower centerpieces are available for girl baby showers, boy baby showers, and virtually any theme you may decide upon.

Confetti on the tables, themed baby shower favors and game prizes, and even special baby shower party hats may be additional decorative options. Flower arrangements, whether real or silk, can also be used to compliment the chosen colors, and placed on tables or on the gift table for added flair.

Candles, place cards and even chair covers may be used to create a more formal atmosphere for the baby shower theme. Always consider, too, that unless the baby shower will be held in your home, you’ll need to complete the decorating on the day of the event. You will need a few hours to finish the task, but don’t try to incorporate too many baby shower decorations for the time you’ve allotted.

Baby Shower Cakes Create Unique Packaging for a Variety of Baby Gifts

March 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Shower

If you’re looking for a unique baby shower gift, consider a baby shower cake; no, not the kind everyone will eat for dessert, but the kind that is filled with layers upon layers of useful baby gifts including diapers, bottles, rattles, toys and clothes.

These baby shower gifts are actually crafted to resemble a tiered formal cake. However, instead of making these layers of traditional cake ingredients, they are constructed of diapers that will never go to waste!

Your gift will be the center of attention and considered the most original yet! These diaper baby shower gift cakes offer a great way to give the expectant mother a much-needed gift that will not soon be forgotten.

These baby gifts are typically given in their own gift box, so your cake will be both a huge surprise and a great way to store the diapers for use. Other useful items such as teething rings, bottles and toys are used to create color and decorative design on the cake layers, but it is constructed so that mom can use one diaper at a time from the baby shower cake.

Other baby shower gifts can also be presented in this unique design, simply by filling the layers with toys and clothes, or other items from the mother’s baby gift registry. As she uses the diapers from the outside edge, she’ll be surprised to find a special surprise in the “filling”.

Practical baby gifts, other than those on the registry, may also be used in the baby shower cake layers. Hygienic and bathing supplies such as ointment, baby powder and lotion, and baby wipes could be included. These cakes are typically at least two feet tall, so they can hold plenty of useful items for mom and baby.

You can purchase these cakes already made, or construct them yourself. Many contain two or three tiers, and are pretty enough to serve as a decorative piece for the shower. Everyone will take pictures and sing your praises for thinking of such an adorable baby shower gift!

Other themes may be used in baby shower cakes as well. Consider not only using practical items and clothes; you may also construct a cake with keepsake items to commemorate the baby’s first years, or use decorative items that can be placed in the baby’s room. Place it on a personalized silver platter for display, and include ceramic alphabet blocks to spell out the baby’s name or initials for future use.

Many will be unable to forego the teddy bear baby shower cake. This cake is full of onesies, booties, caps, towels and other gifts, and topped off with a stuffed teddy that will surely be a snuggly toy for the baby!

Baby shower cakes come in all shapes and sizes, and contain virtually any gift you can think of. Take a look at all of your choices available, or choose to construct your own around a gift you have already purchased. These cakes present by far the most unique way to gift wrap and present any baby shower gift.

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