How to Plan the Best Baby Shower Ever:
A Step-by-Step Guide

So your best friend is pregnant and you want to throw her a baby shower? Throwing the perfect baby shower can be tough work; but with a little foresight, planning a baby shower can be fun (even for the baby shower planner)! Baby shower planning really differs greatly depending on what kind of baby shower you want to throw. For example, a surprise baby shower will need to be managed differently from a planned baby shower; a co-ed baby shower differs greatly from a girls-only baby shower.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you in your quest for throwing the best baby shower ever!

Six Weeks Before Baby Shower

  • planned shower: consult with mother as to date and time of baby shower
  • surprise shower: consult with the mother's family and friends to come up with a guest list
  • start thinking about those baby shower ideas
  • decide if you want a coed baby shower or a female oriented baby shower
  • buy or hand make baby shower invitations
  • make reservations if you're planning on having the baby shower at a restaurant

Four Weeks Before Baby Shower

  • send out invitations (alternately, make a simple phone call to invite guests)
  • plan the food preparations
  • baby shower party ideas: decide on games and a theme
  • buy your own gift for the baby shower

Three Weeks Before Baby Shower

  • go decorations shopping
  • shop for gift favors
  • get prizes for games

Two Weeks Before Baby Shower

  • confirm food preparations: speak with caterers, confirm restaurant reservations or speak to guests who are bringing food

One Week Before Baby Shower

  • touch base with guests who you have not recently spoken to
  • if you're preparing your own food and you're planning to freeze it, then prepare your food this week!

Day Before Baby Shower

  • set up the decorations
  • make sure everyone has gotten their presents or has prepared their food
  • make sure you have room to accommodate your guests: are there enough chairs and sitting places?

Following this list should help you remember everything you need to do and will keep you from rushing at the last minute.

Your Point-by-Point Guide to Baby Shower Planning

Who's in Charge?
Decades ago, baby shower etiquette dictated that the host of the baby shower be a friend, never a relative, of the mother-to-be. Nowadays, anyone is allowed to throw the baby shower, even the father-to-be! Choosing the host can be slightly tricky. If the shower is a surprise, then a friend or relative needs to step up and organize the shower before the mother has a chance to speak up (and these should be planned earlier than not-surprise baby showers). Otherwise, the mother may come forward to her host-of-choice, whoever that may be.

Setting a Time
Discuss with the mother-to-be (or among her family if this is a surprise shower) whether you want the baby shower before or after the baby's birth. Celebrating after the baby's birth means that gifts can be bought specifically for the baby; for example, you will know the name and sex of the child and be able to get gifts customized. If the baby shower is planned before the baby is born, then you'll want to set a time approximately six weeks before the due date.

Guest List
For surprise baby shower parties, the host needs to check with other friends and family of the guest of honor to make sure the guest list is comprehensive. If the guest of honor is in on the shower, then ask her to come up with a list of who she wants. Remember that the guest list if very important, as it affects budget and location of the baby shower. For example, if you want to invite a lot of friends, you may need a bigger venue (such as a restaurant), which means more money.

Decide whether you are planning on a tighter budget or whether you want an expensive baby shower. For hosts with a smaller budget, minimizing the guest list can be a good way to keep down the expenses. You can also host it at home rather than at a restaurant, and either ask people to bring small dishes of food or prepare some finger foods. Remember, delegate! For a more expensive baby shower, feel free to splurge on foods, whether you're feasting at home or at a restaurant.

Location will change depending on who the host of the party is. A surprise baby shower is usually held at the host's house, but can also be accommodated at a restaurant. If the mother is helping to plan the baby shower or if the father-to-be is hosting, then it may be at the couple's house. For large groups of people, restaurants are sometimes chosen to ease the strain of clean up.

Have a great baby shower party!

Go to our forum for great ideas on baby shower planning.