The baby shower guide

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Have a set budget before you start to plan the shower. All the little things you will want to buy for the shower can add up quickly, so if you have a really limited budget, you might want to partner with a fellow friend or family member.

Here is a list of items you might need to buy- as well as a low or no cost alternative:

  • Professional invitations and postage vs. email electronic invitations
  • Banquet hall rental vs. your living room or patio
  • Catered meal vs. everyone brings a snack to share
  • Jewelry for prizes vs. candy bars for prizes
  • Professional banners and name cards vs. balloons and streamers
  • Silver serving utensils vs. paper plates and paper napkins for finger foods


Choosing a location can be easy if you or the guest of honor has a living room or outdoor space large enough to comfortably hold all the guests. If no one has a space large enough, or if you want to do something special for the shower, you can look into renting a party hall, banquet room, or other meeting place to hold the event.

A central location will make it more convenient for guests. The time of day is also an important decision.


If you have the shower during breakfast, lunch, or dinner times, you will be expected to provide the respective meal for your guests. If you have the shower in between the meal times, refreshments will only be expected.

Serving finger foods buffet style is an easy way to feed your guests. It is always nice for your guests to have a variety of foods available. If the party is being held during the day, we are big fans of cheese and crackers, fresh fruit on toothpicks, cookies, and punch or juice. It is not very complicated, everyone likes at least something, and the food will stay good throughout the duration of the party.

If the party is being held in the morning, brunch food is great. You can serve bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruit on toothpicks, and juice.

You can also do cake and ice cream.

The menu doesn't need to get complicated and is not something to stress about, but you should put some amount of thought into what your guests will be eating while they are at the party.


Let friends and family know about the baby shower.

There are many options when it comes to invitations. No matter what you choose, the invitation should include the shower information, and reflect the mood you want to convey.

You can create an electronic invitation to email out to the guests. This might require extra work because it can be hard to get everyone's email addresses. But it will be cheaper because you won't have to pay for the printing or the postage of the invitations. People with a more traditional mindset might not appreciate an email invitation and could see it as a lack of personalization. People who are "green" will appreciate an email invitation because you will not be wasting paper.

If you are skilled enough to make an electronic invitation yourself, but don't want it to seem insincere, well, you might think about printing the invitation that you created and mail it out.

There are countless companies who create baby shower invitations. They will likely look better than an amateur's creation, but could cost more than your budget allows. If you search long enough, you will probably find a company that offers unique, cheap baby shower announcements. Some companies even offer printable baby shower invitations.

You can also make your own scrapbook baby shower invitations. No computer is required with this option. There are several ways to do create your own invitation. You can get some baby shower rubber stamps and nice paper to decorate the invitations. You can even use embellishments like glitter, brads, stickers, beads, circles, layers of paper, vellum, etc to add interest to the card. The recipients will appreciate the time spent on the card. If you decide to make your invitations, keep in mind that cards that are scrapbooked could take up to 45 minutes per card. A less time consuming option is to find someone to make them for you. The internet is filled with companies who make custom baby shower invitations.

You can also find generic baby shower invitations at most party supply stores. They are inexpensive, and you will just need to write in the when, where, who, and why information.

You should plan out the guest list with the guest of honor. Even if you think you have a good idea of whom she would want to invite, it is better to let her in on this than make a mistake. Having someone at the shower that the guest of honor doesn't want to be there could be very awkward for everyone.

Try to mail out invitations as soon as you can, usually two weeks is enough. You can have the RSVP contact be you, or the guest of honor. Just make sure that your contact phone number has an answering machine or voice mail so that you won't leave anyone out.


Have a tentative schedule to keep everyone on track and keep the party moving along.

If you have planned a specific amount of time for the baby shower to last (two hours is a good length of time, in our opinion), you should try to keep to a schedule of what events you want to have at the shower and how long each event will last. This will help avoid running too late or ending too soon.

Here is a sample agenda that has worked well for us-

  • 2:00 pm guests arrive
  • 2:00-2:30 pm Mingle and eat finger food
  • 2:30-2:45 pm Start playing first game
  • 2:45-3:00 pm Start playing second game
  • 3:00-3:15 pm Start playing third game
  • 3:15-4:00 pm Eat cake and ice cream while expecting mommy opens presents


Plan out games for your guests to play. This will be a great way to lighten the mood, and get your guests interacting. There are dozens of games that you can play at a baby shower. Here are some ideas that we like-

Count the number of diapers in a large clear container

Each person writes down how many diapers they think are in a large clear container. After everyone has guessed, the person who guessed closest wins. The expecting mother gets the diapers and the winner gets a prize.

Apple juice bottle race

Everyone gets a baby bottle, with a nipple top, filled with apple juice. Whoever drinks it the fastest wins.

Nursery rhyme

Find ten nursery rhymes and copy them onto a paper. Delete a few words from each phrase, and print out a copy for each person. Give everyone a few minutes to complete the deleted parts of the nursery rhymes. Whoever gets the most right wins.

Memory game

Place about 20 baby related items on a tray. Let your guests look at the tray for one minute. At the end of the minute, remove the tray from eye sight or cover it with a blanket. Give the guests one minute to write down all the items on the tray. Whoever gets the most correct wins.

What's that smell?

Get 5-10 baby food jars, remove the label and write a number on the jar. Make sure you remember what each baby food is - you might need to write it down. Pass the numbered jars around and let everyone write down what kind of food they think is in the jar. When everyone has had a chance to smell each jar, see who got the most right.

Dress that baby!

Get two identical baby dolls (or stuffed animals). Obtain two identical sets of diapers, set of clothes, shoes, headbands, etc for each doll. Arrange the guests into two teams and have a relay where each person must undress and dress their team's doll. The team that gets done the quickest wins.

Measuring string

Let each guest cut off a piece of string that they think would fit around the expecting mother's belly. The person whose string is the closest fitting wins.

Candy bars

Number 5-10 diapers and place a different chocolate candy bar in each one. For your own records, write down the name of the candy bar that is in each diaper. Microwave each diaper until the candy bar starts to melt. Pass the diapers around and have the guests try to think of what candy bar is in each diaper. The person who names the most wins.

Truth or lie?

Have the guest of honor write down 5 true things about her childhood and 5 lies. Have each guest guess write down which ones she is lying about and which one she is telling the truth about. The person who gets the most correct wins.

Onesie activity

Give each guest a plain white onesie (the sizes can be different, it is up to you and the guest of honor), and some fabric paint, permanent markers, and some embellishments (optional). Each guest gets to decorate the onesie and the guest of honor picks her favorite one. Whoever created the favorite is the winner, and the guest of honor gets to use all the onesies for her new baby.

Baby shower game prizes don't need to be expensive, but they should be fairly generic because you never know who might win one of the prizes. Candy, bracelets, stationary paper, lotion, bubble bath, candles, pens, and manicure supplies are good options.

Gift Ideas

For the baby shower guest of honor, getting the perfect gift could be something as simple as a gift card to a favorite store, or as personal as a hand made item, like a handmade quilt for the baby. Most moms like getting practical gifts such as new clothes, baby carriers, baby toys, diaper pails, changing table pads, hampers, strollers, high chairs, bath tubs and bath supplies, and baby books. You might find it convenient to get her a diaper cake or baby gift basket.

Besides getting gifts for the baby, she will also appreciate gifts for her - like things to help her relax, forget about the pregnancy, and enjoy her new life as a mommy.


Help set the mood of the baby shower. They can be as simple as balloons and streamers, or as intricate as full centerpiece settings, wall coverings, professional made banners, etc.

The best idea is to set a color scheme and stick with it. That way all the decorations will match and look cohesive.

If your guests are new to the location of the shower, you might want to put up signs to help guide them. You can get coordinating tablecloths, banners that say "It's a girl" or "It's a boy," coordinating plastic serving ware, confetti for the table, sugar cookies decorated with baby items, etc.

Party Tips

Here are some tips for helping your shower be more fun and enjoyable for the hostess:

  • Relax!
  • Don't stress about little things- your job is just to get people to a party and celebrate the pregnancy or new baby with the guest of honor. The food, the decorations, the invitations are fun to do, but shouldn't make you stress out about.
  • Bring everything that you will need for the shower one day early if possible (decorations, presents, games, etc). That way if you forget something, you can bring it with you the day of the event.
  • If something doesn't go according to plan (maid of honor gets sick, natural disaster strikes, the grocery store is out of cake, your presents haven't been shipped to you yet, etc.) it will all work out. Just take one step at a time, and when something goes wrong, try to think of a solution logically rather than emotionally, which involves tears).

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