This Great Baby Shower Idea guide will help you think of everything you need to host the most best baby shower ever! (Sorry I got carried away) Including invitations, theme ideas, food ideas, favors, and proper etiquette. The baby shower ideas I included are ideal for not just welcoming the baby, but also for throwing a grand celebration that is fun and impresses your guests. You can simply use these ideas as-is or modify them by adding your own personal style and flare.
A Brief History: Where did Baby Showers Originate?
The concept of a baby shower was first born in the late 1800s. In this era, showers were given after the baby was born; after all, it was not considered appropriate for a pregnant woman to be seen in public. So, Victorian ladies simply gathered around the new mother and showered her little cherub with handmade gifts and trinkets. Times have changed.
Baby Showers Today
Fast forward to the modern baby shower and you get to see the planning start as soon as the pregnancy test comes positive. Baby showers come with elaborate themes and guest lists consisting of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, kids, in-laws, co-workers and pets.
Modern baby showers are held in homes, hotels, gardens, backyards, beaches, restaurants, billiard rooms and yes, even bowling alleys! They may be in the form of cocktail parties, BBQs, or sporting events. They may be hosted by not just women, but men as well. Yes- the modern baby shower does not have the restrictions of the era bygone, but can even be thrown by the husband for a best friend, or brother apart from the mom-to-be.
21st century baby shower invitations have also come a long way. The traditional fuzzy pink bunnies, blue rattles and yellow duckies stuck unceremoniously in the cardstock are out – laser cut invites with custom graphics and embellishments are in. Apart from paper invitations, e-invitations are also used for letting people know about the shower.
The world of baby shower gifts have changed too! Handmade blankets and sweaters are still cherished but they have expanded to jogging strollers, baby juicers, baby monitors, bedding, cribs, pee-pee tepees, and kangaroo pouches.
This has turned baby shower gifts into a multi-million dollar industry! Expecting mothers can use department store baby shower gift registries to ensure they get what they want. There are also online registries like myregistery.com
The Main Elements of a Great the Baby Shower
While every baby shower may seem unique in their own way, they all share a common structure that helps make them fun and memorable. Regardless of the style or budget, every baby shower commonly has following:
A great event wouldn’t be great if there was no on there. So you need to send out invitations of course! Read more.
The decorations will be based on the baby shower theme you select. The decor can range from simple decorative napkins and favors to elaborate candles, flowers or centerpieces. Read more.
You can serve baby shower cakes, cupcakes, and cookies or a lavish five course meal. But you need to serve something. We will discuss some of the latest baby shower food ideas later in this guide. Read more below.
Baby shower music can add energy to the party. Based on your budget, you can have either a DJ to play selected songs or simply bring your own music system.
Baby shower games help your guests break the ice and interact with each other. There are hundreds of thousands of baby shower games and ideas and there are no rules which ones to pick. Just know the taste of the invitees so you can select accordingly. Read more.
While not necessarily your responsibility to plan for, but this is kind of why you’re have the shower, right?
Give your guests a keepsake of the event, so the can remember how awesome your event was!
- Thank you notes
And lastly, you want to be kind and courteous to everyone who came and gave you a gift. So send them a Thank You.
Step 1: Figure out what you want to do
So, you have received the great news that a best friend, sister or a colleague is having a baby! You know you have an important job to do: throw her a baby shower!
Here are some questions to help you get started:
- Should you throw a shower?
- Who do you do it with: alone or seek help?
- Who all do you invite?
- How should you decorate?
- Should the dad-to-be also be invited?
- What should be on the menu?
- Should you include alcoholic beverages?
Notice I have a “should” in literally every question, so essentially you need to figure out what should a baby-shower-thrower actually do?
Your Responsibilities as a Baby Shower host/hostess
The tradition of baby shower demand that a mother or mother in law should not host this event. A baby shower is ideally thrown by a friend, sister, sis-in-law, aunt, cousin etc and this would be the host of the shower. The guests of honor include the mom-to-be and her baby-to-be.
Here is the list of responsibilities for the shower host:
- Inform the mother-to-be of tentative dates for the shower and if they are suitable to her
- Inform her about the budget and possible guest list
- Discuss dietary considerations for the guests and the to-be-mom
- Plan and coordinate the pre-shower and actual shower events
- Send out baby shower invitations
It is the host’s responsibility to welcome the baby shower guests. You can do so by setting up a welcome station at the venue or simply handing over beverages to people as they come in. You can also assemble the group and introduce everyone in case they do not already know each other.
When to Schedule a Baby Shower
Most baby showers are held 2-3 months before the due date and ideally last for 2-4 hours.
As I mentioned before, baby showers can also be thrown after the baby arrives, though most showers are held during the term of the pregnancy (early half or later). The advantage of planning one earlier is that the to-be-parents can relax and enjoy the celebration without having to worry too much about the baby’s feeding and napping schedule, diaper-changing etc.
Step 2: Select your Baby Shower Theme and Decorations
Many baby shower hosts believe that having a theme for the baby shower could end up being a hassle, but this could not be more incorrect! Having a theme for the event gives the event a sense of excitement and actually gives you a central idea to work on and get creative with.
A baby shower without a theme is actually more difficult to organize simply because there are too many ideas that can throw you off balance and zap your energy. So it is very important to have a baby shower theme. Here are some of most popular baby shower themes:
- Everything blue or pink theme
Hand blue/pin decoration, include food in these colors
- Deep Ocean adventure or a nautical theme
Hang nautical elements like fish, oyster shells, sea shells etc around the venue. Food can also conform to this theme with shaped baby shower cakes, cookies etc.
- Movie based or book based character theme
- Retro, Vintage or historical theme
- Teddy bear theme
This is extremely popular given the fact that most people like plush toys, and especially babies.
- Diaper theme
Diapers are the basic need of every newborn. You can have diaper baby shower cakes arranged decoratively.
- Fairy theme
Especially suitable for an outdoor/garden setting
- Book theme
Have the cookies or cakes made in the book’s shape.
- Stars theme
Hang silver/golden stars around the venue, star-shaped cakes etc.
Need more Theme Ideas? Checkout my other theme idea articles:
Where to Buy Baby Shower Theme Decorations.
It is a good idea to do some creative thinking when planning the theme. Do something exciting and memorable for the guest of honor. And think of the guests too – it is even more important to plan a wonderful baby shower with an amazing theme with the guests in mind, considering the fact that they will be spending a lot of money on baby shower gifts.
Creating your Baby Shower Invitations
Every great event begins with great invitations. Beautiful baby shower invitations help set the tone and style of the event and give guests a the information they need to plan, dress, and purchase the right gift. It will also get your guests excited about the baby shower.
Here are some popular baby shower invitation ideas and guidelines:
- You can get inexpensive baby shower invitations printed by opening Microsoft Word and selecting some clipart.
- You could send e-invites or create events on Facebook to invite people from the to-be-parent’s circle. These electronic invitations aid your organizing efforts as you get an early idea about the average number of attendees.
- Send out baby figurines stating: “I am coming out in such-and-such a month. Find out more at the XYZ venue/residence on 15th of May for some frolicking good time!”
- Baby shower invitations could be gender specific or neutral. Girl baby shower invites can be pink and brown/black in color whereas for boy baby shower invitations you can use different shades of blue.
- Animal baby shower invitations in the form of baby giraffes, owls, monkeys, lions and tigers are also popular these days. You can even decorate the venue based on such animal themes.
- A polka dot mama baby shower invite is another huge trend for 2015 baby shower ideas.
- Another popular idea is floral baby shower. This is neutral theme and can be used for both genders.
- The trim around the invitation cards can range from square, bracket, ticket or scallop shaped.
Where to Buy Baby Shower Invitations.
Baby Shower Decoration Ideas
The decorations of the baby shower party will depend on the theme of the celebration. One trick for stretching your baby shower decorations budget is to make sure that all the decorations you buy will also have a use, like the following:
- Napkin rings
Napkins can be strung using baby pacifier rings, plastic baby keys, or bracelet wires with beads spelling baby names or baby words like baby/sweet/pink/bottle etc. At the end of the shower, Give these toys to the mom to be so she can actually use them.
- Tea lights
Gather some empty baby food jars, fill them with pastel jelly beans, and place tea lights on top.
You can use baby receiving blankets as tablecloths. Alternatively, use plain white cloth and have guests sign it or draw cute pictures on it as a memorable keepsake for mom-to-be.
If you are having a gift opening ceremony, then place a clothesline across the venue. Each time the mom opens a gift containing a blanket, pin that up on the clothesline so everyone can see the new gifts.
- Get plain fabric squares in different colors and have them decorated or signed by guests. Then have a clever tailor sew them in a quilt for the baby.
- Baby bottle vases
Fill empty baby bottles with flowers like baby’s breath and tie them up with pretty ribbons. At the end of the shower, gift them to the mom-to-be.
In case the shower is held away from home, you can select a venue that is already beautiful. This might cost more, but you will save money on baby shower decorations. Make sure you notify the venue about likely date of the shower and number of guests etc while asking them about payment related questions, cancellation policies, refunds and so on.
A baby shower at home is also a great idea as it allows you a flexible schedule and is more intimate and comfortable. You might have to rearrange furniture to create space, set up food and beverage stations, as well as seating and eating areas (indoor or outdoor depending on the weather).
How about a destination shower? These days, to add a bit of class to a baby shower, the trend is to have the shower at a unique destinations including wine shops, beaches, tea emporiums, clothing or baby boutiques. Make sure the venue you select is safe, has adequate restrooms, and also offers facilities to store, prepare, or serve the food.
Step 3: What to Eat?
Desserts, sandwiches, pastas, cakes, cookies, ice creams, chips, salads and beverages are the most common baby shower food ideas.
Here are some baby shower food guidelines and tips to consider when planning the menu:
- The food will largely depend on the time of day you are hosting the baby shower. If the shower is at noon or dinnertime, make sure you have proper sit-down meals. Early afternoon or evening showers do well with salads, appetizers and finger foods.
- Try to include multiple baby shower food ideas for snacking: examples include turkey or smoked chicken sandwiches, sliced fresh vegetables with dips, rice, pasta salads etc. This way, people with allergies or dietary restrictions still have a choice.
- Try and match the food with the baby shower themes. For example, a tea party theme can include sandwiches and scones, while a nursery rhyme baby shower theme can include baby shower cakes or pies that resemble famous nursery rhyme characters.
- Try and be creative when presenting your food: you can carve the fruits in melon bowls or have a baby carriage shaped cake, etc.
Here are some cake ideas:
- Baby buggy cake is highly popular and trendy. Other baby specific cakes include baby bib, Stork cake, baby bottle cake, or pink or blue baby booties, diaper bag cakes or yellow rubber duckie cakes.
- Baby shower cakes need not always scream ‘baby’. You can opt for flower cakes or animal shaped cakes based on the central baby shower theme. Alternatively, go for colorful umbrella with jelly beans as raindrops.
- Lamb cake decorated with marshmallows will surely elicit squeals of delight from your guests.
- If men are also invited to the shower, you can honor the to-be-dad with baby shower cake in the form of cigar boxes.
- Rocking horse cake with vibrant colors, small bird in nest cup cakes, or peas in pod cupcakes are also some other popular ideas for baby shower cakes.
Step 4: Plan your activities
Baby shower games: 10 of the most popular baby shower ideas for boys and girls
Let me give you a top 10 list of baby shower games that can be used for both boys and girls. (I feel like David Letterman)
- Gender guessing game
The Gender Guessing Game is ideal if you have not already disclosed whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Cut up pink and blue paper into strips. Hand each guest 2 strips in each color. Have the guest drop in the strip in a box. At the end of the party, count the strips and see what the group guessed.
- Baby Bingo
Write down baby related words like diaper, pacifier, baby bottle etc and print them out on Bingo cards. Then write down each word on individual small pieces of paper to pull out of a box. Just like regular Bingo, the guest to fill out Bingo card five vertically, horizontally or diagonally wins.
- Who’s who?
Ask guests to get photos of themselves when they were babies and collect them as they come in. Take each photo and pin it up on a board with a number assigned to it. Then give every guest a sheet and ask them to write the number along with the name of the guest they think is in that corresponding photograph. Collect all the sheets and grade them to determine the winner. (This is one of the most popular baby shower games!)
- Dad’s secrets
This is for the mommy-to-be. Send a list of 20 questions to the dad-to-be before the baby shower party. Ask him to write down the answers. Now, at the shower, ask the mom-to-be those same questions. See how many answers she gets right! (Note: select questions like “Boy or girl?” or “Who will help with homework?” etc.)
- Pass the pacifier
Give each guest a chopstick to hold in his/her mouth. Ring a pacifier to the end of the chopstick. Guests should now pass the pacifier to each other’s chopstick without touching. You can divide the guests into 2 teams. Winning team is the one that passes the pacifier without dropping it.
- The Price is right
Pass around some baby items and provide each guest with a note card to price each of those items. Tally up the total for each player. Whoever is closest to the actual total is the winner.
- Drink Up Baby!
Have each guest chug down a baby bottle filled with water, juice or any other beverage (Tequila?). Whoever drinks the beverage the fastest within a set time is the winner.
- Grab the bag
Fill up 5 paper bags with baby items (bib, bottle, diaper etc). Ask your guests to guess what is inside each bag. At the end, reveal what is actually in each bag and the winner is the one with most correct answers.
- Pins in the rice
Fill a bowl 3/4 full with dry rice. Put some safety pins in the rice. Blindfold each guest and have him/her remove as many pins as possible from the bowl. The guest with the most pins is the winner.
- Take a mint
Offer guests some mints or candy as they come in to the venue. Afterwards, for each piece they have taken, they will now be required to answer that many questions or tell that many interesting facts about themselves. This is perfect as an icebreaker game.
Step 5: Baby Shower Gifts and Favors
Baby shower gifts and favors can be easily brought at party stores. A new mother-to-be is generally happier if the gifts result in something she can use for the baby.
Your guests will also appreciate substantial gifts and favors. You can do so by arranging for a raffle. Guests can buy as many raffle tickets as they like and the price per raffle can be the cost of one pack of diapers. You can then buy or make gift baskets filled with useful baby shower favors or give a gift card for a spa or a restaurant. This is sure to keep the new mother in diapers for quite a while.
10 Unique Favor Ideas:
- Baby shower favors can be based on the chosen theme of the shower. If there is no central theme, you can simply buy some inexpensive shower gel, chocolate bars, pocket diary notebooks etc to give out as favors.
- Mini planters with seeds are unique and wonderful keepsakes of the shower.
- Animal shaped crackers are also hugely popular favors. They can be filled inside small bottles or paper bags. Add a personalized custom card, and your guests will be super happy to take these cuties home.
- Peas in pods are traditional baby shower favor ideas that you cannot go wrong with.
- Onesie shaped cookies are also delightful keepsakes whether you are looking for baby shower ideas for boys or girl baby shower ideas.
- For vintage theme, use vintage pop corn cartons to fill in popcorn kernels that are ready to be popped
- Sweet tea kits filled with tea bags, lemon flavor and sugar cubes are ideal to be brewed into tea.
- Use empty glass bottles shaped as baby bottles to give away dry goodies like cookies, oatmeal etc.
- Tiny jars of homemade scrubs can give your guests baby soft skin they desire.
- Petite bottles of champagne filled with a bubbly drink are very exciting favors to take home.
After the last baby shower gift has been opened, it is a signal that the party is over. The mom-to-be must thank the hostess and the guests for coming. She and the hostess can together give the baby shower favors to the guests.
The Most Popular Baby Shower Gifts:
Baby shower gifts should be something the mother-to-be can use once the baby arrives. Here are our some of our picks for the best baby shower gifts for mom:
- Baby booties
Soft baby boots designed for comfort can come in blue or pink based on the baby’s gender.
Baby bouncers come with many bells and whistles and you can choose from ones that play music or have tiny blinking lights and other fun attachments to keep baby entertained.
- Play mats
Baby play mats offer endless hours of fun-they are colorful and have dangling toys, soft quilt for the baby to lie back on and also wind chimes with soothing musical tones to keep it entertained. Baby will happily spend several hours playing on the mat.
A feeding boppy is important for nursing mothers to comfortably place the baby on while feeding. Most come in a variety of designs, soft fabrics and standard sizes ideal for all waist sizes.
- Baby carrier
Baby carriers in different colors are perfect as baby shower gifts ideal for carrying babies comfortably.
Pajamas, caps, sleep gowns and other clothing items also make a useful gift for mom-to-be.
Step 6: Baby Shower Thank You Notes
As per baby shower etiquette, the thank you notes are generally written by the guest of honor/mom-to-be. Send these out within 2-3 days of your event.
Baby Shower Dos and Don’ts
To summarize, we are leaving you with a convenient baby shower dos and don’ts list:
- Do plan ahead and make a list of things that you need done. This will help you save time and unnecessary stress.
- Don’t surprise the mom-to-be. Let her in on the shower so that the date is convenient for her.
- Do include the grandmothers-to-be as well.
- Do not overlook the tiny things: is there enough ice? Are there adequate chairs? Is the camera ready? Do the guests have a map to arrive at the venue?
- Do not forget to provide a way in which guests can RSVP
- Do delegate- you cannot take on the entire stress of planning the shower all by yourself.
- Do gauge the mood of the guests instead of being bossy about the planned activities.
We hope this planning guide and baby shower ideas help you plan the ultimate baby shower irrespective of whether you have offered to do so or been asked to throw one for your favorite mama-to-be.