Angelina Jolie had hers in Namibia. Gwen Stefani had a lamb theme (no doubt to go with her L.A.M.B. rocker clothing line) and received gifts from super chic baby boutique Petit Tresor. Britney Spears had a “barefoot and beautiful” Moroccan themed one. Jennifer Garner donated all gifts from hers to a children’s charity. But really, it doesn’t matter how you choose to welcome your baby, as long as you do it with love.
A tradition that originated in the late 1800s, the baby shower got its name from the ‘showering’ of love and gifts on the mum-to-be and the little miracle she’s expecting. Essentially it is a party to celebrate the upcoming arrival of the said miracle and share advice on parenting.
What started out as a tea party for a first-time mother, her female family members and friends has gradually evolved to include each pregnancy – as each baby is equally precious – as well as male loved ones who want to be a part of the celebration.
Some mums-to-be even choose to have more than one baby shower, so as to celebrate with different groups of people (friends, family, colleagues, etc) on a more intimate level.
The person in charge of organising and throwing the actual party is usually a family member (sister, cousin, aunt, etc) or close friend. Some even choose to keep it a surprise for the mum-to-be. The last person that should be party planner is the mum-to-be herself, although some do prefer to take more of an active role in the process.
One such mum-to-be is 26-year-old Chen Yixiao, who is expecting her first child. She decided to organise her own baby shower because she loves planning parties. “I did some research online but came up with a theme and DIY-ed some decor on my own. Although I organised it myself, it was lovely to have my sister and a couple of my closest friends chip in and help out along the way.”
As with any party planning, there are many things to handle and take into consideration, thus having a checklist is essential to make sure nothing gets left out. BabyShowerStuff.com has a great printable checklist that the planner may find very useful.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to bring the plans on the drawing board to fruition and have a really great party.
The When And Where
A baby shower usually takes place at the beginning of the third trimester, giving the mum-to-be something fun to look forward to during a period of her pregnancy that can often be quite challenging.
Depending on the size of the guest list and the ambience you want to create, the venue can be someone’s home, a restaurant, country club or hotel function room. The shower typically spans just a few hours (we don’t want to tire out the mum-to-be), usually a tea party in the afternoon.
Select A Theme
Depending on the mood you would like to set, a baby shower can range from cute and casual to swanky and elegant. Of course, much also depends on the budget you have set aside for it.
While having a theme that ties together the decorations, invitations, menu, and favours can add to the festivities, the star of the party is the mum-to-be, so it isn’t necessary to go over the top. Of course, personalisation is key; a few thoughtful touches can make all the difference. Here are some popular theme ideas.
• Bedtime Stories: Begin building a collection of books for the little one. Request guests to bring their favourite childhood storybook and write a message in it letting the baby know why they loved it. Have invitations printed out like the cover of a book and decorations depicting all well-loved fairytales.
• Garden Party: Having a tea party in the garden is lovely, but if this isn’t feasible, using flowers and floral accents as indoor decoration works well too. Choose the mum-to-be’s favourite flower. Guests can take home little potted flowers.
• The ABCs and 123s: Using the building blocks of baby’s first words as a theme can make a really cute baby shower. Apart from decorations and invitations designed like preschool walls, have lettered and numbered cupcakes.
• Girly Indulgences: If the baby shower isn’t going to be co-ed, have a spa themed party, where it’s all about pampering the mum-to-be. She and her lady guests can enjoy massages, manicures and pedicures. Hold this at a spa or have the spa come to you. Guests can take home travel-sized toiletries as favours.
If you’re having the baby shower at a club or restaurant, have them show you a few menus and tailor them to your needs. If you’re hosting it at home, then you can choose to have it catered by professionals or prepare a simple spread yourself.
Another option is to have a potluck, requesting each guest to bring something yummy, although some coordination may be required to ensure a good mix of items.
As for drinks, non-alcoholic cocktails or a nice summery fruit punch may be the way to go. Floral teas make a nice accompaniment to a garden themed party, either warm or iced works. Unless the mum-to-be says otherwise, it’s probably a good idea to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks altogether.
Although the highlight of a baby shower is typically the gift opening, playing a few party games and activities adds to the atmosphere too. Here are some ideas for a fun-filled afternoon.
Games that tie into the theme:
• Write A Story – At a Bedtime Stories themed shower, give each guest a list of 10 baby-related words (bottles, diapers, etc), and another with 10 non-baby-related words (beer, police, etc), asking everyone to write a bedtime story using all 20 words. After each story is read aloud, the mum-to-be picks the best (or worst) story-teller as the winner.
• Baby Name Game – At an ABC themed shower, have everyone clap in rhythm. One guest kicks off the game by saying a baby name beginning with A, while the next person has to say a name starting with B. The game continues throughout the alphabet, with each person who can’t come up with a name within two claps falling out of the game until there is only one person left.
Fun yet educational activities:
• Diaper The Teddy – Blindfold each guest (and parents-to-be) and give them a teddy bear and a baby diaper, either the disposable kind or a cloth nappy. See how quickly – and well – ‘baby’ gets diapered at three in the morning!
• Toilet Paper Trivia – Pass a roll of toilet paper around and ask each guest to tear off as little or as much as they like. Then announce that for each square they took, they have to share a piece of baby advice, a parenting anecdote or a wish for the mum-to-be.
Or simply just to create much joy and laughter:
• Passing The Pacifier – Have the guests hold a drinking straw with their lips and pass a pacifier to the next person on it. No hands allowed! Each person who drops the pacifier has to do a forfeit.
• Baby Mug Shots – In the invitation cards, request that all the guests bring a baby photo of themselves. Place them on a poster board and have everyone guess who’s who. Throw in some celebrity baby shots to confuse everyone!
• Don’t Drop The Baby – Divide the guests into pairs. Fill balloons with water and have each team draw their ‘baby’ with provided art materials. They then have to toss the ‘baby’ to each other, taking one step back with each round, until the last team is left still holding their ‘baby’.
After all the food, fun and games, it’s time for the mum-to-be to open her gifts. Some of the best gifts fall into three main categories: useful items such as strollers and car seats, baby supplies such as diapers (diaper cakes are increasing in popularity) and toiletries, as well as memory-makers such as a scrapbook of all the photos and best wishes from the guests or a collectively made quilt, with each guest contributing one square.
And don’t forget to take lots of pictures so that the baby (when a little older) can see how his or her impending arrival was celebrated!