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Baby Shower Planning Checklist - How to Host & Organise?

23 min read | 08 July 2024

Plan the perfect baby shower with our ultimate checklist. Including everything from choosing a theme & decorations to food & game. Check out the guide now!


The perfect baby shower planning checklist

Whether you're expecting a baby or you've been asked to host one, we've created the ultimate guide to throwing a baby shower to remember.

What is a baby shower?

A baby shower is a party that's typically held before the birth of a child, where friends and family members of the parents to be gather to offer support and well-wishes. Baby showers often involve food and drinks, games and plenty of socialising, creating an opportunity for expectant parents to mark the start of their next chapter, ahead of the arrival of their newborn baby.

When should you have a baby shower?

Baby showers are typically held during the later stages of pregnancy - usually in the third trimester. Of course, this can vary based on personal preferences and cultural traditions.

It's common for baby showers to be held around the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy. This allows the expectant parent to have a good idea about what they still might need for their baby, while still being comfortable enough to enjoy the celebration. Avoid planning a baby shower too close to the due date, as the final weeks of pregnancy can be tiring and physically demanding for expectant mothers.

Who should host the baby shower?

Traditionally speaking, baby showers are hosted by close friends or family members of the parents to be. The host or hosts of the baby shower should be people who are close to the expectant parents and willing to take on the responsibility of organising and coordinating the celebration.

However, like with many parenting-related traditions, this is certainly not a hard and fast rule! In fact, some expectant parents choose to throw a party themselves as a way of getting their closest friends and family members together before their baby arrives.

Who pays for the baby shower?

The responsibility for paying for a baby shower traditionally falls on the host or people organising the baby shower. This could be a friend, family member or group of individuals close to the parents-to-be who have taken on the role of planning the event, or the parents themselves if they are organising the party.

The financial responsibility for the baby shower can vary based on cultural norms, personal preferences and the specific circumstances of the event.  It's important for the hosts to establish a budget and discuss any potential contributions with the expectant parents or other involved parties to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Who should be invited to the baby shower?

A baby shower can be as big or as small as the hosts and the expectant parents like! Some parents like to keep their baby showers small and intimate, while others might prefer to use it as a chance to celebrate with a large group of friends, family members and work colleagues ahead of baby's arrival.

Traditionally, most baby showers were attended by female friends and family members, however these days it's not uncommon to see 'co-ed' baby showers, where guests of all genders are welcome.

Creating a baby shower guest list

If you're hosting a baby shower, it's a good idea to sit down with the mum- and dad-to-be to create a guest list. Consider:

  • Close family members

    , including parents, siblings and grandparents

  • Close friends

  • Extended family

    , including aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws

  • Co-workers

  • Other special people

    , including neighbours, mentors and members of religious or community groups who have a meaningful relationship with the expectant parent

Choosing a baby shower theme

Themes can help tie together the decorations, invitations, games and even the food choices, creating a memorable and visually appealing celebration.

Do you have to have a baby shower theme?

You certainly don't have to have a baby shower theme, but it can help to add a fun and cohesive element to the event.

The decision of whether or not to have a theme is completely up to the host and the guest of honour!

Baby shower theme ideas

If you enjoy the creativity and excitement that comes with a themed party, here are some fun baby shower ideas:

  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

    Use the classic children's song as inspiration for a celestial celebration. Decorate the space with stars and moons in a colour palette of midnight blue, silver and gold, and include star-shaped cookies and cupcakes with moon toppers on the menu.

  • Forest Friends:

    Animal lovers will love a party filled with adorable woodland animal motifs, like foxes, deer, owls and squirrels. Keep the colour scheme natural with elements like wood and fresh greenery.

  • Under the Sea:

    Create an underwater wonderland with sea creatures, mermaids and ocean motifs in shades of blue, turquoise and coral.

  • Rainbow Baby

    : Celebrate the rainbow after the storm with a joyful, colourful theme.

  • Welcome to the World:

    Celebrate the arrival of the little one with a world-traveller theme. Decorate the space with maps, globes and travel-inspired bits and pieces.

  • Blooming Baby

    : Adorn the space with fresh blooms and floral motifs.

If you want to create some cohesion between your invitations, decorations and styling without fully committing to a theme, you might like to use the guest of honour's favourite flower or colour scheme to tie everything together.

Baby shower invitations

There are lots of different ways to invite people to your baby shower depending on the size of your guest list, how formal the event is, and, of course, personal preference.

Baby shower invitation ideas

  1. Traditional paper invites

    : Classic paper invitations are a timeless choice for baby showers. You can purchase pre-made invitations from stationery or party shops, or create custom designs that match your chosen theme. Paper invites can be mailed or hand-delivered for the personal touch.

  2. E-invites

    : Email invitations are more eco-friendly and cost-effective than printing and mailing out paper invitations. You can create an image or PDF document that you send out from your personal email address, or use a dedicated website like Paperless Post to create, personalise and send e-invites and track responses.

  3. Phone or text invites

    : It's common these days to be invited to more informal events via text message, especially given so many people have smartphones. You can create a beautiful invitation in a design program like Canva or Photoshop, save it to your phone as a JPG or PNG file, then send it out to people via text message. This makes it easy for people to respond, and they're able to save the invitation file to their phone to refer to later.

  4. Social media invites

    : If you're hosting a casual baby shower, you might prefer to use a social media platform like Facebook to invite people to the event.

What to include on a baby shower invitation

A baby shower invitation should include the following information:

  • Names of the expectant parents

  • Event date, time and location

  • A request to share any dietary requirements

  • How and when to RSVP

  • Information about gifts, including a link to the baby registry (if there is one)

  • A nod to the theme (if there is one)

  • Any special instructions, like what to wear or what to bring

Baby Shower Decorations

From balloons to bunting, there are so many gorgeous ways to bring your baby shower space to life!

Baby shower decoration ideas

  • Balloons

    : Use balloons in various colours and sizes to add a festive touch to the venue. Balloon clusters, arches and bouquets make for great photo backdrops.

  • Flowers and foliage

    : Fill the space with in-season blooms or the guest of honour's favourite flowers. You might like to add flowers as centrepieces on tables, or standalone arrangements at the entrance or on the gift table.

  • Themed backdrops and props

    : Set up a themed backdrop for photo opportunities. This could be a simple DIY backdrop made from streamers, balloons or fabric, or a professionally designed backdrop that ties into the theme. You might like to add fun props for a cute touch.

  • Paper decorations

    : Hang paper decorations, such as paper lanterns, pom-poms or tissue paper flowers from the ceiling or walls.

  • Baby photos

    : Everyone loves a cute baby photo! Decorate the space with framed photos of the parents to be when they were babies.

  • Custom signage

    : Create a sign that directs or welcomes people to the event. You might also like to create signage for the gift and food tables, as well as any games or activities.

  • Banners and bunting

    : Enhance the space by hanging bunting or message banners from the walls and ceiling.

  • Tablecloths and linens

    : If you're having a theme, select tablecloths, napkins and chair covers in coordinating colours to tie everything together.

Baby shower food

Baby showers are usually quite relaxed celebrations, so many people opt for finger food and platters over a sit-down meal. This also allows guests to eat while mingling.

The food you choose will depend on the dietary requirements of the guests, the theme, the venue and your budget. Be sure to ask guests if they have any special dietary requirements ahead of time, and don't forget to factor in the things that the mother to be can and can't eat while she's pregnant!

Baby shower food ideas

  • Grazing table

    : Fill a large table with cheeses, dips, olives and pickles, fresh and dried fruits, bread, crackers, raw veggies and condiments.

  • Pretty buffet table:

    Lay out an assortment of finger food on a table that guests can help themselves to. Some ideas for finger food include mini quiches, bruschetta, mini sliders, skewers, meatballs, mini tacos and salads. Don't forget side plates, cutlery and napkins!

  • Dessert table

    : Everyone loves a sweet treat, so you might like to set up a separate table filled with cupcakes, biscuits and the cake, if you decide to have one.

  • Candy bar

    : Evoke treasured memories of kids birthday parties with DIY lolly bags. Set up a candy bar full of the guest of honour's favourite lollies, and provide little bags and tongs for guests to create their own lolly bag to take home.

  • Baby shower cake

    : For many people, a cake is a must-have at a celebration, and a baby shower is no exception! This is another way to bring the theme to life, if you decide to have one.

Baby shower gifts

A baby shower provides people close to the parent to be the opportunity to give them a thoughtful gift before their baby is born.

Do guests have to give a baby shower gift?

If you're planning to attend a baby shower, it's a good idea to show up with a gift for the new parents if you haven't already bought them something to celebrate their new arrival. The gift doesn't need to be large or expensive - after all, it's the thought that counts!

Baby shower registry

Having a baby means needing lots of new things - from equipment like prams, cots and nursery furniture to little things like nappies, dummies and wipes.

To avoid double ups, and to help guests give gifts that the new parents actually need, many people decide to set up a baby shower gift registry. Take a look at our journal article for tips on setting up a baby shower registry.

Baby shower gift ideas

You can choose a baby shower gift that's practical, meaningful, or a combination of both!

Here's a list of baby shower gift ideas that are bound to be appreciated by excited parents to be:

  1. Baby clothes:

    Adorable

    baby clothes

    are always a popular choice for baby showers. In the early days, newborn babies will need lots of onesies, bodysuits, socks and beanies. Cute outfits (think jumpers and pants for a baby boy or rompers with matching accessories for a baby girl) also make for gorgeous gifts.

  2. Nursery essentials

    : Help the parents to be prepare the nursery with items like

    bedding

    ,

    swaddle and wraps

    , and nappies and wipes.

  3. Bathtime essentials:

    Put together a gift basket with

    baby bath essentials

    , like gentle bath wash, shampoo, hooded towels and face-washers.

  4. Feeding essentials

    : Newborns are breast-fed or bottle-fed, so

    items that help at feeding time

    make for practical gifts. These include bottles, bottle brushes, a bottle drying rack, bibs, burp cloths and breast-feeding pillows.

  5. Books

    : Start building

    baby's library

    with board books, picture books and classic children's stories.

  6. Toys

    : Choose age-appropriate toys that will stimulate the baby's senses and encourage learning and development. We love

    soft toys

    ,

    rattles

    and

    teethers
  7. Baby gear

    : Parents expecting their first child will need key pieces of essential baby gear including a pram, baby carrier, portable cot and a car seat. These items can be more expensive, so guests might like to go in together for these gifts.

  8. Keepsake gifts

    : Consider giving a special keepsake gift, such as a personalised baby blanket, a baby handprint and footprint kit, or a memory book for recording milestones and memories.

  9. Classes or services

    : Gift vouchers for parenting classes, baby first aid courses, food services or postpartum doula services are a great way of supporting new parents throughout pregnancy and in the early days of parenthood.

  10. Gift cards

    : Not sure what to get? Consider giving a gift card for their favourite baby store or retailer to help the new parent purchase any items they need.

Baby shower games

Baby shower games and activities can be a fun way to break the ice if some of the guests haven't met each other before. However if games aren't for you, there's absolutely no pressure to include them if you don't want to!

Baby shower game ideas

Here are some fun and engaging baby shower game ideas you can use to entertain your guests:

  • Guess the Baby Photo

    : Asks guests to bring a baby photo of themselves and display them on a board. Have everyone try to match the baby photos with the guest; the person with the most correct matches wins!

  • Advice for Parents

    : Provide guests with blank cards or a guest book and ask them to write down their best parenting advice for the parents to be. This can be both heartfelt and humorous.

  • Wishes for Baby

    : Create cards with prompts for guests to fill out their wishes for the new baby. Prompts may include 'I hope you love...' 'I hope you learn...', 'I hope you always...', 'I hope you never...' and 'I hope you get your mum's...'.

  • Baby Trivia

    : Prepare a list of trivia questions related to babies, pregnancy and parenting. Guests can form teams and compete to see who knows the most.

  • Guess the Due Date

    : Have guests write down the guesses for the baby's due date and time.

  • Nappy changing relay:

    Set up a relay race where guests compete to see who can correctly and quickly change a doll's nappy. Use blindfolds or time limits to add an extra challenge.

Baby Shower Planning Timeline

Planning a baby shower can be really exciting, but it's important to give yourself enough time to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Here's an ideal baby shower planning timeline to help you stay organised:

7-8 Weeks Before the Baby Shower:

  • Set the date:

    Consult with the parents to be to choose a date and time that works for them. Consider factors such as their availability, any travel plans, and the best timing based on their due date.

  • Create the guest list:

    Work with the parents to be to compile a guest list. Consider the size of the venue and the budget when finalising the list.

  • Choose a venue:

    Decide on a location for the baby shower. It might be at someone's home, a restaurant, a community centre, or another suitable venue. Make sure the venue can accommodate the number of guests (bonus points if it fits the desired atmosphere and theme!).

  • Select a theme:

    If you're planning to go with a theme, brainstorm ideas and choose one that reflects the expectant parents' preferences and personality.

  • Send save-the-dates:

    Send out save-the-date notices to guests, especially if the celebration is planned on a popular date or at a busy time of year.

4-6 Weeks Before the Baby Shower:

  • Send invitations:

    Create and send out invitations to guests by mail, hand-delivery or electronically.

  • Plan the menu:

    Plan out the food and beverages for the baby shower, taking into consideration the preferences of the expectant parents, as well as any dietary restrictions or allergies.

  • Arrange decorations:

    Start gathering decorations and supplies for the baby shower, including tableware, centrepieces, signage or banners and any themed decor items.

1-3 Weeks Before the Baby Shower:

  • Finalise menu and catering:

    Confirm the menu and finalise the with the venue or caterers or food providers and finalise the details. If you're preparing the food yourself, make a shopping list and plan your cooking schedule.

  • Plan games and activities:

    Choose the games and activities you want to include at the baby shower and gather any necessary materials or props.

  • Confirm details:

    Confirm all the details with the venue, suppliers or vendors and any helpers involved in the baby shower.

Day Before the Baby Shower:

  • Final preparations:

    Complete any last-minute tasks such as arranging seating, preparing food that can be made ahead of time, and ensuring you have all the necessary supplies.

  • Relax and enjoy:

    Take some time to relax and enjoy the anticipation of the baby shower. Double-check that everything is in place and ready for the big day.

Day of the Baby Shower:

  • Set up the space:

    Begin setting up decorations at the venue, as well as any table settings, seating, centrepieces and themed decor items.

  • Welcome guests:

    Greet guests as they arrive and make sure they feel welcome and comfortable.

  • Enjoy the celebration:

    Once the baby shower begins, relax and enjoy the celebration with the parents to be and guests. Have fun playing games, enjoying the food and celebrating the impending arrival of the new baby!

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