So you've offered to host a shower for your friend and her upcoming bundle of joy! It's exciting but it can also be stressful because you want it to be perfect for her right? Here's my take on hosting a shower with little stress and enjoying the process along the way.
There are some important decisions you need to get out of the way before you even begin. I would recommend you leave these decisions to the mom-to-be. You are there to host and maybe even guide, but not decide.
1) Will the shower be only women or co-ed? This definitely changes the direction. The one I hosted was women only. Also, often there will be more than one shower, if she is already having a co-ed one or an all women one try to offer the opposite.
2) Date, Day of the Week and Time. Personally, I like the shower to be about 6-8 weeks from her due date but sometimes schedules get in the way and you go with what works. Sunday afternoons tend to work because they are usually free of obligations with kids sports or Friday and Saturday plans. I chose the Sunday afternoon slot, 2-5pm. If it's co-ed you may want to go with a Friday or Saturday night and make it more of a party.
3) Kids or no kids? I put this out there because once you set the rule it's easy to put out there. We chose no kids because we didn't want to distract from the mom-to-be's day. Also, this is her first so it wasn't like she had her own to bring. And let's be honest, give a young Mom an option to have an afternoon kid free (with Champagne) and you'll get the fastest RSVP in history ;)
So now you have your foundation for your shower. These answers will help give you your direction.
Paper or Evite? Yes paper is beautiful but man we have gotten lazy and you are much more likely to get a RSVP if you give guests an easy, electronic way to respond. Plus if you have any changes you need to make it's the easiest way to relay information. You can also attach a link to any on line gift registries she may have.
I sent the mom-to-be a link of baby girl shower invitations from Paperless Post and asked her to pick her 3 favorites. Some women like to be surprised but I wanted to give her the option to pick a direction.
Make sure to send your invites out 4 weeks before the shower date. Follow up with people who are taking their time to respond.
Ask the mom-to-be to give you her list, remember this is for her, not you. She can also help you collect email addresses for people you don't know.
See the options from my favorite on-line evite site Paperless Post HERE
Colors / Themes
If you know the gender of the baby you're half way there.
Think about the mom and what her style is. Yes it's your house but it's her shower so try and tailor it to her style.
Start with the invitation and let it be the guide to the rest of the shower decor.
Try and keep a constant color theme throughout, from the flowers to the balloons to the napkins to the icing on the cake.
I found the "Welcome to Sarahs Baby Shower" and "Mom-osa Bar" sign on Etsy and used the colors on the flowers as a guide for the rest.
You can find this etsy shop HERE
Personally, I love balloons and flowers - who doesn't? It's the quickest way to make your house feel like a party!
I went to a local party store that I adore, Welcome sign in hand and had them play off those colors for the balloon choices.
Balloon garland has become my newest obsession and it just has a magical feeling about it.
The hand painted balloon with the baby's name was done by the shops owner, Lauren. I had it placed in my foyer for when guests arrived and then moved it behind my friend while she was opening her gifts. She took it home with her, hoping it lasts forever!
My front porch with the "Welcome" sign and the balloon wreaths with BABY & SHOWER attached were the perfect way to welcome people. I gave my friend the wreath that said BABY to take home and they will hang it over their mailbox or on their door once the baby is born to let people know.
I also did bunches of plain latex balloons with weights that I just placed in each of the rooms I knew we'd be in.
If you live anywhere close to Franklin, TN you have to take a trip to Rock Paper Scissors, located on Main Street. They have the most beautiful invitations, party supplies and of course, balloons.
You can check them out HERE
or on Instagram @therockpaperscissors
You may have seen me on my stories taking my vases straight to the florist. This is helpful if you don't have a green thumb. That way you don't leave with too many or too little flowers. Again, I played off the color theme with the flowers.
I got my flowers from Garden Delights in Franklin.
You can check them out HERE
Food & Drink
Here's the thing that's pretty much a given with women, at an all female party. They aren't going to be shoving large items of food into their mouths. They won't want to put large portions on their plate, I didn't make the rule, it's just what it is.
With that said, go for small, bite size food items.
Offer a meat and vegetarian option. Offer a vegetable, a fruit, something crunchy and of course dessert.
After scouring through Pinterest I found these great ideas to serve fruit and vegetables. It's a way to have a bit of everything but only requires your guest to add one object to their plate.
These veggie cups are visually pretty, allow you to put multiple vegetables in and most importantly - double dip!
Fruit skewers are another great choice as you can put a cube of different fruits all on one stick.
We offered 2 kinds of sandwiches which we served on small Hawaiin rolls. Chicken Salad and Pimento Cheese. Both of these were made ahead of time and then we just assembled them onto the rolls before the shower.
We also did a tray of toasted Phyllo pasty shells that were stuffed with Chicken Salad.
HOW DID I NOT TAKE A PHOTO OF THE SANDWICHES???!!!
For something crunchy we stuck with tried and true Chips & Salsa.
The dessert? Well you saw me talk about my favorite Petit Four's from The Brentwood Flour Shop Bakery. You can find their page HERE
I used a 3 tier glass desert stand and filled it and kept the remainder in a box and replenished as needed so it didn't look overcrowded.
Again, large cakes get messy when cutting. I would for sure recommend sticking with bite size dessert.
Because I like to do "stations" I had the dessert on it's own little counter. Complete with plates, forks, napkins and this adorable Floral Letter I found on Etsy. The flowers looked real but aren't, they are attached to wood and come with a hook on the back.
Taking the first letter of the baby's name, I used it as a decoration and then gave it to my friend to take home with her. It would look cute tucked into a bookshelf in a nursery.
You can check out the Etsy shop I purchased the letter from HERE
Let's Talk About Drinks and Dranks!
Alrightyyyy! You need to cover your bases. Start with your non-alcoholic drinks.
I chose: Water, Unsweet Tea with Lemon Slices, Soft Drinks and Tea & Coffee when we had dessert.
And just because the mom to be can't have a fun drink doesn't mean the rest of you can't!
I filled a large bucket with white wine and my new favorite rose to serve at parties, BABE Rose! The cans are adorable and the saying on the back is hilarious. I found some cute paper straws at Target to go along with them.
And now to the biggest hit of the Shower! The Mimosa bar, or in our case, The MOM-Osa bar. What a fun idea this turned out to be and let's just say there was no champagne left behind ;)
The Mimosa bar consisted of a cute sign I found on Etsy (same as welcome sign site, I just asked her to make me one with the same colors) explaining to people what to do (really more for decoration than actual instructions).
* Important to note you should add the champagne before the juice to prevent overflow!
I ordered great Champagne flutes from World Market that came in a set of 12 for $24.99 in a storage case which makes them easy to store in a closet for when you aren't using them.
The local liquor store recommended this champagne to me when I told her what it was for. She said it was their best seller for events and Mimosas because it was a great quality at a great price point. She was right, it was awesome!
I purchase 3 glass carafes from Target to hold 3 different juices. I did orange, pink grapefruit and cranberry-pineapple.
Then I had 3 small glass bowls for fruit to add to glass. I chose strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
I found chalkboard stickers at Hobby Lobby and used a Chalkboard marker to label all the jars.
* I would suggest pouring the champagne yourself and keeping the glasses on a tray to limit the amount people are pouring and to prevent a big mess!
Click HERE for the Champagne Flutes
Click HERE for the Glass Carafes
Click HERE for Chalkboard Stickers
Step 5. To Game or Not to Game?
Ahhhh the dreaded Baby Shower game / activity. They can be cheesy but they're also a good way to fill in time. I found this cute one and ordered it from Amazon. I had my friend and her husband answer the questions before hand, everyone filled out their card and then I read the questions and then the parents to be's answers. The funny conversation came from the crowd not agreeing ;)
You can purchase this game HERE
So all of the above were the "foundation" of the shower we had.
Invitations, Decorations, Food, Drink and a Game (or not) were the necessities.
Something to remember is that if you are the host than YOU are in charge of keeping things moving along. You can't expect people to just start eating, or pour themselves a drink, or the mom-to-be to start opening presents.
I knew we had 3 hours. I gave the first 45 minutes for people to arrive and get drinks. Then I moved them on to food, literally take people and start pushing them towards the food line. Once I noticed plates were done I handed out the game sheets for them to fill out.
Give them a couple minutes warning to finish and move them into another room for a change of scenery. We played our game and then let our friend begin opening her gifts. It was during this time we served dessert and coffee.
I hope this has given you a little help with planning a shower in case you needed it.
Honestly, at the end of the day, making the mom-to-be feel special and "showered" with attention and love is what is most important.
Good food and drinks and some pretties are all you need to make it even better.
All this baby talk is making me feel a little nostalgic, and envious of all that she has to look forward to and it almost makes me want another.... almost.