It’s Shower Time
You are about to enter your second trimester and that means it’s time to plan your shower.
Let me start by saying that I cannot take a lot of credit for planning the baby shower. The credit goes to Lynn and our friend Crissy.
After all, what do I know about throwing a baby shower? When I was a little boy, I actually thought a baby shower was when a bunch of women got together and washed their children. Really, I did!
Back in the Day
That being said, way back when my nieces and nephew were born, it was common not to know the sex of the baby at birth. As a result, I used to organize of what I called an, “After Birth Shower.” Yes, that is what I called them.
I thought it made sense to wait until the baby was born and we knew his or her sex, before we ran out and bought a bunch of yellow and pale green baby clothes.
Of course, there are things you need before the baby is born, which is why other family and friends typically organized traditional pre-birth baby showers for my sisters-in-law.
All You Need is Love and Diapers, Lots of Diapers
While I am discussing things new parents need … you will need DIAPERS!!! For many years I have been a proponent of diaper raffles, diaper drops, diaper round-ups, etc. I am already talking about having a diaper barbecue (or Baby-que) when we run out of the initial supply of diapers from our shower.
But wait, I am putting the diaper before the baby. Let’s get back to the shower.
Plan Your Baby Shower
Planning a baby shower can be a daunting task. You have to make a lot of decisions:
- Who will host/organize the shower?
- Who else can you count on to help with set up, food, expenses, etc.?
- What is the budget? (for the host and the couple)
- What is the theme?
- Where will you register?
- What will you do to encourage guests to bring diapers as well as the items on your gift registry?
- Where will the shower be held?
- Date, time and how long?
- Who will be invited?
- Will it be co-ed? (more common these days and much more fun)
- Will children be welcome?
- Which invitations will you order?
- What kind of food and beverages will be provided?
- What kind of games/activities will be planned?
- Will you have game/activity prizes?
- Will the gifts be opened at the end of the shower?
- Which thank you cards will you choose?
Gentlemen, you will not be the shower host or organizer (trust me) and you certainly won’t be the center of attention before, during or after the shower, but you better plan on being involved during the planning, the preparation and the clean-up.
After all, this is your baby and secondly, your better half will likely be a bundle of emotions, which will seem to turn on a dime. You need to be the superhero they hope you are!
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s break it down.
Who will host or organize the shower?
This may be easy, because a few people will come forward the minute you announce you are pregnant. They love hosting parties, they are good at it and that is one less thing for you to worry about. Unless it is someone whom you don’t want to host the shower! If that happens, write Dear Abby for advice.
Who else can you count on for help?
You know who they are; you have a small group of family members and friends who are always there to help. It is okay to ask them to help with your shower. It makes them feel good! Figure out who is in and what they are willing to commit to doing or providing.
What is the budget?
This is an important discussion to have. Start with your spouse or partner. How much can you afford to contribute? Then speak with those who have volunteered to host/help. Ask them, privately, “What are you comfortable contributing?” Once you know who is kicking in cash and who is bring food, drinks, prizes, etc. then you can move forward.
What is the theme?
Yes, believe it or not, some baby showers have themes. Apparently our theme was “Hands and Feet,” which I just found out when I said to Lynn, “We didn’t really have a theme, did we?”
Where will you register?
We thought we would be considerate and we registered at Target and Walmart. We found most of what we wanted/needed and they were cheaper than some of the other choices.
We were shocked when our family and friends complained about our choices of registries, so we added Baby’s R Us. My advice is to pick three and let your friends and family sort it out.
BTW: You will get gifts, which are not on any of your registries. Accept them with grace and humility.
Diaper Drawing, Yes or No?
The answer is yes, please see above!
Location, location, location?
I can’t help it; I work in real estate. Where will the shower be held? This depends on your budget and whether you, the host or a co-host has a home suitable for this gathering?
You will need to know how many people you plan to invite and how many you expect to attend before you choose a location. You may have it in a home, park, restaurant or banquet facility. We are lucky to have a home, which is set up to entertain.
On which day and at what time will the shower be held?
Before you pick a date, check with mothers, siblings and other close relatives and friends to ensure that they will be available to attend. The date is typically a Saturday or Sunday and early in the third trimester.
The time of day may be effected by the theme, for example a brunch, but typically showers are held in the afternoon.
Who will be invited?
Start with the wedding list, if it is still relevant. Why reinvent the wheel? If you must; start with family, close friends, business associates, clients, etc.
We were fortunate that we host a lot of parties and bar-be-ques already, so we had a good idea who would attend if we invited them.
I am sure that you will figure it out together, but always keep the budget in mind.
Will it be co-ed?
I highly recommend a co-ed shower. However, if you go co-ed, you must have activities/games, which include the men and keep them busy during the typical ‘girl’ stuff.
Understand that boys will be boys, so, if appropriate, get them cooking on the grill, setting things up, etc.
Will children be included?
We invited the whole family. We did however close the pool until after the gifts were open and put away. Due to that, some of the kids were bored.
I think we needed some kid’s games, too. It may have been a good idea to put one or two of the teens in charge of kid games/activities.
Which invitations will you choose?
Pick invitations which fit your budget and your theme. Order your thank you cards at the same time!
I was at Party City an hour before the start of our shower looking for thank you cards. Not fun!
What will be on the menu?
We thought about a having taco cart, a six-foot burrito, a six-foot sandwich, Chinese buffet, Mexican buffet, cold cut and salad buffet, but settled on chicken and my world famous chili.
When it came to chicken we went around and priced and tried everyone’s fried chicken and finally decided on a local supermarket. We split the order 2/3 fried chicken and 1/3 roasted chicken. Based on our experience, just get fried!
Many of our friends offered to bring side dishes, fruit trays and bowls of salad. Let them. If you’re doing it yourself, the more food, the better.
Lynn’s sister prepared non-alcoholic beverages as well as a popcorn and cookie table.
We asked Lynn’s oldest, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Christine, to make the cake(s); she is an artist!
As far as beverages go, we had beer, wine and liquor available, but non-alcoholic beverages were easier to find and more closely associated with the food.
The Games People Play
The main idea with the games is to engage your guests and to make the afternoon more enjoyable for all. The girls came up with quite a few games, so many that we didn’t get to them all.
When the guests arrived, they were asked to guess the amount of candy in an over-sized baby bottle and to create a page for the baby’s alphabet book.
They were all invited to play baby gift bingo, which was associated with the opening of gifts and a clothes pin game, in which the participants tried to trick each other into saying the word baby.
They were also smart to have games in which the guys would want to participate, for example: A beer drinking race, from a baby bottle; blindfolded apple sauce eating/feeding contest; bobbing for nipples.
Will you have prizes?
Yes! People love to win stuff. Put it in the budget and move on.
Will you open the gifts at the shower?
We did. In my opinion, people want to see the reaction on your face when you open the gift they brought for you and your baby. They also want to see what else you received.
Finally, everyone wants to be thanked. This is a good time to do it publicly, but definitely send personal and handwritten thank you cards, as well.
Thank you cards
Since we are discussing thank you cards, order them with the invitations. Ask everyone to address their thank you card envelope when they come in. Send them out within two weeks.
Here are some links you can use for more advice and planning tips for your baby shower.
Good Baby Shower Links:
Links to Baby Shower Checklists:
Links to Baby Shower Theme Ideas:
I hope that this helps.
Remember to have fun, it is your party, too!
By Bill Robertson