The most important thing to remember about hosting a baby shower is to plan the gathering around what the guest of honor will most enjoy. Since nearly everyone loves a baby and welcomes the opportunity to celebrate one who will soon be born, a baby shower is a joyous occasion and is meant to make the soon-to-be mom you are showering feel special and excited for the impending birth.
Contact the guest of honor to find out who she would like to attend the shower. If she has a quiet, shy personality, she may wish to keep the gathering rather small. Would she like to include any family members who would have to travel for the event? If so, sending out the invitations up to four or six weeks in advance may be necessary so guests can make arrangements to attend. If the baby shower is going to be a surprise, think about other friends the mom-to-be is close with and contact them for suggestions on who else to include on the guest list. Traditionally a baby shower is female only, but co-ed showers have become increasingly popular. Keep your guest list in mind when selecting an invitation. Sending out a paper invitation is best so that the mom being showered can keep an invitation as a memento in her baby book. One easy and fun idea is to find a poem about babies and print it, along with the shower details, on themed paper purchased at a party supply store or stationary shop. Make sure you ask guests to RSVP so that you are able to plan accordingly. Also, if your guest of honor has set up a baby registry be sure to include that information on your invitation.
Hosting the shower at your home certainly provides the most intimate environment, but take into consideration the size of your guest list when selecting a location. A larger group may be more comfortable at a restaurant or event site. Think about what your guest of honor would enjoy. Also, keep in mind that at this point, she is traveling for two, so the site should be close to her home and easily accessible. Pick a date that isn't too close to her due date to host the shower. About six weeks before her due date makes sense.
The time of day you have elected to host the shower should inform your decisions when it comes to food. An afternoon shower, say around 3 PM, doesn't require that you serve a meal, so depending on your budget this may be a good choice. If you are creative, try crafting a baby buggy out of a watermelon and filling the hollowed out melon with fresh fruit. All you need to do is cut the watermelon to resemble a baby carriage, using orange slices for wheels which you will attach with toothpicks. Foil is rolled to create the handle of the buggy, completing this adorable, delicious centerpiece for the food table. Another idea is to arrange cupcakes with pink or blue frosting, depending on the baby's sex, or both if the baby's sex is a surprise, on a pretty cupcake stand. If you do not own this serving piece, ask around and borrow one; No need to purchase one! You will want to keep in mind that your guest of honor is pregnant, so select your food choices accordingly. It will be easiest for your guests if you serve a variety of finger foods so that they can socialize and nibble at the same time, without having to be seated. A fun touch is to arrange bowls of candy, color coordinated to the sex of the baby, around the room. When it comes to beverages, of course you will want to make sure to have non-alcoholic options for the pregnant guest of honor. A punch can be a nice alternative to wine or champagne. Perhaps offer an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version if you think that would be appropriate.
Some people are turned off by baby showers that go way overboard with babyish decorations and games. Depending on your guest list, consider adding sophisticated, simple touches as an alternative to over the top balloons, bears, pink or blue streamers and a line up of the same old games. Tie pink or blue gingham ribbon around wine glass stems, or ask every guest to bring a framed baby picture of themselves and arrange them around the room. Guessing who is who also makes for a great ice-breaker game that isn't too corny. Nice arrangements of flowers also add a pretty touch. The arrangements can be given away as prizes to the winner of a game, or as party favors at the end of the shower. Another game idea is to buy a pack of diapers and arrange them in a nice basket or container, then have guests guess how many diapers there are. Guests can drop their guess into a bowl throughout the shower The mom-to-be can then take the diapers home, since she'll be needing them very soon! Keep prizes for game winners simple and inexpensive. Chocolate, or a seasonal item such as a mini-pumpkin around Halloween, or at Christmas, a few candy canes tied with a ribbon would be perfect.
Most baby showers conclude with the mom-to-be opening her gifts in front of her guests. If you plan to do this, make sure you assign someone to sit beside the mother and keep a list of gifts and who gave them so she can write her thank you notes. Keeping in mind that your guest of honor is probably very pregnant at this point, hand her gifts that are on the floor or heavy.
If the mom-to-be has older children, you may want to consider inviting them for the entire shower, or towards the end. Let them open a few gifts; it may be a good idea to get them a gift of their own to open. Ensure that you have a few food items that are appropriate for them to eat.