The idea behind a baby shower is to shower the mother-to-be with gifts that can set her up for life with a new baby. Typical gifts include clothes, blankets, toys and, of course, diapers. When you're throwing a baby shower party, you want to prepare things ahead of time so that you can have a successful party.
Traditionally, only the female friends, family, and coworkers of the mother would attend the baby shower, and the baby's father was not present. This is changing. You're free to keep things girls-only, but if the mother has several close male friends or if you're a coworker planning a work-based party, don't shy away from inviting male guests.
You don't have to have a theme for the party, but it can help you buy decorations. If the mother has a favorite animal that she plans to use when decorating the nursery, such as ducks, monkeys or bears, try using that. It's also common to use a pink or blue theme, depending on the gender of the baby.
Another way to incorporate a theme is to have a gift theme, asking guests to choose a gift that relates to the theme. For example, in a book theme, all guests would purchase a favorite book from their own childhood. With a diaper theme, all guests should include diapers, which all new parents will need, with their gift.
No matter what time of day you plan the party for, your guests will want to eat. Catering is easy, but you may want to prepare food on your own as well. "Make-your-own," buffet-style bars are always a popular choice. Choose a food like tacos, salad, or sandwiches, and allow guests to make things just as they like. You'll also want to plan food based on the types of guests that you're having. Some people prefer shrimp and veggie platters while others love an outdoor barbecue. You should aim to entertain the guests, but you likely can't please everyone. It's a good idea to celebrate with foods the mother herself loves.
Games can help keep guests entertained. A popular game is to guess the measurement of the mom's belly. All guests write down their names and guesses on a piece of paper and then you take the measurement and see who's right. You can also ask guests to cut a piece of string that they think will fit around the mother's belly and see who's string comes closest.
A memory game could also be a hit. Collect several small baby items, such as a pacifier, bottle, rattle, sock and diaper. Include a few less-common items, like a bottle cleaner or a ear thermometer. Let the guests look at them for 2 minutes, then cover them up. See who can remember the most items.
As a thank-you for coming to the party, it's common to give all guests a small party favor. Something edible is usually the best idea. You can create custom candy wrappers featuring the date and the baby's or mother's name. You could also bake cookies. Personalizing practical items like small notepads, lip balm, or hand sanitizer also make nice favors.