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7 Essential Steps on How to Plan a Successful Baby Shower

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7 Essential Steps on How to Plan a Successful Baby Shower


Remember the excitement that you felt when you first learned that your friend, family member or your employee was expecting a baby? You have been enjoying the journey but the baby's due date keeps getting closer.

You want to plan the best baby shower but you don't know where to start? That's understandable. Planning a baby shower on top of your regular responsibilities may be overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. The 7 essential steps that I discuss below will help you with what needs to be done {and it includes free printables too!}.

Baby Showers

Baby showers are normally planned for parents that are having their first baby while sprinkles {smaller baby showers} are used for parents that already have kids. But nowadays, baby showers have been planned based on the situation.  For example, a couple that already has a girl but is now having a boy, or viceversa. Or when there's a big age gap between the kids {that's the case with my daughters}.

Just one more thing before going over the process. While working on these steps, keep in mind that there are not right or wrong answers. Your answers should be based on your personal situation and the new parents' taste and personalities.

Ready? Let's start planning...

Step 1 - Set a Budget

This is the first and most important step. This is because the rest of the steps will depend on the total dollar amount set during this step.

When setting up the budget, you first need to think about the type of baby shower that you want to throw.  What will make the most sense? Formal or informal? Fancy or something simpler? It all depends on what you have in mind.

After picturing the perfect baby shower, you need to come up with a reasonable amount to spend on the baby shower.  Remember, each baby shower is different which means that each reasonable amount will vary. Things such as the type of baby shower and/or location may change your total costs dramatically. That being said, you need to come up with a total amount you feel comfortable with.

Next, who will be responsible for the reasonable amount you just calculated? If it's you, then you are ready for step #2. But, if you are working on a tight budget, you may want to look into other options like reaching out to other people for help. It is completely okay to do so. At one of my baby showers, the host paid for the main food while other guests paid for other expenses such as cake, drinks, plates, cups, napkins and utensils. People love to help so don't be afraid to ask.

Keep in mind that like any other budget, your total amount is just an estimate of costs to help you reach your goal. And your goal is that perfect baby shower in mind.

Step 2 - Create a Guest List

After setting up the budget, it will be easier for you to determine the number of guests to invite.

Who should you invite? Well, it all depends because there are two common approaches. The traditional baby shower where only women are invited or the co-ed baby shower where both women and men are equally invited. I have always preferred the co-ed option but that's just me.  In recent years, other options have increased in popularity like the man shower, the grandma shower and the girl's night out. But in this post, I will only focus on the two most common baby showers mentioned.

Think, who would the new parents love to see at their baby shower? At this point, just write the names that are coming to your mind. Don't worry so much about creating a final guest list. Because your guest list will more likely change throughout the process.

While working on the guest list, make sure to include those that are out of town or even out of state.

Unless you are planning a surprise baby shower, it is always a good idea to review your guest list with the parent to be. I remember a time when my baby shower host and I went over the guest list. I was glad we did because at the end, we eliminated some of the names and added other people with whom I had stronger relationships with. 

Step 3 – Choose Location, Date & Time

- Location

So far you have a perfect baby shower in mind, you have set a budget and you have created a guest list. Now, it’s time to choose the location!

Start narrowing your options by choosing between indoor vs outdoor location. Take into consideration the baby's due date and the weather since baby showers are normally given few weeks before the baby's due date.

Ok, it's time to choose. Indoor or outdoor?  Now, think of the options for that type of location. For example, if you choose an indoor location, then some of your options could be a favorite restaurant, fancy hotel or a cozy home. On the other hand, if you choose an outdoor location, then you may consider a big park, fun pool or a beautiful garden.

Don't forget to keep your budget and new parents' personality in mind!

- Date

Baby showers are normally thrown four to six weeks before the baby's due date. Four weeks and six weeks may seem like the same time. But two weeks can make a difference if you chose an outdoor location. Also remember, the baby's due date is just an estimate and he / she can be born...earlier!

Be sure to choose three possible dates for the baby shower, in case that the parents to be are not available on your first or even second option.

Also consider the day of the week. For my last baby shower, it made more sense to do it on a weekday since all the guests were from work. But if you are planning a baby shower with family and friends, then it may be better to do it on a weekend when the majority are off of work.

- Time

Baby showers normally last between 2 to 4 hours but it all depends on the baby shower. In my case, we couldn't be away from our work areas for too long {even when I was in HR} so it was done during our regular lunch hour.

Also, when you calculate the length of the baby shower, set some time to:

  • Chat – People want to talk to each other especially those coming from out of town
  • Eat – Set aside some time for this too. If you don't have much time left, you can always combine activities like eating while the honoree is opening the baby shower gifts.
  • Open the gifts – An important part of the baby shower is the excitement when the new parents are opening the gifts. Therefore, setting a good amount of time for this is highly recommended.

What about holidays? To me, planning a baby shower around a holiday can be good or bad. The disadvantage is that people normally go out of town especially for holidays like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But if that won't be a problem for your guests, then you can get very creative while combining the holiday celebration with your perfect baby shower.

Lastly, think about the season. For example, I can plan a beautiful baby shower at noon in the park here in Texas. But, the weather will be completely different if it is planned in June than if it is planned at the same time in November.

Step 4 – Theme for Baby Shower Decoration

If you already know the baby's nursery decoration then you are way ahead on this step because that's exactly what you can use to decorate the baby shower. That's what the host did for my last baby shower and I absolutely loved it! If you don't know, just ask the parents to be. But if nothing has been decided, don't worry...just keep reading.

Start by choosing themes that go along with the parents to be's personalities. Do you know if they collect something? Like Star Wars or Owls.

Nothing yet?  Then,  think of popular themes such as nautical, princess, cars and baby animals. Or, can try more general topics such as tropical beach, garden and sports.

If you still can't think of good themes, check this article with 65 of the best baby shower themes.

Baby Shower Themes

Step 5 – Invitations

Sending invitations is more up to you and the type of baby shower.  Using my last baby shower as an example, the host didn't send out invitations. Instead, she used technology in her favor and sent out emails. It worked perfect because it was an informal baby shower conducted at the company's training room with co-workers as guests.

The practice is to send out the invitations around 4 to 6 weeks in advance which gives the guests enough time to save the date and to make arrangements especially for those coming out of town or for those needing to hire a babysitter.

Before sending the invitations, revise your guest list one last time. Just to be sure that important guests were not left out. Then, find invitations that match the baby shower theme or are at least close enough. 

Now, that you are ready to work on the invitations don't forget to:

  • include the baby shower date, starting and ending time plus the location
  • add your contact information and ask people to RSVP
  • share the baby shower theme and baby registry information, if available

Optional Tip: While you are looking for the invitations, keep an eye open for any thank you notes that match the invitations. The mom to be will love it.

Step 6 Food and Drinks

To determine the food and drinks, it's important that you think of the information already gathered especially the budget, location and time. As I mentioned earlier about my last baby shower, it was done during lunch time so full meal was provided but it's common to see appetizers, finger food and cake or cupcakes.

If the location is not a restaurant, check out these yummy ideas of what you can provide.  Keep in mind that having a potluck is an alternative too. Hosts coordinated a potluck in two of my baby showers and it worked great because we had a wider variety of food to choose from.

Step 7 – Create Lasting Memories

For any new parent, their baby showers are unforgettable but it's also important to have memories to share years to come with family members, friends and even with the kids when they get older.

A professional photographer, videographer or both can always be hired but don't feel obligated in doing so.  Depending on your budget and type of baby shower, you can probably find a friend that can help you with it. I actually asked a couple of my coworkers to take pictures to make sure that I could have enough for my album.

Final Thoughts

I hope this list has helped you to start planning the baby shower. Remember, on this post I am only focusing on the essential steps but you can add more things including music. The sky budget is the limit!

Now that you have completed the essential steps, you should have a better idea and a good plan in place to host the baby shower. Most importantly, I hope you don't feel overwhelmed anymore thinking of all what need to be done.

Also, don't forget we can help you with the baby shower centerpieces and baby gifts!

Bonus steps

I didn't include the following as part of the essential steps since they are optional but they are still frequently included on the baby showers:

Baby Shower Games

If you want to entertain your guests with some games, consider the following factors:

  • Time – Calculate the time that you have left after all your scheduled activities. In this way, you won't waste your time planning all this games when you are already out of time.
  • Location – Playing games inside a restaurant may be hard to do due to lack of space but it can also be a challenge to play bingo in a windy park.
  • Guests – Look for games that everybody can play at the same time and/or together. And don't forget to choose games that are appropriate for all your guests. If you need ideas, check out our baby shower games Pinterest board.

Baby Shower Party Favors

This is your opportunity to be creative. You can either buy party favors or make them yourself. You just have to think on the baby shower theme and come up with something cute, funny or unique. Get inspired with our Pinterest board called baby shower party favors.

How to plan a baby shower

Free Baby Shower Printables

I have created three different forms to help you with the planning process...and the forms are completely free! You will be able to download the following forms:

- 7 Essential Steps Checklist

- Cheat Sheet

- Guest List

Start planning your perfect baby shower today and grab your free baby shower printables here!


Have fun!  :)


P.S. Don't forget to come back. I would love to know how it went!

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