Planning a baby shower or any event can be very stressful and time consuming. APN has compiled a series of steps and tips to help keep you organized throughout the process and make sure everything is just so.

Date

The key here, really, is to pick a date when the mother-to-be has plenty of baby bump to show off but not so late she might pop mid-shower. My mom and I picked a date about a month before my sister’s due date. Although we opted for a Sunday, you may want to consider a Saturday instead, as church may conflict with other guests’ schedules.

Guest List

Make sure to have a sit down with the mother-to-be and get a list of guests and addresses for both her and the father. To stay on the safe side and avoid family drama, run the guests by the future grandmother to see if any relatives or family friends were missed. Also decide if you’re keeping it traditional—all female—or going for co-ed.

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Venue

If there are elderly guests attending, it might be worth checking out if there is a community room or private dining room of sorts in their retirement home. That way, they don’t miss out. Other factors to consider are cost, if the venue caters, how far your guests will be traveling and how large of a space you will need. When planning my sister’s shower, our venue was much more spacious than we needed, but it was relatively inexpensive and only 15 minutes away, so we couldn’t go wrong.

Invitations

Order invitations that go with your theme and be sure to add the registry information. Keep track of guests as they RSVP. We got our invitations at Hallmark, but Walmart or even dollar stores have surprisingly cute ideas and could spark inspiration for your theme. If you’re looking for something very specific, you might be better off looking online. Oriental Trading Company is where we got our party supplies, and the site allows you to shop by theme.

Menu

Most baby showers occur midday. And we have to ask, is there really a wrong time to indulge in a brunch menu? Subject to your creative ambition, you can tie in your food with your theme. Depending on how extensive your guest list is, you can ask family members to bring dishes potluck style or you can look into the delicious and convenient world of catering. I suggest getting the cake catered to save you the time of decorating, and, possibly slight embarrassment of your masterchef icing skills. Writing? Baby rattles? Foot prints? Shoes? The right colors or theme? You’d be surprised how flexible bakeries can be.

Decorations

Having a theme in mind before you start ordering decorations (or find some DIY ideas) is key. I put the most time/money/effort into tableware. The tablecloths, plates, cups and napkins were all safari themed. Also for the table. we bought plants for our centerpieces and did a little game where whoever’s birthday was closest to the due date won the plant. Since nothing was flowering in the winter, we got little butterfly sprigs to spruce them up. Besides the plants, we had safari animal swirls for the windows and safari animal balloons for both inside and outside.

dirty diapers, diapers, game, baby, shower

Games

I highly recommend Beau-coup.com for unique game ideas.

From this site we used “Baby Photo Game”, where guests bring baby photos of themselves, and everyone has to guess who is who;  “Handicapped Pictionary,” for which everyone tapes or holds a paper plate on their forehead, draws the baby, and the mother-to-be votes on the best portrait; and “Dirty Diapers.” where the host(s) prepare diapers with a variety of melted candies and guests have to guess what types of treats they are. We had a separate table just for games and all the necessary supplies.

You can also check thebump.com and buzzfeed.com for other game ideas.

Prizes

Just go for simple/generic, inexpensive gifts that you think people would actually use, such as stationery or kitchen, household or beauty supplies. You could also do gift certificates or gas cards for small amounts. If the shower is co-ed, your categories will have to be more inclusive. Our prizes were lotion, candles and soap. To keep things light, opt to purchase all prize items at dollar stores or Walmart.

Favors

A personalized favor serves best for memorabilia, so I ordered baby bottles with labels that you could write the guests name on. This trick also helps organize seating! I originally really wanted to get personalized M&Ms, but they were on the pricey side, so we ordered plain blue coated chocolates and almonds instead. Edible favors are the way to go!

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