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Talk to the Mommy and Daddy
Ask the mommy-to-be (or daddy-to-be) what their feelings are about the baby shower. Unless you are planning a surprise party, it is always a good idea to ask the mommy ahead of time what she envisions for the shower. Take notes and ask her for a list of guests that she would like to be invited. Encourage her to register if she has not done so already. Discourage her from helping out beyond giving ideas and a guest list....let her sit back and relax, instead!!

Enlist co-hostesses. Planning a shower is always less stressful when you have others that want to help you with the festivities. Two or three hostesses can get a lot accomplished with much less stress than one!! Divide up the tasks and plan to get together a few times to discuss progress. Let one hostess take charge of the menu (typically the one whose house is being used), let another take charge of the activities, and let another take charge of decorations and invitations!!

Pick a location. If this is a small shower choose one of the hostesses' homes for the baby shower. If this is going to be a relatively large affair....consider renting a banquet hall, hotel meeting room or throwing the shower at a favorite restaurant that offers party hosting!!

Pick a date and time. Try to pick a non-holiday weekend when most of the guests will be able to attend. If you are an older relative or childhood friend throwing the shower....call a few of the same-aged and newer-friends to make sure there isn't a wedding or another baby shower going on that day that would cause many of your invited guests not to be able to attend!!

A theme is always fun at the baby shower. You can pick one that centers around the gender of the baby, the types of gifts you are looking to be given, that matches baby's layette and nursery decor, or just a really cute one that you think would be fun to put together!! Make sure you can find the accessories to go with this theme....plates, cups, invitations, favors and decorations. Many people choose their theme based off of the decorations and party-ware that they find!! There are a lot of great choices online AND in department stores these days! (I have a page on this website with ideas for themes....if you are stumped
check here for inspiration!!)

About four weeks before the baby shower you will want to send out the invitations. Make sure you send invitations to all the people the mommy-to-be wanted as well as out-of-town friends and family. Even if you know someone can't attend....it is always nice to include them in on the invite so that they do not feel left out or excluded. It is also not necessary to include the registry information in the invitation....guests will ask about the registry when calling to RSVP. Make sure that the grandparents, aunts and uncles and closest friends know where the new parents are registered so that they can let people know if they are asked by those invited!!

About three weeks before the big day you will want to order any custom items. This includes diaper cakes, baked cakes, banners, lawn storks, party favors and prizes, printed balloons or anything else that will require "custom" work by your vendors. It is always better to have items arrive early than a day late!!

About three weeks before the big day you will want to have the menu set up. Plan your menu according to the time of day. Some showers require more food than others because they are during a time of day where it will be considered "lunch" or "dinner". Make sure to pick middle-of-the-road foods that all your guests will enjoy....and some foods that the mommy-to-be is craving, too!! Steer clear of foods discouraged for pregnant folk (shellfish, alcohol, undercooked meats, some seafood).

About two weeks ahead of time you will want to start thinking about activities. Choose enough to fill the time and keep in mind that you may not get to ALL of the activities. The best parties are the ones where people lose track of time...because it means they are having fun! Purchase any supplies you may need for these activities at this point so that you don't find yourself facing an empty shelf at the store at the last minute!!

About ten days ahead of time you may want to call those invited guests that have not yet RSVP'd....especially if you have a few of them on the list. Just a quick call will work....reminding them that you hadn't heard and you were hoping they were going to be able to attend. Leave messages if you get the voicemail but don't call a second time!! Plan on those you didn't hear from to attend....but don't, necessarily, expect them to!

With a week to go you will want to start gathering all the items you still need to get. This would include balloons, decorating items, cleaning items, and menu-items that can be bought a week out. You will also want to go ahead and secure any serving dishes, linens, tables or chairs that you need to borrow from friends and family. If the shower is held on a weekend you may want to do the heavy cleaning the weekend before if that is effective for your situation (ie: YOU don't have small children that will undo any deep cleaning in the next seven days!), this way you won't have to do all that cleaning the night before the shower!

With two days left to go you will want to start preparing the food for the shower....the menu items that can be made this far out!! You will also want to go ahead and make any banners, signs or props for the shower!

The night before you will want to do the last-minute cleaning of the location. Pick up the ordered cake the night before and double check on any deliveries you have scheduled for the next day (flowers, diaper cake, balloons, etc.) IF you are planning on presenting flowers to the mommy-to-be or grandmothers....you will want to pick those up the night before, as well, and just store those in your fridge overnight. You will also want to prepare any menu items that can be made the night before....leaving only those foods that have to be prepared the next day on the list!! Go ahead and decorate the night before, too, if you can so that the sight of the decorated house will inspire you to get going the next morning!! Make sure to have a place set aside for the gifts to be placed that is close to where you intend the opening to occur (a large coffee table is nice....or a pack-n-play if table space is an issue!!). Set your favors out in a place close to the door so you don't forget to hand those out to your departing guests the next day. You will also want to have a place to hang coats if weather will call for cold or rainy skies!! If you are having children at your shower....set up a special place all for them that has plenty of pillows, non-messy games, and videos for the wee ones to watch!

Before your guests arrive you will want to prepare the last of your menu items. Set out all the food and do a walk-through on your serving line to make sure the items are placed well. Set the drinks apart from the food so that the two lines move quickly!! Do any last-minute cleaning (towels in the bathroom, vacuuming, dishes in the dishwasher, etc). Set out the activity props in the appropriate locations. Get yourself ready.....and make sure to give yourself a few minutes to relax before the first guests arrive (usually about 15 minutes early!)




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