Advice with Baby Shower Planning

Updated on January 11, 2009
S.M. asks from Milwaukee, WI
6 answers

Hi Ladies,

I am throwing a baby shower for my sister in law in early February. We're expecting over 40 guests since this is her first child, but here is where I need everyones help and advice. What are your budget friendly ideas so I can pull this thing off without going broke? I need to supply food, decorations, give away gifts, etc. There are a few people who said that they would be able to chip in with the planning, but no one has offered to throw in a few bucks nor have they offered to say bring a dish to pass.
I've gone to parties before where the table centerpieces are given away as the prizes for the games. However, flowers tend to be very expensive in February due to valentines day. So, what are your ideas?
Thanks in advance for your help.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I would definitely take those who offered to help up on their offers. I would start w/ choosing a theme for the shower, (brunch, lunch, apps, pizza, subs, etc). You can send out an email to those who offered to help and include details that you've planned so far and start to ask if anyone wants to take over certain roles , (i.e., food, games, decorations, cake, etc.). My girlfriends and I always plan the showers together, and we either share the food expenses or we each bring something, and then we each take responsibility for a specific role. Since you're having a large shower, are you having it catered or are you planning to do it yourselves? Another idea is that you pay for the main dish--like the giant sub, little sandwiches, breakfast bakes/quiches, pizzas, etc--and then ask the others to bring sides. Instead of doing flower centerpieces, you could do dishes of candy or something simple and cheaper like that in colors that match the baby's room or gender specific. Or, if you belong to Costco or Sam's Club, they have very reasonable flowers. And, Aldi has super cheap flower arrangements, like $3.99 a bundle, and you could stick those in some cute vases. For the cake, Costco and Sam's have wonderful sheet cakes, they're $15.99 for a half sheet cake, so that's a cheaper way to go for the cake. Or, you could make cupcakes yourself. Cupcakes are all the rage these days! Can you tell that I've planned many many of these things?? Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Center pieces can don't have to expensive- go to the dollar store- You can buy the glass bowls then get a bag of the clear glass rocks. Pick up some tee lights in a bag- put them together- Cheap table decorations that can be used as prizes. Gifts that are under four dollars- another tip -get some plastic flowers & vase at the dollar store too make an arrangement for about four dollars. other prizes for games you can pick up at the same store --Lotions, shower gels are always cool for prizes- they went over great with the showers I have put on --- Food you can be simple- do a chicken pasta salad with finger sandwiches- small veggie tray with basic veggies & dip and of course the cake- you can also pick up paper decorations at the dollar store - Always remember it doesn't have to be expensive to be nice (and fun-

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know if this will help, but here it goes. Instead of serving a full meal, have it in the late afternoon and just serve a cake and punch. Instead of prizes, call a local massage school, and hire a student to come to the party with a massage chair to come for 2 hours and all the guest can get 5-10 minute massages. You could do like a slumber party theme and everyone comes in their jammies and slippers. By the time you buy the prizes and wrap them, my guess is it would be cheaper for the massage person. You can put on the invites that while the massages are "free," they may wish to leave a small tip if they decide to have the massage (the student may do it for just the tips and the gas - they have to do so many hours of massage before they can graduate anyways). For the decorations, you can try in your community and see if anyone has leftover decorations that would suit your needs.

Hope this helps :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would stick with finger foods (mini sandwiches, cut-up fruit, baby carrots, baby pickles, brownies, mini muffins, cupcakes, etc.) and ask those who offered to help with the planning to bring something.
You can keep decorations simple with streamers, balloons, plates, and napkins in coordinated colors.
For give away gifts, at one shower I gave everyone a votive candle with a poem attached. Here is the website I used:
You could also do a baby-related sweet if you wanted to keep things REALLY simple, like Baby Ruth bars, Sugar Babies, etc.
Oriental Trading Company has some GREAT inexpensive stuff: Order online by the 13th and get standard shipping for only $3.99 on any purchase with coupon code WC97669.
I get most of my ideas online. Just Google "free baby shower ideas" or "budget baby shower" for tons of great websites. This website has some fun stuff, including different theme menus. Love the tea party idea.
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Be proactive in asking for help--don't wait for people to offer specifics. Have a "planning meeting" for those that have offered to help, and for anyone else who might be receptive to lending a hand. Draft up the menu and then pass it around and ask everyone to write their name next to what they plan to bring. (Be open to suggestions.) Same for decorations and any other supplies you might need. People need to be asked, and they often need direction! You will be surprised at how much help you get.

I think 40 people is too big of a shower for games. (I'm just envisioning how long it would take 40 people to play the dice game!) That being said, if you do go with games, the prizes don't have to be big or fancy. I've been to showers where the prizes were bookmarks, sample-size lotions, and votive candles. Again, you could spread out the responsibility for buying the prizes among a couple of people.



answers from Omaha on

Good for you to help celebrate this new baby! Here are some thoughts, I hope they help or provide some inspiration.

Food: People who have asked to help- have them bring a dish. You could make it a pot luck shower and everyone bring something to share or just have cake a punch.

Invitations: computers generated invites are great and Factory Card Outlet has tons of stuff, very inexpensive, both invites or stationery.

Themes: I just threw a baby Library shower where everyone brought a special children's book to start this baby's library. It was a big hit. Another idea is a food shower, where guests bring frozen casseroles to sustain the new family when the baby arrives. Believe me, when I was a new mom, the thing I appreciated the most was when people would bring a meal. I would encourage the new mom to line up a circle of friends or people from church to help with meals for the first couple of weeks!

Location: 40 is a bit much for anyone's home (keep in mind the number you invite vs who shows up is about 50-60%) If you or the new mom belong to a church, they often will let you use the fellowship hall for little or nothing. Worth a phone call.

Centerpieces: Not necessary. (I didn't have them for my wedding!) It is something that the host or guest of honor notices and everyone else usually doesn't. Often expensive and not mandatory for a successful event. One idea is a stuffed animal at each table, or a votive candle or a single flower in a bud vase.

A gift idea: have someone who is handy with a camera take photos of the event, and then put them in an album and give as a gift to the new mom. I treasure the photos of events so much and I used to do them for brides as a gift as well. Computers and one hour photo shops make this a fun and easy thing to do.

Games: again not necessary, as most people want to visit and watch gift opening and relax. I have thrown numerous showers with and without games, and the ones with games are not as popular as the ones where we socialize and relax. That said, an ice breaker game is sometimes good, especially if you have groups of people that may not know each other. Funny name tags can be fun or even little slips of paper scattered at the tables with questions of how do you know the Mother to be or what is you favorite Momisms? (Sayings that were unique to your mom such as "don't do that to your face or it will stay that way!") You could have a book that is passed around and each guest can sign it with a pearl of wisdom, thought, wish or saying that relates to parenthood.

Biggest bit of advice: When people offer to help, say yes, even if you don't know what you want them to do. Give jobs that are suited to people's personalities or skills.
For instance: the talkative outgoing personality is a good person to serve food, greet guests or be in charge of the guest book. People who are good laborers may be great in the kitchen slicing and arranging. People who are artistic may be best to help set up tablecloths, decorations etc. If you need someone to do something and no one has volunteered, don't hesitate to say "Would you mind helping with the _______?" Most people are delighted to be a part of a celebration and like to have a task to make them feel they contributed to the event.

Rule of thumb: If something doesn't go as planned, don't stress out! It makes for a great story and funny memory later. People have the most vivid memories of wild things that happened that were not planned, like when my sister locked her keys in their running car in the valet lane at my wedding. That was 17 years ago and we still chuckle about it!

Also, if the hostess is having a good time, it means the guests are most likely having a good time. Try to enjoy yourself!

Hope this was a help!

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