Friday, December 30, 2005

Keys To A Successful Baby Shower

Your best friend just found out she is having a baby! You want to throw a shower, but you are clueless about what to do. Here are the basic steps you need to take.

First you need to decide if you want to host the shower alone or with helpers, such as the mom-to-be's sister or another friend. Be sure that you check with the family because otherwise people get invited to three or four showers, and it can get tiring. After you have the hosts and hostesses together, determine the budget. You will need to know realistically what you can afford to spend so that you will know how many people you can invite. Be firm on the budget. These things tend to get out of hand, so everyone involved in the planning should be in on the budget at the beginning.

Get the list of people to invite either from the couple themselves or from their parents if it is a surprise party. Keep in mind the budget you have set. Until you have other arrangements final and can estimate roughly how much you have to spend on food, do not invite anyone. You likely will invite both sets of parents, siblings, and very close friends. Beyond that, it is at your discretion who you invite.

Now it is time to pick a theme. Can the theme just be baby? Of course, it can. Some people like to have a themed shower, such as Western or luau. Be sure to pick what you think will work for everyone involved and what will fit with the type of food and atmosphere you would like at the party. Once you have the theme in mind, you can pick out the invitations and other paper ware for the party. Try party stores or discount outlets if you need to cut costs here. You may very well find that invitations can get pricey, and you do not want to spend all of your money on inviting everyone to the party.

Next you will need to plan the menu. If you are having a Western-themed shower, then hot dogs and hamburgers are appropriate. Keep in mind the time of day. People attending a noon shower will expect lunch while people at a 2 p.m. shower will be happy with finger foods only. Be sure to keep these thoughts in mind, as well as how much work you can handle, when you are planning your menu. Also make it simple on yourself and get disposable everything - napkins, cups, plates, and utensils. You do not want to have to wash dishes after everyone leaves, so splurge on the paper goods.

You also will need a location for the baby shower. It should be a place that is pretty convenient for everyone who is invited. If you are hosting the shower, then you probably want to hold it at your house. Otherwise, you may want to hold it in a private room at a restaurant, which can solve you needing to come up with the food. You also can host it at another person's house, provided you promise to clean up afterward. Remember that the most important people are you (because you are doing the work) and the parents-to-be, so both of you should be accommodated first in location.

When you pick the date, think about the atmosphere. If many of the people invited work, then evening or weekends are best. Most showers are held on weekends because they are most convenient. If you wanted something more informal, however, then you may want to consider a drop-in or evening shower during the week. That way, there is less responsibility to entertain everyone.

Remember that this shower should be an important part of the pregnancy experience for the happy couple. You want to be sure to take their opinions and tastes into account when you are shopping. For example, if they are very casual people, then a structured party plan will not work. Some people will prefer a quiet gift opening and snack while others will want an all-out party. If you are the hostess, keep all of these ideas in mind and try to accommodate the soon-to-be parents as much as possible. This is their time.

By Julia Mercer

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