I have been involved in my fair share of bridal and baby showers at this point in my life! Personally, I had 2 wedding and 2 baby showers because our family lives in different areas so my Mom and my MIL each gave me a shower to make it convenient for each of our family's to attend. I would say the showers are some of my favorite moments from wedding planning and throughout my pregnancy. On top of having 4 showers within the past 3 years, I have also helped plan my Sisters in Law wedding and baby showers as well sooooo basically I'm an expert LOL not really, but I do have a lot of great tips to share!
Yesterday, Facebook reminded me that it had been 1 year since we had announced that I was pregnant so I thought today would be a great day to share some things I've learned with planning and throwing baby and wedding showers. I also feel like we are approaching bridal shower season so figured I would share what worked really well for me!
Let's get to it!!
1. Set a date. This may seem pretty obvious, but you want to ensure that you have enough time to plan the shower (2-3 months depending). If you are planning a baby shower, you want to do the shower about 8-10 weeks from when the baby is due so that you have plenty of time to get everything put away, cleaned, and put together. If you are planning a wedding shower, you want to make sure that it's a date that your bridesmaids can attend so be sure to check with them.
2. Choose a venue. This is where it can really vary depending on your budget. I had a mix of having the shower at a restaurant and at someone's home. If you are doing it at a restaurant/hall/anyplace other than someone's home, you will most likely get a contract with all the details of what they will provide for you and what is included in the rate. If you are doing the shower at someone's home, be sure to figure out what you will do for food/drinks/tables.
3. Invitations. This was one of my favorite parts!! There are so many great options for invitations, but my favorite was using my cousin, Shanleigh (August and Osceola). She does an AMAZING job and created some beautiful invites for me. She even designed our wedding invitation suite! You can also look on Etsy for wedding shower invites (HERE) and baby shower invites (HERE). There are so many styles, but definitely choose one that fits your theme.
4. Theme. If you are like me, I wanted everything to have the same feel as the wedding or nursery, but with some different touches so that everything felt cohesive. This is when you get to be creative and do ALLLLL the pinning! Check out my Pinterest HERE. Our wedding had a vintage feel so my Mom's shower was a tea party theme and my Mother in Law's shower was a garden theme. You can read about our baby showers HERE and HERE.
5. Food. Will you have a buffet? Will you have servers serving the food? Will it be brunch, lunch, dinner? All things to think about. The venue should provide the food for you so you may not have to think too much about what will be served, but they may give you choices. If you are having the shower at a house, catering is a great option or having several people helping to prep the food beforehand is great! Cake is another thing to think about. Lots of cute and pretty cakes to compliment your theme.
1. Timeline. Usually showers are about 3 hours, so it helps to stay on track because it can get really long if you do not keep things moving. It's so important to have people helping with the gifts, in particular. I suggest having one person passing you the gifts, one person collecting the paper, and one person writing down what was received. You could also avoid all of this by having a display shower so that nothing has to be opened and you can just kind of hold up what was received. This might be perfect if your shower is going to be a large crowd.
2. Food. This will be planned in advance like I mentioned above, but eating should be done before opening the gifts so that your guests aren't waiting too long to eat. Having the tables set before is key. If you want to have a menu for your guests to look over, you can place it at their seat. You can always start with a few apps as people are arriving, then welcome everyone to the party and start the main course. Cake should be served either during gifts or after the meal.
3. Games. This is completely your call! I was never a big fan of games so we did not have many at any of my showers. We did bingo at one of my wedding showers where guests wrote down items on a bingo card that they thought I would receive and as I opened gifts, they would check off the boxes. When they got bingo, they won a little gift basket. This was a great game because it kept the guests entertained while I was opening the gifts. At one of my baby showers, we played a 'hot potato' type game. We filled a gift bag with some fun prizes and created 'rules' so when I opened a certain gift, the bag was passed between guests and when all the gifts were opened, whoever had the bag, won it! We did the advice cards at all my showers. One baby shower, we wrote on blocks to give to Dominic with wishes for him, little words, animals, etc. There are so many games you can play by just googling games for showers. These were just some that were simple and not too cheesy.
4. Thank you notes. This is by far THE BEST piece of advice I can give you. Have your guests write their address on their thank you note envelope and collect the envelopes at the end of the shower. This is a HUGE time saver for you and I will tell anyone and everyone I can that this is a must do at all showers. The thank you notes can be very time consuming so anything to cut down on time makes a big difference. You can use these adorable note cards from my favorite shops, Legacy and Seedlings. They have something for everyone and everyone's theme. They are the perfect size too! Take out the actual card and either leave the envelope at the guest's seat or leave them on a little table with a sign telling people what to do.
5. Decorations. This again is your call and will be based off of your theme. I never wanted anything to feel cheesy or overdone. We kept it pretty simple by using venues and homes that were beautiful and didn't need much decor. We always used fresh flowers as centerpieces and white linens and dishware. We did spread some flowers around the room on the gift table, food table, and welcoming table (if we had one). One baby shower had some hanging onesies on the fireplace mantle, one baby shower had some balloons outside since we had the shower by the pool, one bridal shower had bikes as centerpiece vases, the other bridal shower had lots of tea cups. It really depends on the type of theme you are going with, but again, another time to be creative!
Here are some great dress options for bridal and baby showers! The caption states what it would work best for :)
Hope this was helpful for you if you are planning a shower anytime soon!
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