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Baby Care

How To Plan A Great Baby Shower In Just 7 Steps

Do you have a close friend expecting a child and want to put together a party for them? Here’s everything you need to know about baby shower planning.

February 07, 2022

Few announcements are more thrilling than a close friend expecting a baby. At the start of an exciting new phase in their lives, you want to support your friend’s joyous event.

However, you’ll find more to baby shower planning than meets the eye. If you’re unprepared, you’ll be easily overwhelmed. Here are the basics of putting together a perfect party, from making reservations to allocating supplies.

How do baby showers work?

Baby showers can be as formal or informal as the situation calls for, depending on the mother’s wishes as the guest of honor. 

Although baby showers are for new mothers, the mother herself doesn't usually organize them. Expectant mothers have enough to worry about.

Generally, a host arranges the baby shower, whether that person is a family member, close friend, or longtime coworker. The host — or team of hosts — takes on the responsibility of choosing a theme, creating a guest list, and writing the baby shower to-do list.

Expect a lot of variation in baby shower etiquette depending on a family’s circumstances; no two showers are alike. 

Another benefit of throwing a baby shower party is that it’s a great way for friends and family to gift expectant parents much-needed newborn supplies. Onesies are always valued, as is baby food. Diapers can become expensive, and cute baby toys are something that both parents and babies will appreciate.


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When does a baby shower happen?

Baby showers happen before the baby arrives, but not exclusively. Holding these events before the birth is a great idea because of the energy level of the expectant parents; while pregnant people may be tired during their second and third trimesters, their time and energy will drop even more with a new baby.

Most showers tend to happen one or two months before the baby’s due date. If there’s any question that the baby will be due early, an earlier baby shower is a great idea.

Ultimately, there’s no strict timeline you must follow for your baby shower planning. Find a time that works best for you, the parents, and the VIP guests.

What are some tips on how to plan a baby shower?

Before diving into the specific supplies you’ll need, you have to complete some general planning. Think of it like your “baby shower blueprint,” where you map out the event’s structure.

Planning tips

  • Brainstorm fun themes for the baby shower to give the event a cohesive look. (Pinterest is a great place for baby shower ideas if you’re feeling stuck.)

  • Make sure to run those ideas by the mother to see if she’s okay with your decisions. If you’re planning the party in secret, make a list of her favorite items to tailor the theme to her preferences. 

  • Think of the calendar and upcoming events. Are there any major holidays that will interfere with the baby shower? Will the people you’re planning to add to the guest list be available during that time? Is there a location you’d like to host the event at, and will it be available?

  • Make a baby shower to-do list of all the “special” items you must have at the party, like games, party favors, and centerpieces.

  • Make a budget for the baby shower. This will determine whether your wishlist is feasible.

  • Make your guest list early on. This way, you can figure out how many baby shower invitations you should send and any food and drink requirements. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting a baby shower in person may not be feasible. A virtual baby shower means that more people can attend and no one will risk exposure. 


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What do I need for a baby shower?

You’ll need several things for a baby shower to run smoothly: a guest list, supplies, and a schedule. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most important three.

Your guest list

Once you figure out the basics of your event — where it’s being held, the day it’s hosted, and the baby shower themes — you’ll need to finalize your guest list. Order your invitation and thank you cards, the latter of which will be sent out after the event.

To ensure that guests have enough time to RSVP, send those personalized invitations up to six weeks in advance. 

Another thing you’ll need to keep in mind for your guest list is how it’ll affect your location. Reasonable accommodations must be made for those who require mobility assistance or other accessibility accommodations so that everyone (not just the mother-to-be) can have a good time. 

Your supplies

While sending invitations can be finicky and the event can be stressful to host, ordering supplies will take up most of your time.

Here are some baby shower essentials that you’ll need

  • Baby shower gifts.

  • Baby shower favors.

  • Baby shower decorations.

  • Baby shower cakes or cupcakes.

  • Selecting, finalizing, and booking an event space (if applicable).

  • Finalizing a menu.

  • Finalizing a music selection.

  • Creating a baby registry for the gifts given to the expectant parents.

Even if you throw the party at home, you’ll need to purchase some party supplies of your own. If the party is virtual, you’ll have to decide on hosting platforms and technical requirements. 

Leave yourself enough time to purchase all these supplies, as the deadline for the event will creep up quickly.


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Your schedule for planning a baby shower

If you need to know how to host a baby shower, you’ll require a schedule. Mapping out your tasks step-by-step ensures you stay on track and don’t forget anything before the big event.

Although schedules can vary, you can use the following seven stages as a guide:

10 weeks before the event

  • Figure out who is hosting, the event date and time, the budget, guest list, and party themes.

  • Order invitations and thank you cards. (If you’re using e-vites, make sure you include the registry information.)

8 weeks before the event

  • Book your venue space, if applicable.

6 weeks before the event

  • Send out guest invitations.

  • Ensure the expectant parents’ gift registry for baby accessories is up and running.

4 weeks before the event

  • Book other event services, such as catering and delivery.

  • Order baby shower games and prizes, if applicable.

  • Figure out who will be in charge of event photography.

  • Respond to guests who have questions about the event and follow up with those who haven’t RSVP’d.

2 weeks before the event

  • Confirm guest list, catering orders, and other reservations.

  • Ensure a designated driver can escort the mother-to-be to and from the event. 

  • Designate someone to oversee the gift registry on the day of the event.

1 week to several days before the event

  • If the party is held at someone’s home, shop for food items that aren’t being catered.

  • Pick up all remaining supplies for the event.

  • Confer with other organizers to ensure you’re all on the same page.

Day of the shower

  • Pick up any remaining perishable food items.

  • Make sure the party space is set up.

  • Greet the guests and oversee the event.

And that’s all there is to it. If someone ever asks you, “What is baby shower planning, and are you up to the task?” you can point to this list. 

If you’re already planning a party right now and don’t have time to shop for supplies, Gopuff can help by delivering those items straight to your door.

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