If you are in charge of an upcoming baby shower but have never done any baby shower planning (or other types of party planning) in the past, it is best to develop a comprehensive baby shower checklist.
This takes every possible factor into consideration, and guarantees that it is a great event for everyone involved, especially for the mom-to-be. It also ensures that you do not feel overwhelmed, forget key details or have an unpleasant experience in any way.
But, just what would a baby shower list involve?
After all, isn’t it just a sort of low-key party with food and gifts? If that’s what you think the guest of honor would like, sure, but even a simple party takes more planning than arranging a table of food and drinks.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about planning a baby shower for a friend or family member. We’ll also provide a timeline and checklist to help your planning process.
How to Plan a Baby Shower
The most useful baby shower checklist has to take everything into consideration, and that includes defining who hosts, who helps, and so on.
When you are in charge of planning a baby shower, you could be doing it on your own, or you can divide up the duties among everyone participating. This is actually one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to plan a baby shower because it does not put all of the responsibility on just one friend or family member.
If you are going at it alone, it is still a good idea to add the names of friends or family members who can help you check every box in your baby shower planning checklist.
Example of a Simple Baby Shower Checklist
This is how you should draft the checklist; using three columns that identify the task or category (i.e. food, invites, decorations, and so on), the action needed (i.e. buying plates and cups, etc.) and who is doing it. A sample would look like this:
|Task||Action||Who is Handling It?|
|i.e. Tableware||Buying disposable tableware||Sally|
|i.e. Favors||Buying goodie bag items||Me|
You can also add another column for prices/costs, deadlines and “notes” (in fact, tracking costs is vital). The key, though, is to be very specific and even think in terms of the weeks and months before.
Would that mean more than one baby shower checklist? No, but it could mean one broken out into blocks of time such as “Two Months Before”, “Two Weeks Before” and so on. There are no hard and fast rules about the amount of time needed (though if you can give yourself about ten weeks or more to plan and put things together, it will make your life much easier).
First Steps in Planning a Baby Shower
As you might guess, first on the baby shower checklist is identifying the host or hosts. Make a key at the top to streamline the baby shower planning activities. For example, using initials or initials with numbers for people sharing initials, i.e. two Kates planning a party can be K1 and K2.
Then, identify the amount of money you have for the budget. Though it might seem like you are jumping ahead, it is important that the bottom line figure is at the top of the list to ensure you don’t go beyond the allotted budget amount. It also helps if you have to tweak plans to fit
into the budget. You might want to use something like Excel or another spreadsheet program for the baby shower checklist because you can add or hide columns and do math simply and easily.
Using the above approach would mean your baby shower list would have headings like:
- Date/Deadline (including days or weeks from actual date of the party)
- Task or Category
- Responsible party’s name
Organizing it this way lets you keep a sort of running total of the expenses and also keep yourself far ahead of the “to do” list.
Now that we have determined that your baby shower checklist has to be started four to ten weeks ahead of time, and that its two first items are determining hosts and setting a budget, you can get down to the actual business of baby shower planning.
Itemized Steps in Baby Shower Planning
Use the steps below to assist you in your baby shower planning. If you like, print this list out and keep it with you.
Ten Weeks Before:
- Choose hosts – Anyone co-hosting the event needs to be verified and assist you with the planning.
- Set the budget – How much cash will you be able to designate to each area of your party? Food? Games? Decor? A budget is extremely important when planning a party to ensure that you don’t spend too much in one area. Try to plan out exactly what you need and build your budget; that way you won’t be too tempted to buy a lot of extras once you get in the store or to a good website.
- Choose the location – Will it be in a private home, a restaurant, a formal party venue? If you are using a venue, that can add another level of planning (and expense), but if the party is large, it could be an important choice.
- Set a date – This is best done with the help and support of the mom-to-be’s friends and family. There are a lot of attendees who may have to travel and you want key family members to be able to attend. Working with them to choose the right date is a great way to ensure the honoree has a wonderful time, surrounded by her closest friends and family members. Also, be sure you do not plan the party too close to the baby’s due date. Instead, give the honoree at least a month or two ahead of time. And don’t forget that you’ll need to be very sneaky about all of this if the event is meant to be a surprise; be very clear about this if you are contacting family and friends as you don’t want anyone to spoil your hard work or the happy surprise.
Build the guest list – This is more challenging than it might seem because baby showers are changing. Today, it is not at all unusual for women and men to attend, for there to be little kids and extended family or for the classic “ladies only” gathering. You need to determine what sort of event is in the making, and use that to build the baby shower checklist. Once you know who is coming, make a complete list with mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. This is to make any last minute changes easier and to secretly communicate if the event is a surprise.
Four to Six Weeks Before
- Set the theme – If you have not already chosen a theme based on the location (garden, barbecue, baby, etc.), this is the time to do so. It is going to help with all of the tasks that follow, from designing invitations to selecting food and décor.
- Officially invite the guests – This is always put too high on a baby shower checklist, and is really meant to be done only once those formal preliminaries are in place. If you are eager to ensure everyone can come, choose the date and send out a “save the date”, but you still have to send out invites at least a month ahead of time. They can be chosen to match the theme or even include something related to the theme or a game/activity. For instance, should people bring baby photos of themselves for a party game? Maybe, a name game invite, quiz of some sort, or even a cloth diaper invite that can be recycled as a colorful kitchen towel. Another great concept is a “Build a Library” shower in which invites look like old fashioned library cards and suggest guests each bring a book to help build the child’s personal library!
- Plan the menu – When you know how many are attending and the venue, you can lock in on the menu. As stated, it could be a barbecue or a tea party. It can be all finger foods or a potluck. If you have a theme, the food can match it, and if you are doing self-catering, try to choose foods that can be made ahead and frozen or prepared at least one full day ahead of time. No one wants to cook on the day of the event!
- Do the shopping – It is a great idea to do shopping in two stages, with the first being the “big shop” and the second the overlooked items and other afterthought items. You’ll also need to buy food (if you are self-catering) in two stages, with the items that spoil quickest, purchased just a few days before. Shopping includes the decorations, party favors, all of the tableware and décor, the goody bag items, and so on.
Four Weeks Before
- Make plans for any extra help – Whether it’s setup or tear down, cleanup, cooking or anything else, be sure you lock down any extra help you may need at least four weeks out.
- Order the special items – Cake, flowers, tents, rental chairs and tables…be sure these are formally organized ahead of time (if needed).
- Prepare the games and activities – If you did not buy all that was needed in the weeks before, this is the time to purchase supplies and make all of your formal arrangements for party games. You can also make the party favor bags at the same time and set them aside.
- Meet with any setup, tear down or cleanup helpers – Use a single evening or afternoon a week or two ahead of time to get everyone on the same page where setting up, cleaning up and helping with the myriad of tasks are concerned. Bring the checklist and go over everything, and you’re sure to be totally prepared.
One Week Before
- RSVP’s – Call or contact anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d.
- Organize last-minute details – Designate a photographer, someone to keep track of which gifts came from who, someone to transport gifts to any new locations if necessary, someone to do any last-minute shopping or setup and someone to pick up the honoree, especially if the event is a surprise.
Planning a baby shower isn’t quite rocket science, but there are many minute details that can easily fall between the cracks. Having a baby shower planning checklist on hand (one with every little detail) is the key to success. You now know how to plan a baby shower the easy way, and still have lots of fun right along with that beaming mom-to-be.
Use Discount Party Supplies for Your Baby Shower Needs!
Discount Party Supplies carries many adorable baby shower themes, complete with tableware, decorations, favors and more. Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for many more helpful party planning ideas.