The perfect baby shower is just a few steps away

If you find yourself in the position of planning a baby shower, following a few basic steps will make it a success regardless of whether you have several months or several weeks to pull everything together. Here are the five basic steps to gain the appreciation of the mother-to-be.

  1. Ask all the right questions

Before you do anything else, you need to sit down with the guest of honor and ask her a whole series of questions to determine what type of event she wants to have.

  • Who does she want to invite?
  • Where does she want to conduct the shower?
  • Does she want a formal or informal affair?
  • Where is she registered?
  • Is the baby’s room being decorated with a certain theme in mind?
  • What kind of food does she want served?
  • Does she want to play games?

Finding the answers to these questions and others will help guide the planning process. You might also want to sit down with close friends and the guest of honor’s spouse or significant other to plan a special surprise for the mother-to-be during party. This could include buying a special gift she has always talked about or working together to invite a close friend or family member who lives out of town.

  1. Establish a timeline

The timing of the shower obviously needs to be coordinated with the due date. Hosting the shower about two to four weeks before the due date is an optimal timeframe. This will give the parents time to sort through clothes and finish preparing the room with any gifts they receive while still accounting for the possibility that the baby arrives early.

  1. Set a budget

A baby shower doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, but you should have an idea upfront of how much you’re willing to spend. Based on the type of event you have planned, make a list of everything that will have a cost associated with it. These items might include:

  • Invitations and mailing costs
  • Food and beverages
  • Decorations
  • Party favors
  • Plates, cups and napkins
  • Games, activities and prizes
  • Chair and table rental
  • Music
  • Facility rental and gratuities (if conducting the event at a banquet room)
  • Photos and video

Once you know your budget you can approach this list in a couple different ways. You can either split your money up evenly amongst these different items, or work with the guest of honor to prioritize the items that are most important. Identify ways you might be able to save money and decide whether you’re willing to foot the entire bill yourself or if you want to approach others to help pay for the shower.

  1. Establish an appropriate theme

The theme of the shower will typically coincide with the theme being planned for the baby’s room. If the plan is to decorate the baby’s room with teddy bears, for instance, find ways to incorporate this theme into the shower. Ask guests to bring a small teddy bear in addition to their gift, order a bear-shaped cake, hang decorations depicting different types of bears and invite guests to play a game of pin the tail on the bear.

  1. Get invitations and registry information out in a timely manner

You need to make sure you get invitations with registry information out in ample time for people to get the event on their calendar, make travel plans if necessary and purchase a gift. Ideally you should plan to send the invitations out about six weeks before the shower. If time doesn’t allow, you might consider sending email invitations instead.

Depending on the type of baby shower you’re throwing there might be other specific items to consider, but following these basic steps will help ensure a fun, successful event for everyone who attends while taking the pressure off the mom-to-be.