A baby shower is a party thrown to honor a couple who are joyously expecting their first child. Traditionally, it's a women-only event, but "couples" events are gaining in popularity. The purpose of the shower is to bestow gifts upon the mother-to-be so she'll have those necessary baby items on its arrival day, and the happy couple will, therefore, not have to spend as much of their money on crib sheets and adorable outfits. But just because it's a baby shower doesn't mean you can't give the mom something that both she and the baby can use. You can get a pregnancy pillow or a humidifier, something that the whole family can actually use.
Baby showers are simple to plan and, in most cases, go off without a hitch. It's customary for showers such as this to be a surprise. If this is the case, you will have to do all the planning without the expectant mom's knowledge. This means you'll have to enlist the aid of the future dad who will provide you with a list of the guest of honor's family, friends, co-workers and anyone else who will be attending. He will also have to provide you with a list of needed items and a registry list if the couple is registered at one of the large baby emporiums. Consider suggesting items the future dad may have forgotten, like a body pillow for mommy or other overlooked items like a basic newborn med kit. And don't forget those items that guests never get because everybody thinks somebody already got them, which ends with nobody actually getting them!
Invitations should be sent out at least thirty days prior to the event. This should give them enough time to buy gifts or check out the registry to call dibs on some items. This should also give them ample time to return duplicate gifts, like if they find out that three other guests bought the same pregnancy pillow in the same color. Let guests know the shower is a surprise and their arrival time should be at least sixty minutes before that of the guest of honor's. You can also advise guests to contact you if they'd like gift suggestions or registry information. This is a great way to keep track of gifts so you don't get two or more of each. Some gifts are fine in great numbers like maternity pillows or baby clothes, items like the same brand or size strollers sound like an exchange waiting to happen. It's up to you as host to find out in advance what gifts guests will be bringing to make sure there will be no duplicates. Invitees who live too far away or will be unable to attend for other reasons can mail their gifts to you.
On the day of the shower, you'll want to make sure chairs are set up to provide everyone a view of the main event — the opening of gifts. The mom-to-be should have a large, comfortable seat since she will, no doubt, be sitting for a while. Most moms will experience hip pain during the second or third trimester which will get worse when sitting for long hours, so make sure you get the most comfortable chair possible for the baby shower. This will guarantee a safe party for the expectant mother. Direct your guests to this room and engage them in conversation or play ice-breaking party games until the guest of honor's arrival. After she arrives and expresses her surprise, she can be seated in her special chair. As host you should have a couple of the guests, perhaps family members, assist you in bringing the expectant mom gifts, whisking away gift wrapping, and writing down a list of the gifts that were given and the generous people who gave each gift. This is to assist the parents-to-be in writing thank-you cards. Take note of extra awesome gifts like cooling pillows or electric baby cradles so the couple can send them a bit more special thank you card for going the extra mile.
After all of the gifts are opened and properly oohed and aahed over, refreshments are generally served. It's not necessary to provide a meal to your guests, but some sort of food and drink will be expected. This can range from snacks and finger foods to a catered meal. No matter what type of food you will be serving, a congratulatory cake will be also be expected. Many hosts purchase a sheet cake with suitable words and decorations. Once cake and coffee are finished, guests are free to leave. Don't worry about all that cleanup; there are always stragglers who are happy to help. If the expectant father hasn't arrived to help his significant other bring home her bounty, transportation should be arranged.
With luck the shower will go off smoothly. Thanks to you and your guests the expectant couple will have many of the things needed to help them when they bring home their bundle of joy. When thinking of a gift idea, don't forget that you can give both the baby and the expecting mom a gift. Get them something they can both use, like a pregnancy pillow, which will probably last long after the baby has learned to walk.