Mother and Baby

Your complete guide to planning the perfect baby shower

Section: Baby showers

If you've reached the third trimester of pregnancy you are probably dying to meet your little one. You've filled in your MAT B1 form, you're leaving work and starting your maternity leave journey - so now your life seems like one big countdown to that special moment. Maybe you have had a blissful pregnancy and can't wait to do it all again! Others might be glad to see the back of those constant hormonal changes and pesky side effects like morning sickness and puffed up ankles.

A good way to mark the end of your pregnancy and the start of your baby's new life is a baby shower. Baby showers are an amazing opportunity to celebrate and simply have a good time with your friends and family. Baby showers have always been popular in America, but only relatively recently did they become just as common over here in the UK. 

But planning the perfect baby shower can be a little daunting, right? Fun games that everyone will want to play, decorations that don't cost the earth, the right food options for meat-eaters, vegans and flexitarians - the list can seem endless.

Whether you're expecting and you've taken on the organisation yourself or you're a close friend of the mum-to-be and you need some guidance on how to organise a baby shower, we are here to help.

From tips on what games to play, what to buy the expectant mother and how to plan the special day - we have it all.

How do I plan a baby shower?

First things first, if you've been given the go-ahead to organise a friend or family member's baby shower, before you start it is important to do just a little bit of planning. Planning doesn't have to be a minute-by-minute spreadsheet of the day. Just writing a quick list will make you feel more organised and will ensure you don't get carried away. If the mum-to-be is the baby shower version of a Bridezilla you don't want them to have a bad reaction to all your hard work, so keeping them in the loop with planning is a good idea to check you're on track. Remember baby showers are supposed to a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate, so don't end up getting stressed about your elaborate plans and follow these easy tips and tricks to guide you...

12 tips on how to plan a baby shower:

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1) Pick someone you trust

Etiquette says the mum-to-be shouldn't plan her own baby shower. It should be a time for you to relax and celebrate. You can choose a trustworthy friend to plan the whole event or you could work as a team and share the effort. If you’re nominating someone else, choose a close friend or family member that you know will do things your way. However, if you choose this option you do have to accept you won't have too much input! If you would feel more comfortable being in control then you can of course organise it yourself because who really cares about etiquette anyway? Just make sure you are feeling up to it because normally during the latter stages of pregnancy you feel stressed and tired enough as it is!
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2) A surprise?

Some people love surprises and they are a great way to show someone you’ve been thinking of them. However, lots of people find them uncomfortable and at a late stage of pregnancy, it could be too much of a shock. If you know a surprise will work for your mum-to-be then go for it! If not, discuss it with them so you can get their opinion throughout.
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3) Set a budget

Planning a baby shower seems like a fantastically fun idea but it does involve a lot work and you can easily run up costs when trying to create that perfect vision in your head. Set a budget beforehand so you don’t end up overspending  - remember it doesn’t have to be expensive, it is the thought that counts.
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4) Choose the right time

It is important that you choose the right time for your baby shower. It is a good idea to set a date for between 4-8 weeks before your due date. Many women have their baby showers at around 36 weeks. By then, you are normally on maternity leave and have finished work so the arrival of your baby is really exciting and seems imminent! Don’t make the baby shower too long either. You need your rest at this stage of pregnancy, so aim for around two hours. 
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5) Choose a theme

Themes make decision making a bit more structured and it means the event will be well co-ordinated. Write a list of things the mum-to-be likes to give you some inspiration. You can have simple colour or pattern themes such as floral, glitter and metallics. You can also be more adventurous with themes like Disney or superheroes. If you know the sex of the baby, you can incorporate a gender reveal and have fun with pink or blue, if not, you can opt for more neutral colours. 
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6) Invitations

Invitations are a fun and important part of baby showers – without them nobody would turn up! You can choose a simple letter or do something creative like notes in a bottle, pop-up cards, sweet treats and mini gifts featuring your message.
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7) Check the guestlist

It's ok to keep things small and intimate or go all out. If you’re organising the baby shower for the mum-to-be, make sure you check the guest list with them first to ensure you've not missed someone important! 
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8) Start a baby shower wishlist 

To avoid everyone turning up with Sophie the Giraffe or Ewan the Sheep, why not ask the mum-to-be to make a baby shower wishlist? Sometimes there are essentials you haven’t quite got round to getting and people will want to buy you a gift that is genuinely helpful. If the expecting mother has got everything they need, more thoughtful and cute gifts will always be appreciated.
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9) Food

If is up to you whether you have food at your baby shower. If you want to avoid the stress of food preparation or ordering, set the time between lunch and dinner and warn everyone it is drinks only so they will know to eat before. If you are making food, opt for snacks and nibbles, easy sweet treats or an afternoon tea because a lot of the elements can be done the night before to save time.
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10) Seating

If you’re going to have a room stuffed full of people, you need to think about seating! Most houses don’t have room for more than 4-6 people so come up with some easy alternative seating ideas or borrow some. You can pop throws, pillows and duvets on the floor and fit them into your theme.
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11) Games

Games are really popular at baby showers. They are a great icebreaker – a way to get everyone involved and chatting, especially if you’re bringing together groups of people who haven’t met before. There are all sorts of games you can play, but make sure you know your audience. If they are going to be grossed out by the popular ‘what’s in the dirty nappy’ game then maybe that is one to avoid.
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12) Make memories

The final trimester of pregnancy can go by in a flash but you want the mum-to-be to have fond and lasting memories of her baby shower. A good way to ensure that happens is to create a book for the guests to sign with a message. You could also buy cheap disposable cameras to put around the room or or invest in a polaroid camera so you can take photos throughout the day.

What baby shower games should we play?

Games are a great ice-breaker, especially if your guests don't all know each other. If you decide you are going to have games at your baby shower there are plenty of fun ideas to choose from! You can collect baby photos of all your guests then try and figure out who's who or if your guests are more adventurous, try filling plain jars with pureed food and leave them to guess what they are eating! If you're struggling to pick a name for your soon-to-be bundle of joy, you could make a game where your guests come up with suggestions - sneaky!

Baby shower cake ideas:

Baby shower cakes come in all shapes, sizes and styles. An iced cupcake will usually suffice but there are some amazing ideas out there. If the gender has been kept secret, you could even indulge in one of those insta-worthy gender reveal cakes (or gender reveal lasagne?). From the simplistic to the mind-blowing, get inspired by these brilliant bakes.

Should I write a gift list for my baby shower?

Before you (or your trusted baby shower organiser) sends out the invites, make a gift list. It will give your guests a great idea of what to look for, and prevent you upwrapping your tenth babygro of the day. Do your research, spend time testing products to decide what you want and think about setting a budget. A budget for the prezzies means people won't go overboard - all that really matters is everyone gets together to celebrate your little one's imminent arrival. You can even download example gift lists to make the job a little bit easier.

What makes the perfect baby shower gift?


If you are looking for a baby shower gift, you can either opt for something special for the fabulous mum-to-be and/or her little one. If the baby's gender is still a secret, there are plenty of great unisex options. The perfect baby shower gift can be anything from thoughtful keepsakes to essentials that the expecting mum will wonder how she ever lived without! We have done all the research to bring you present ideas to cover every budget that are great for those with zero baby knowledge! 

 

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Catriona originally joined the team as an Editorial Assistant to work on the 2019 M&B Awards. As a Digital Writer, she has written and updated hundreds of articles on the site from medical explainers to celebs news and shopping galleries.

Catch her running along the Thames or eating her way around London's restaurants.

 

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