Planning a Baby Shower?

Planning a Baby Shower is so exciting. It brings you closer to the expectant mother. It celebrates the arrival of a new life and honors the mother for her courage and sacrifice to bring a special baby into this world.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that my life seems to be one checklist after another. But do you know what? Checklists work!! Especially when planning a baby shower. Every time I am asked to plan a baby shower, I use a checklist and a timeline to help me retain my sanity!

So, to help you remember every last detail in planning a baby shower, look below for a comprehensive checklist (or click here for the printable version of the baby shower checklist ) and take comfort knowing that you won't be forgetting anything!

This timeline is a suggestion of when you should complete the essential to-do's that you must get done for the perfect baby shower. Now, there is no reason that you couldn't do everything in 4 weeks instead of 8, but remember we are enjoying this! And avoiding the pain and stress of trying to cram everything into a short amount of time is always a good thing. So, feel free to adjust this timeline & checklist to fit your schedule and situation.

If you are planning a Baby Shower as a group, take this Checklist and To-Do List and assign the different items to everyone who will be involved. Even if you only give 2 other people the assignment to do one thing each, that would be two less things for you to do!

If you are planning a baby shower just by yourself, DO NOT WORRY! We will do it together and you will be surprised at how easy and organized it will be. This is definitely something we can handle.

Start planning a baby shower early.

Baby Shower Checklist:

8 Weeks Before
This might seem a little too soon to start planning a baby shower, but trust me. They always seem to creep up on you faster than you realize.

First decide who will be planning the Baby Shower party.
          Do you want to do it yourself? Are there other family members or friends who want to help? Planning a baby shower is usually easier with more than one person, but not always.

Decide on the date of the baby shower.
          When planning a baby shower date, talk to the expectant mother and father about what day would be convenient for them. Usually a baby shower is held 6 weeks before the delivery date. Holding the baby shower after the birth is becoming more frequent and is a fun time for the mother to do it as well. Weekends are usually easier for most people. Fathers are usually home to watch the children while the women can go to the shower. However, many people find that weekdays and nights are just as convenient. Most people can plan around the day you and the expectant parents decide on. Keep in mind people who may have to travel.

Decide on the time of the baby shower.
          When planning a baby shower time, talk with the expectant mother and father about the most convenient time for the shower. Usually, any and all times on the weekends are good. Mid-day is usually preferred when planning a baby shower. Weekdays are also an option if no one works during the day. Week nights usually are a good time if some people work during the day. Husbands are usually home to be able to watch the kids in the evenings. Take into account any potential holidays, school schedules, kids' practices, doctor's appointments, etc.

Decide how long the baby shower will last.
          2 hours is usually the average time a baby shower party lasts. Too much longer and everyone (especially the expectant mother and yourself) is exhausted at the end.

Select the perfect Baby Shower Theme for the party.
          Having a theme is VERY helpful in planning a baby shower, because it helps make it easy to plan your invitations, decorations, favors, food, etc. It is usually best to consult with the soon-to-be mother about the theme. Choosing a theme will really get your creativity going! A great idea for a baby shower theme is to have the same theme as the baby's nursery. Click here for more ideas and tips on Perfect Baby Shower Themes .

Organize the ever-important Guest List.
Decide with the expectant mother and father who they want to be at the baby shower. Sometimes the expecting mother will have more than 1 baby shower. One with friends, and another with just family, maybe one with coworkers. Some mothers want to have only women at the shower, & others want a couple's shower with the men coming too. It all depends on who the expectant mother wants. Be sure you have addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Decide what the budget will be.
A huge consideration when planning a baby shower is determining a realistic and reasonable budget. The cost of a baby shower party depends on how many people are coming, where it is held, what kind of food you will provide, the baby shower favors you give out, game prizes, shower decorations, and invitations.
Another good reason to start planning a baby shower early is that you can change something early on if you realize it is too expensive.
If you are planning a baby shower with another friend or family member, your budget can be split in half. So your budget won't have to be as tight.

Will some of the guests be bringing their children? If so, make plans to have someone baby-sit/entertain the children.

Choose the location of the baby shower party.
Most baby showers are held in the home of the hostess. They are more casual, more relaxed, and usually more intimate. However, it depends on what kind of feel you (and the expectant mother) want to have. A restaurant or a reception hall can give an elegant, pampered feel. But that usually costs quite a bit. Consider the number of people you are inviting, how much space you will need, parking, noise level (an apartment party might upset the neighbors). Do you want it outside or inside?

If you are planning a baby shower to be held at a restaurant or other facility, make your reservations now.

Choose the baby shower food and menu.
When planning a baby shower, there are just a few key considerations when planning a baby shower menu. Consider the number of guests, time of day, the baby shower theme, your budget, any health considerations the guests may have (diabetes, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc) and whether you want to serve a complete meal or just appetizers, snacks, and beverages. Remember to always have more food than you think you will need. It's best to have too much than to run out halfway into the shower. Read all about planning a baby shower menu and food here...

Choose the beverages.
Non-alcoholic is best for the expectant mother.

Are you going to prepare all of the food yourself, or are you planning on asking others to make some of the food? If so, call them now and ask if they will help.

Having the food catered is an option when planning a baby shower, and if that is what you are going to do, then reserve the caterer now.

If you are planning a surprise baby shower, then follow the above checklist, but instead of consulting with the expectant mother and father, talk with their friends and family to choose the date, time, theme, guest list, etc.

Start preparing the invitations.
Decide what kind of invitation you would like to do. Your options are: (from least expensive to more expensive)
- Email
- Phone Call
- Free printable baby shower invitations
- Make your own invitations
- Printed invitations with blanks that you fill in baby shower party details
- Printed, personalized invitations that have all the baby shower details printed on them

Making your invitations can be so much fun! But it does take some time. So, if you have the time and you enjoy crafts and scrapbooking, you would enjoy making your own invitations. Here are some fabulous baby shower invitation ideas and examples. If you don't have the time or making your own just isn't your thing: Don't Worry! You can use the free printable baby shower invitations .

Planning a Baby Shower

6 Weeks Before

Finish the Baby Shower Invitations
Consider the Baby Shower Theme and incorporate it into the baby shower invitations. This is the first impression that your guests will have with the baby shower. So make it fun from the get-go with your invitations! How can you do that? Here is how ...

Be sure to include the date, time, location, and directions to the Baby Shower party. Also include when and where to RSVP.
You will want them to respond no later than 2 weeks before the baby shower. Indicate how to contact you with their RSVP (i.e. by telephone, email, or mail). Also, include any instructions for participation in any of the baby shower games (for example: Please bring a baby photo of yourself to Sara's Baby Shower or something like this: There will be plenty of games, but we need just one thing: A baby photo of yourself we ask you to bring!

Using the guest list, address all of your baby shower invitations.

Mail out the baby shower invitations.

Make a list of the menu and food items you will need. Include serving trays, extra table cloths, silverware, glasses, hot plates, extra chairs and tables, etc.

Of those items listed above, do you have them all or will you need to rent or borrow what you don't have?
Make reservations for renting or borrowing these additional items.

Planning a Baby Shower

5 Weeks Before
Planning a Baby Shower is a piece of cake, right?

Decide on the Baby Shower Decorations
These are important. But nothing that we can't handle! And they are a lot of fun. The theme you have chosen will decide what type of decorations you will have. If you have not chosen a theme and just want to do a general "baby" theme that is easy too! Click here for all sorts of baby shower decoration ideas . Think about how you want to decorate and decide what decorations you will need. Do you want a few simple and tasteful decorations? Or do you want to go all out and decorate with everything?

Register the mommy-to-be at 1 or 2 Baby Registries

Choose which Baby Shower Games you will play.
Click here for an excellent selection of free baby shower games and ideas. Most baby showers have 2 -4 baby shower games. You can play more than that or have none at all! It all depends on what the expectant mother would like. Once you have chosen all of the baby shower games you want to play, it is a good idea to run them by the expectant mother, just to get her stamp of approval. (Because some baby shower games might make her or other guests feel uncomfortable or awkward)

Planning a Baby Shower

4 Weeks Before
We're Halfway There, We can do it!!

Finalize how you want to decorate and then buy the decorations that you will need. Most craft or party supply stores will have everything you want.

Finalize what Baby Shower games you will play at the party and decide what prizes you will have for the winners of the games.

Purchase the prizes.

Decide what party favors you will give to the guests.
Click here for fabulous baby shower favors and ideas... If you are making your own baby shower favors, purchase the supplies you will need and make them now! You might not get around to it later. You may not want to make one for everyone that you invited because some people might not be able to come. But you could make enough baby shower favors for the ones you are sure will come, and make the rest when you receive everyone's RSVP.

For your baby shower food and menu, if you are planning to enlist help to prepare the food, make specific assignments of who should bring what. Be sure to let them know how many people you have invited to the baby shower party.

If you plan on having a baby shower cake (aka diaper cake or baby cake) at the party as a gift to the mother & as a centerpiece, then make or Order the baby shower cake now.

If you are having the Baby Shower catered, call the caterer and verify the menu, the date, time, and cost.

If you are having the Baby Shower at a restaurant, call to verify your reservation.

If you want to order a cake for the shower (a real, edible cake) order it from the bakery now.

Verify that you have someone to baby-sit/entertain any children that the guests may bring.

Planning a Baby Shower

3 Weeks Before

Wrap the prizes for the Baby Shower games.

Purchase all the Baby Shower Decorations that you will need.

Make any Baby Shower Decorations that you planned on making.

Borrow any Baby Shower Decorations that you planned on borrowing.

Planning a Baby Shower

2 Weeks Before

At the end of this week, you should have received everyone's RSVP. Call anyone who hasn't responded by this time to you have a definite number of who is coming.

Once you know how many guests will be coming to the Baby Shower, print off any baby shower games that require each guest to have their own game sheet, or Bingo card, or other prop or paper.

Purchase the game supplies and props that you will need (baby items, baby food, etc).

Gather any other supplies and props that you will need for all of your Baby Shower Games that you have at your house or that you can borrow from others (baby items, clothes line, baby doll, etc.)

Once you know how many guests are coming to the party, if you are doing nametags, print these off for each guest who is coming or buy some blank name tags to have each guest write their own name.

Once you know how many guests are coming to the shower, purchase enough baby shower favors for all the guests, or finish making your own baby shower favors.

Wrap the Baby Shower favors (if you are going to wrap them).

If you are buying a separate baby shower gift for the expectant mother, purchase your gift now and wrap it.

Order any flowers and/or corsage that you want for the shower decorations or centerpiece, or gift.

Be sure you have the following ready for the Baby Shower
- Camera
- Video Camera
- Camera Film
- Tapes for the Video Camera
- Batteries for both
- Disposable cameras to leave around the party room so guests can take candid pictures (if you want)

Arrange for someone to bring the expectant mother to the Baby Shower. After all, it is her day to be honored & pampered. (Possibly her husband could bring her?)

Planning a Baby Shower

1 Week Before

Wash any plates, glasses, utensils, serving trays, bowls, and any thing else that you will need for serving the food.

Think about and plan the room arrangement.
Part of planning a baby shower involves deciding on the best seating arrangement. You'll want to have a seating arrangement that allows for everyone to sit down, and to see everyone else (some type of circle or oval usually works best). Also, plan where you will put the serving tables and the gift table. It's best to place them somewhere in the room (or a different room) where they are out of the way but easily accessible to everyone.

Prepare any food that can be frozen - this will save you a lot of worry & stress on the day before and day of the baby shower.

Be sure you have clean linen - (table cloths, napkins, etc).
Launder any items that need to be washed.

Clean your house, or wherever you are planning to hold the baby shower.

Decide on what outfit you are going to wear for the Big Day, and make sure it is clean, pressed, and ready to go.

Make sure the guest bathroom is clean and ready.
Be sure the bathroom has soaps, lotions, a good air freshener, sufficient tissue paper, and extra feminine hygiene items for anyone that might need them.

As the Baby Shower day approaches, check the weather forecast for that day, just so you will know what it will be like. This is especially important if you are holding the shower outdoors. You will also be able to let the guests know if they should expect inclement weather (especially if any guests are traveling long distance).

Planning a Baby Shower

2 Days Before

Make a shopping list of all the food and grocery items you will need for the baby shower menu.

Buy the food, beverage, and grocery items that you will need for the baby shower food.

Decide where you will put the guests' coats or other items (in the coat closet, in a separate room, etc.).

Designate and ask someone to write down the baby shower gifts that the mother-to-be receives and from whom. This will be needed for the Thank You cards, and it will also save you some work and worry.

Prepare a table for location for the presents.

Review the baby shower games & instructions so they will flow smoothly during the shower.

Call anyone who is bringing food to remind them and to make sure they will show up a little early.

Charge any batteries needed for your video camera.

Planning a Baby Shower

The Day Before
Almost There! We're on a Roll!

If you ordered flowers, or a corsage, pick them up.

If you ordered any food trays or a cake for the Baby Shower, pick them up.

Pick up any Baby Shower Decorations, props, tables, chairs, or anything else that you are renting or borrowing for the baby shower party.

Decorate the party room with all your Baby Shower decorations.
Once you get the decorations up, it will really start to feel exciting!

Buy plenty of ice.

Prepare the Baby Shower food.
Make, bake, and/or prepare any and all food items on the baby shower menu that are not already taken care of.

Organize the food how you want to serve it (on trays, in serving bowls, etc).

Set up the baby shower room how you have planned it.
Put out the chairs according to your seating arrangement. Put out the tables. Set up the gift table. Put on table cloths.

Does the party room need more light?
Open windows, draw back curtains, or bring in lamps if you want to brighten the room. Or do you want it a little bit darker in the baby shower room? You can close the curtains or blinds, turn glaring lights off.

Think about the temperature of the baby shower room.
Will you need to use air conditioning or fans to cool the room down? Maybe open some windows? Or maybe in the winter you might need to turn the heater on and heat the room up to a comfortable temperature. Be sure to turn the air conditioning on early so it has adequate time to cool the room down before the shower starts (or turn the heater on early to heat the room up).

Planning a Baby Shower

The Baby Shower Day!
Calm Down - It's going to be Great!

Call the expectant mother and make sure she is doing well, feeling good, and ready for a party!

Put out any street, yard, or house signs that will help the guests find your house.

Prepare the beverages.
Mix any juices you may be serving, prepare the beverages to be served from a punch bowl, or pitchers. Be sure the beverages are in the refrigerator so they are cold when served, and have plenty of ice to keep them cool during the party.

Arrange the tables, food, and buffet area.
Have all your food and beverages set out and ready to go. If you have snacks and finger food, have those ready on trays, or serving dishes. Set out place settings, utensils, cups, punch bowls, napkins, food, drinks, salt & pepper, condiments, and anything else you may be serving.

Take out any and all dishes, food, or desserts from the freezer. Be sure to do this so the food has plenty of time for them to thaw out.

Check and adjust the temperature if needed.
(see Day Before the Shower)

Do you want to play any mood music (children or baby songs, lullabies, etc) or just fun, relaxing music in the background?
Set a stereo up for the music and have it playing as guests arrive.

Set out baby shower favors on a table or display them with the centerpiece or baby shower gift table.

If you ordered any balloons, pick them up and arrange them in your decorations or displays.

Review the Timeline and Schedule of the order of how the baby shower events will go.

Have all your baby shower game props, papers, hand-outs, and pens in one place so you know exactly where they are.

Planning a Baby Shower

Good luck in planning a baby shower. Your time, your work, and your love will pay off when you see how happy the soon-to-be mommy will be! Planning a baby shower is definitely worth it!

Click here for some more fun and new ideas
to will help you in planning a baby shower ...

Planning a Baby Shower