The Art of Sharing:Co-hosting a Baby Shower
So you have decided to throw a baby shower for a friend or relative, and for whatever reason, you may be in the position where you are co-hosting the shower. Don’t fret if you are, since this is actually a very common practice.
Many people co-host showers for several reasons. They might not have the space to host a shower, so as a way to say thank you for the use of a home, they might co-host. Sometimes it is simply because; there is very little time to get everything done, they want to share the responsibility for the budget ... or it might simply be because several people wanted to throw a shower and co-hosting was the logical solution.
Whatever your reason is for co-hosting a shower however, you will have to share the responsibilities. Many times co-hosts will either have too much responsibility, making them feel like they are being taken advantage of, or they don’t have enough, which in turn makes them feel like they are being left out of the process. To help avoid that, we have gone over a few things that you and your fellow hosts will need to discuss and do, to smoothly co-host a baby shower.
Have a few planning meetings:
Good communication is key to co-hosting a shower. It is important to have several planning meetings so everyone can agree on the budget, theme, venue and food. The more communication you have, the less likely someone will feel left out or taken advantage of. It will also help eliminate any confusion on responsibilities and you will find each co-host will be sure of their role in the planning and implementing the shower.
Plan the location:
Many times, people will ask a person to co-host a shower with them for the simple reason that their own home doesn’t offer the space. Whether you are co-hosting for the space or not, it is important to take care of this location right away.
If more than one person wants to have the shower in their home, you will need to look, as a group, at which location would suit the shower. Look at the guest list you have drafted together, the size of each space, the location and the accessibility. You will want to host the shower at a location that is close to the expectant mom and most of the guests. You will also want enough space and accessibility to parking. When I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law, we decided to use my father-in-laws home for the event. I had more space and parking but I also had an extra hour and a half drive for everyone’s travel, so my home was out of the question.
When you are deciding on the location, you should consider the travel distance first. Once you have location figured out, especially in this manner, you won’t have as many arguments (hopefully) and one of the main stressors will have been eliminated.
With location comes responsibility:
Once you have the venue, it is important to list some of the responsibilities that the ‘venue operator’ (the person who is lending the space) will have. This can often be overlooked and can lead to the person offering the space to feel as though they are doing the lion’s share of the work. It can also leave everyone else feeling like they are not an equal host in this endeavour and it can cause hurt feelings.
Things that the venue operator will be responsible for:
Working out the budget:
There are several ways to do this but the best way is to simply let each person have a portion of the budget for whatever they are contributing. Work together during one of the meetings and determine the cost of everything. Then decide who will be in charge of the invitations, prizes, gifts, and decorations. Everyone should be able to cover one or more of those. Try to even out the cost so everyone is spending the same amount and let everyone go out and get their items. Review the budget several times to make sure no one is overspending from the agreed upon sums and accommodate the areas that may need extra funding.
Breaking the bread:
Food can be a major problem between co-hosts and many times the person in charge of the venue gets stuck with the food preparation. The best way to combat this, besides a caterer, is to agree upon a menu and then assign everyone dishes that they will prepare and bring. That way no one is stuck with too much prep work in regards to food.
I have already touched upon this in several areas but it basically comes down to making sure that everyone has specific tasks. Someone should be in charge of purchasing the invitations or making them, but make sure that everyone agrees on the selection. Same with the decorations and prizes. Sometimes planning a shopping day will help avoid any clashes over selections but not everyone has the time for an arranged shopping spree. With the invitations, you can address them all together or you can have one person send the initiations out, one person collect the RSVP’s and if you have a third co-host, one person could be in charge of calling those missing RSVP’s.
On the day of the shower, you will want to assign areas where the hosts are responsible. For example, certain games are run by one host, the others by another. One host greets guests, while the other sees them to the door at the end of the shower. One host prepares the food and the other cleans it up.
Sharing all the responsibilities and assigning them right from the start is the key to co-hosting a perfect shower.
Give credit where credit is due:
Make sure that everyone is given credit for the shower. Put it in the invitations under who is hosting the shower and also in a thank you note that you can slip into the gift bags for the guests. Don’t act like the shower was a sole endeavour since that will just cause a lot of negative emotions.
Note: It's a good idea, if possible, to at some point acknowledge everyone who has helped out for their part in the shower. It is likely that you will be a part of more than one shower, so a good working relationship may well be rewarded in the future.
Co-hosting a shower isn’t very difficult and with patience, you can have lots of fun in planning a perfect shower with a friend or family member. In many ways it is easier than handling all the work by yourself and in many cases you find that you have more resources to use for the shower. The most important thing about co-hosting a shower, is to remember that no matter what, the shower is about the mom, so any arguments you have with your co-host will only make the mother-to-be’s day less wonderful. So relax, and enjoy sharing.