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All the Little Things

Step #2 of the 8-Step Planning Guide

By Sirena Van Schaik

Yeah! You have the Who, What and Where, so now it is time to sit back and relax, right?  Wrong.  This is where planning a baby shower can become more of a travesty than a fun endeavour between friends or family if you don’t iron out a few details before you begin enjoying the fruits of your labor.  We will be discussing them here.

Don’t skip ahead and start looking at the fun stuff like theme because if you miss this part, your baby shower may miss out on some important details.  I know there are a few things that everyone wants to ignore, namely the budget, but believing you have a limitless budget or no budget at all is going to throw a wrench in much of the party planning.

I’m not going to jump right into budget because I, like many others, would love to plan a party with a blindfold on when it comes to budgeting. Sure I can purchase the gleaming white carriage that will usher the expecting mother from her home to her happily ever after baby shower.  What do you mean my credit is maxed out?  In a perfect world, those horse drawn carriages would be a lot cheaper so maybe it’s time to look at a cheaper means of traffic, unless of course you can swing that horse drawn carriage.

So if we aren’t going to talk about the budget, what are we going to talk about?  All the little things that go into preparing for a baby shower.  Let’s first decide on the date and time.  Much of your party’s theme, menu and games will really be decided by those two little things.  At first glance they may not seem big but many people barely give any time to them before jotting them in the event planner.

Before you commit to a date and time, start doing some leg work or if you can, fingerwork by calling or emailing the main players of the baby shower.  These are going to be the mothers and sisters from both sides of the family.  Don’t forget to discuss the date and time with the expecting mother unless the shower is a surprise, in that case, ask her spouse about her schedule and also about when to expect baby.  If it is not a first pregnancy for the expectant mother, take into account if she has had early deliveries in the past.  If she has, plan the shower a little earlier than is traditional.  Although every pregnancy is different it is better to plan out the shower as though the guest of honor always delivers early, that way you won’t have to worry about any early arrivals that may mess up the scheduling.

Once you are done getting everyone’s advice, it is time to decide on a date.  Try to pick one that isn’t encumbered by other events such as national holidays or other parties; you are not going to know all of them but try to accommodate those important guests.  Have the baby shower between 4 to 8 weeks before the baby is expected, since this will help alleviate the worry of having to cancel due to baby’s arrival, and it is a time when mom will appreciate the break from all her worries.

Alternately, if you are planning to have the shower after the baby’s arrival, hold off until the newborn is about a month old.  Newborns can be susceptible to viruses that are floating around, and it is not recommended to take them out in public until they are 2 weeks of age.   It would be a bit of a faux pas to give baby a cold when he comes for a shower, and the new mom will not appreciate this either.   One last point about waiting to give the shower is the simple fact that after a month, breastfeeding has been established and both mom and baby are adjusting to the new routines in their life.  There is no rush to see the baby so just relax and make it for 4 to 6 weeks after baby comes home.

So the date is determined, and we can start moving ahead and looking at the time.  Traditionally, baby showers have been held in the afternoon but don’t feel like you have to follow the popular trend.  Again, much of this decision will be swayed by popular vote but keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish.  If you want a baby shower brunch, you can’t have it in late afternoon, so make sure that you plan the time accordingly.  Also think about the mood that you will want, for example if you want an energized party with lots of noise and games, then early evening may be perfect since people are just revving up for some night life.  Plan it with a light dinner and you’re all set.

Since we are looking at the date and time, let’s move on to the timeline.  It is best to have one written out to keep you on track and we offer an in-depth baby shower timeline that will make party planning a breeze.

Basically, look at the planning time to take about 10 weeks.  I prefer to give myself leeway when it comes to a timeline since the unexpected can happen and usually will if I am involved.  Don’t worry too much because this is 10 weeks from the time you think “I’m going to throw her a shower,” and then print out our great baby shower timeline worksheet.  For more on timelines, visit our baby shower timeline page to the time you shout, “Congratulations” on the day of the shower.

Ok, you knew we had to get to it eventually so let’s make this as painless as we can.  It’s time to look at your budget, and you should start by looking at what type of budget you have to play with.  Are you paying the bill yourself?  Do you have other family members contributing to the slush fund?  How much will you have to play with?

Magazines will often push the idea that we need to have extravagant baby showers that would make a celebrity jealous, but it really isn’t necessary.  Remember the most important part of a baby shower is having a group of people together to support and pamper the expecting mom.  Having said that, I have seen many great baby showers hosted for less than a hundred dollars by some very creative women.  There are ways to cut costs, and it doesn’t mean that everything in the party is handmade; it just means that you have to find some bargains.  Many businesses offer some wonderful deals, free shipping or free gifts when you purchase specific items.  The key is to hunt down those deals.  You will find that your budget doesn’t have to be too extravagant, but if your budget will allow it, go on and order that ice sculpture.

To calculate your budget, you will need to consider the party’s duration, what you will be serving for food, what types of beverages, and how many prizes and goodies you will have.  A good rule of thumb is to budget about $17 minimum for each guest.  A party with ten guests will be about $175 and it grows from there.  Remember that this is considered to be a lower end baby shower and you can go up significantly with your budget. On the opposite side, you can also skim off a few dollars by doing a few of the money saving tips that we have already mentioned.  Also try our free budget worksheet while you are determining your budget.

See?  It wasn’t that hard and in reality everything we discussed is truly a little thing but like everything else, once you start adding the little things up, they can become a lot and can either make or break that perfect baby shower you are planning.

Go to Step #3 of the 8-Step Planning Guide >>





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