19 Sep The Baby Shower
A baby shower is an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of a baby (or babies, who knows) and to surround the soon-to-be mother with joy, lots of fun, and especially (you can count on us for this one) with taste!
Be careful, as the idea of baby showers came to us straight from the States, it is easy to go overboard and produce something too much/too kitsch.
So be sure not to suffocate yourself under a nappy cake or (not for the faint hearted) with one of the worst cakes ever made (you have been warned)!
If you are reading this article, there are two possibilities: either you are organising your own baby shower (in this case, you’re a little bit of a control freak #welcometotheclub), or you are organising one for your bestfriend/sister/cousin/etc. (in this case good luck, sometimes future mothers can be a little bit of a control freak).
Generally speaking, there is no strict rule, however the responsibility of organising a baby shower is very often left to one of the loved ones of the future mother.
If you’re throwing a surprise baby shower, be sure to be easy on the “SURPRIIIIIIISE”, or you risk triggering a premature birth. #oops
Let’s retrace our steps. Your best friend has waited the obligatory three months to tell you that she is pregnant has stuck her still-wet pregnancy test right under your nose: OMG she’s going to be a mother!
Nine months of waiting is a long time (but not as long for the mother as it is for you, the excited soon-to-be auntie). So you need something to take up your time, and a baby shower is the perfect project! We can assure you that it will not take you nine whole months, however you will need a few weeks to plan the (almost) perfect party!
When organising a baby shower, it’s all about balance. It must be cute without being corny. Cheery without being crazy (there is a pregnant woman anyway) (a stripper in a nappy and with a giant dummy, sorry but no) but without being sleep-inducingly boring aswell.
A baby shower can be split into two sections: the preparations, and D-Day.
Come on, push breathe, breathe, it’s going to be OK!
Before diving straight into organising a baby shower, you first must ensure that the future mother actually wants one and, most importantly, you must work alongside the future father (this will make your life so much easier).
6 WEEKS BEFORE
– THE date: When deciding the date of the baby shower, be sure to talk to the future father, who can easily fill you in on the schedule of the future mother. Normally, a baby shower takes place 4 to 6 weeks before the due date, ideally during the 7th month of her pregnancy. Often, they take place around midday.
– THE VENUE: The most ideal plan is to organise the baby shower at the future parents’ house, but this can make it difficult to keep the party a surprise. Again, ask the father to organise a decoy plan for D-Day (“Darling, I’ll treat you to a spa session/massage/manicure/pedicure and then we’ll go to a nice restaurant”) and to leave the place free so that you can get in/decorate/welcome in the guests.
– THE GUEST LIST: This is not a strict rule, but it is generally a girls-only party (for confidentiality). You will need to contact her closest friends/colleagues/sister(s)/cousin(s), etc…
– the budget: Just because you are organising the baby shower, doesn’t mean that you have to pay for it all. Don’t hesitate to ask the father or the guests to help out.
– THE THEME: As the best friend of the mother, you should know her tastes well. There is a tendancy to go for pastel colours, but anything is possible. Tropical, mini animals, clouds… Anything, we’re telling you, anything!
5 WEEKS BEFORE
– the invitations: You can absolutely send some homemade invitations, but a quick e-mail/text/phonecall will also do the trick (if you need any details, ask the father). Make sure you emphasise to the guests that it will be a SURPRISE baby shower. The best thing to do is to create a group chat on Messenger or Whatsapp, which will let you keep everyone up-to-date on the plan.
4 WEEKS BEFORE
– THE decoration: As it’s a baby shower, you need to clearly set out the tone of the party, lots of decoration is therefore essential. Big foil letter balloons, making the word “BABY” (or “GIRL” or “BOY”), our DIY baby cubes (that you can equally use to spice up the wrapped gifts), etc.
Make a list of everything that you need, all in accordance with the number of guests and the size of the venue.
What would a baby shower be without a Sweet Table? So don’t skimp on the details: cupcake cases, pretty paper tableware, lanterns, balloons, bunting, and why not even a lightbox. Choose everything based off of the theme that you have already decided on.
– THE menu: whatever says Sweet Table, says little sweet/savoury snacks. Cupcakes are always popular. A glass bottle of sweets. Fruit kebabs. Savoury cakes. A simple, yet effective, buffet. The cherry on top has to be a beautiful cake to top everything off. If you or one of the guests has baking in their blood, launch yourself right into making a layer cake. The higher it is, the more beautiful it is. #thehigherthebetter
1 MONTH BEFORE
– the present(s): It is tradition that you give the future mother a nappy cake or other baby products. Once again, this is not a strict rule. Some good ideas are a beauty treatment for her, or a beautiful Charlie Crane baby rocker for her for the baby… If there is a gift registry, the best thing is to pick your gift ideas from there. Another option, an impersonal yet valuable token, is a joint envelope.
– the games/diy/activities: If you gather the gifts in advance, you can customise their wrapping with our DIY activity. And if not, make the cubes that you can and spread them out on the Sweet Table. You can also personalise them by adding small details linked to your theme. Without being too demanding about the timings, we advise you to make a “road map” of the baby shower in order to have flowing and pleasant event. A little further below, we have suggested some games and activities. Have confidence in your imagination, and feel free to consult one of the invitees.
– task distribution: Again, just because you took the initiative to plan the baby shower, doesn’t mean that you have to do absolutely everything from A to Z. You’re allowed to dare to ask for help. The friend that is talented with her hands will be thrilled to make paper flower crowns for everyone (if she is nice, if not just for the future mother, and if she is really not nice, just for herself). The Nigella Lawson of the group will be delighted to take charge of the buffet. The alcoholic friend be very happy about preparing the cocktail masterclass (but without alcohol for the mother, it goes without saying that the A.A. (alcoholic acquaintance) will drink her part), etc.
1 WEEK BEFORE
– general check: The guests, the designated tasks, the shopping, the decoration, the mood of the future mother… A little necessity a few days before the event, so that, in case of the unexpected, you will have time to find a plan B!
– the goodies: Optional, but you will be the perfect friend that everyone will want for their own baby shower. The idea is that everyone will leave with a little souvenir from the party. Pretty paper party bags, stickers, confetti, sweets, etc… If you organise it in advance and have the budget for it, you could even make personalised tote-bags.
– Photography: Unless you are Mrs Moneybags (or Beyonce), you will not have the means to hire a photographer for the occasion. Try to get a camera that will encourage people to take lovely photos. Get a tripod and improvise with a photobooth corner. If possible, get some disposable cameras and, once the photos have been developed, you can give a lovely photo album to the mother-to-be.
11AM The house is free, you have reinforcement by your side (because even with all the willpower in the world, you would not be able to manage it all on your own). It’s time to set up the decoration and the Sweet Table. Indoors/outdoors, it all depends on the venue/the weather. Inflate the balloons (with air and with helium). If you’re up for it, make a balloon arch, a balloon wall or simply one or a couple of pretty balloon clusters. Incredible results guaranteed.
2PM Everything is ready, and the guests have arrived. Your heart is beating fast, and you’re having a few contractions. You would not say no to an epidural to calm you down a little.
2:15PM When you hear the jingling of the keys, you all say “SURPRISE” in unison (you whisper a little, not wanting to risk a birth in the middle of the hall).
2:16PM The mother-to-be is in tears, and the father-to-be has a shimmer in his eye. He slips away silently, and the party can now start.
2:20PM The mother has gathered herself, she knows that it was all you, and her expression says thank you. All of these weeks of preparation have been worth it (the nervous pregnancy that you developed is only a small detail).
2:30PM The mother knows everyone, but everyone might not know eachother. You asked everyone in advance to send you a photo of them as a baby that you have printed out (yours and the mummy-to-be included) and you have assigned each one a number. It’s all part of the first game: Who’s Who? Of course, you can’t participate, or else that would be cheating.
3PM You follow this up with a blind test: a blindfold, a spoon, baby food; each person must taste three. For the less-talented ones, you have even prepared a bib. #wellplayed
3:30PM Is it time for a drink yet? Here we go with a Mocktail masterclass (a cocktail without alcohol) (unless the A.A. insists on getting out her hipflask). Without alcohol, the party is crazier. Well, maybe just sometimes, don’t exaggerate!
4PM The presents!!! In America, opening the presents is a whole activity in itself: It’s a tradition that is hard to get rid off, even if French people think otherwise.
You have spread out all of the presents on a nicely decorated big table/small table/chair/stool (all depending on the number of presents), and they’re all handed over to the mother with a collective enthusiasm. You even thought to wrap up some little bits and bobs that will make everybody laugh (the book “The Unmumsy Mum”, a little funny baby grow that says “My mummy is the best”, etc.)
4:30PM The cake!!! Homemade or not, it must be beautiful because it is one of the stars of the show. It will be the complete centre of attention if it is a “gender reveal cake”. But of course this requires the prior agreement of the parents. We’ll explain: the parents haven’t yet revealed the sex of the baby, they write it on a piece of paper and slide it into an envelope, which they will hand to you and you will then hand it to the baker (are you following?). The baker will then make a “mystery” cake (neutral on the outside, revealing on the inside). The sex of the baby will therefore be revealed once the cake is cut, and tada!
5:30PM The father returns, and you give him the job of being the official photographer. Everyone grabs a photobooth accessory and it’s time for a crazy photoshoot (or well-behaved, it’s up to you).
7pm-8PM-9PM The guests leave one after another. You stay to help tidy up (because you really are the best friend).
We have prepared a countdown schedule for you, which can be here.
EXTRA: the game “WILL YOU DARE?” (NOT WE)
A race of speed: who can put a nappy on the mother (adult size) as fast as possible?
FRIENDLY ADVICE (Part 1)
If the future mother is supersticious but she she still wants to have a baby shower, nothing is stopping you from organising it after the birth of the baby. The preparations and the events of the party stay exactly the same, except one small detail: the baby will not be in her tummy but in your arms instead!
FRIENDLY ADVICE (Part 2)
If you are against stereotypes (boy = blue/girl = pink) and this is stopping you from organising a baby shower, be aware that all themes can be varied time and time again.
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