It is official.
You are not only about to welcome a little human into your family and world, but you have found yourself stumbling across this post. With various thoughts, horror stories told from your next door neighbour, friends and family members about how her baby shower ended up in literal flames and the fire department having to be called or your friend’s party exceeding beyond all imaginable costs, I have a few tips and tricks for you.
First tip before we starting discussing budgets, visions of how the party is going to turn out and yourself being surrounded by loved ones, I want you to take a really deep breath.
By taking this deep breath, you are going to hold it in for ten seconds before slowly letting it out. I would recommend doing this until you feel the stress you’ve been accumulating for the past few weeks has eased slightly and your right eye has stopped twitching uncontrollably.
Second tip is, continue on reading for those helpful tips on how you can plan a baby shower on a budget.
When our family heard the news that Eliza and Mr. Darcy were going to become parents for the first time and as such, we were having our first grandchild; Red and I were overcome with utmost joy, happiness and simply couldn’t wait patiently as we wanted to snuggle, hug and spoil our newest addition to the family. Even to this day as I sit at my little table overlooking Red and I’s backyard, the smile hasn’t left our faces once!
Once the news was spread around the world in a series of texts, messages and emails, Eliza soon came to realise that the next thing the O’Chunky Family loves to do best is throw a party. In fact, Eliza and Mr. Darcy found themselves being placed at a table piled high with afternoon tea and pots of coffee and tea and being told, “we are going to throw you a baby shower. Kaffy and I want you to sit back, relax and leave the planning, budgeting and scheduling to us.”
Tip No. 1: YouTube is your Friend.
As a result, the first place I turned to was YouTube for all sorts of advice, design ideas, themes, gift inspirations and budgeting suggestions.
I will cheerfully admit to watching en mass anything remotely directed towards hosting parties for soon-to-be parents at all hours of the day and night. My little notebook dedicated to Baby O’Chunky’s baby shower was filled and brimming with notes, ideas and suggestions because like you, I have never hosted a baby shower, attended one or been the recipient of a ton of gifts for our brood of Jolly Giants through the years.
Least to say, YouTube and baby shower videos were not only an eye opener. However, I did find it slightly overwhelming to say the least and at the end of the day, when discussing what ideas Eliza had envisioned for centre pieces, invitations and games, it was a whole lot of fun!
In fact, I have included some videos down below that will get your juices running, inspirational ideas freely flowing and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Tip No. 2: Find an old notebook and become Ms. Organised.
When it came to watching mass baby shower videos and the number totaling triple digits, the key point that kept on being repeated in each video was Organisation is key. By being organised and having a notebook dedicated to writing down ideas, budgeting costs and meal plans (I’ll discuss this further down the post), Eliza and Mr. Darcy’s baby shower was not only enjoyable but it remained a budget friendly baby shower.
In order to host a party that doesn’t resemble a WWE smackdown and you aren’t in the corner of the bathroom, clutching a paper brown bag and breathing heavily into it, I would recommend a few things and they are:
You are going to have to become disciplined, organised (see key theme here!) and are able to delegate tasks to certain people whom you trust whole heartedly and have a partner, that you can tag team with to overcome the overwhelming feeling you will no doubt experience.
Although Eliza had given Kaffy and I full range when it came to planning the baby shower as well as being co-hosts, we sat down with the expecting parents and consulted them as to: catering, budget, theme and gifts. All of us agreed before we went shopping and started decorating, we organised the party so Eliza and Mr. Darcy had minor roles and we all had an operational plan in mind.
As a result, the questions you need to ask yourself are the following:
- What is our budget?
- Do we have a set budget or can it be flexible?
- Do I/we want a baby shower that only includes couples, women or have a mixture of family and friends?
- Who is giving or co-hosting the shower?
- Pick a Date and Time to be held.
- Decide and settle on a duration of party (hours) and date for invitations.
- Be prepared for your guests to have so much fun, they don’t want to leave! DELEGATE SOMEONE to be the Bouncer!
- Are you hiring a venue or hosting in an open area (parkland, picnic spot, beach) or private residence?
- Is it a Baby Shower and/or Gender Reveal Party?
- How many guests are to be invited?
- When should the invitations be sent out and how will be they be sent (snail mail, email or Facebook Event page?)
- Is there a Theme?
- Pink/blue, beach, bling, baby orientated, non-gender, fairy garden, non-specific, colour.
- Is there a Gift Registry or Gift List for present idea or gift items??
- Who is in Charge of the Gifts?
- Are the Gifts to be opened at the baby Shower or after Guests leave?
- What food or menu are we going to serve to guests?
Speaking of budgets and menu planning…
Tip No. 3: Let Them Eat Budget-Friendly Cake.
When it comes to food and planning a menu, the first thing you have to remember is the above mentioned and that is, remembering and sticking to your budget. The next question, you’ll be asking yourself and partner/s in crime are: what are we planning on feeding our guests?
If you planned on doing invitations through a Facebook event page, as most people are on social media these days, you can always pop up a message asking your guests if they have any allergies or food preferences. Such as, if your best friend had suddenly converted to being a vegetarian and her partner is a vegan and someone through mutual acquaintance has an intolerance to gluten.
Once the guest list has been confirmed and double confirmed, the next series of questions you have to ask yourself is:
- Is it a light menu?
- Are we going to have cake at the baby shower and if so, where are we going to source it from?
- For a budget friendly tip: if you know someone who makes a mean cake, you can always ask them to make the cake for your baby shower or have a go, yourself.
- How do you envision your food being served?
- Are you going with buffet style, cocktails or a sit down dinner?
- Or, are you going to go with a traditional barbeque?
- What drinks are you going to serve? I.e. soft drinks, cordial and fruit flavoured water?
- Pinterest has heaps of ideas when it comes to fruit flavour water and another tip is: buy frozen berries/fruit as they serve as ice cubes and fruit. So, winning!
- Is there going to be alcohol at your baby shower and if so, who is going to buy it?
- Who is doing the preparation, cooking and service?
- Who cleans up?
- If you are hosting it at a venue, are there any additional costs and charges for those who have allergies or intolerance to food?
Initially, I had thought about cooking all the food and had written up a large volume of food menus. While doing this, I wrote down all the prices for ingredients, how long each item on the menu would take to cook and realised I would be in the kitchen for a minimum of three days initially. This was merely for the fact I had chosen a menu containing finger foods and light meals as most of the guests would be travelling over two hours one way, for the baby shower.
After calculating costs and time, I ended up sourcing nearly everything relating to food wise from Costco. I not only found everything to be located within one area, so I didn’t have to travel endlessly to various stores for bits and bobs, but I was able to save and stick to my budget.
For those who are struggling with planning a menu or don’t know where to start, this is what Eliza and Mr. Darcy’s menu for the baby shower consisted of:
- Platters of sandwiches
- Variety of sliced cakes
- Cold salads
- Cold meat platters
- Cheeses with crackers and fresh fruit
- Sliced vegetables with various dips and hummus
- The baby shower cake (with heartfelt warming message)
- Non-alcoholic beverages as expressed by Eliza, due to guests having to drive.
- Serving supplies.
The only items I made were:
- Cold herbed chicken pieces
- Tabbouleh (this seemed to be a hit with the guests!)
- Homemade Potato Salad.
Tip No. 4: When Is the baby shower to be held?
Apart from recently announcing your exciting news and being asked what your personal preferences are regarding gender, the next question you will be asked by anyone in your family and friends is: “when is the baby shower being held and how many guests can I bring?”
Do you want to have your baby shower held shortly after announcing your news or somewhere between your second and third trimester. Taking into account that when it comes to later stages of pregnancy, you will either be experiencing hot/cold weather, possible swelling in your legs (especially if you live in a hotter temperature), the urge to nest and gain as much sleep as possible before baby arrives.
When discussing the baby shower with Eliza and Mr. Darcy, they elected to have their baby shower at the Beach Shack and because of how small their backyard is, they restricted their guest list to close family and friends. As a result, Eliza decided to invite 30 guests and had her baby shower on a lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon while she was 5 months pregnant.
Tip No. 5: How much is too much?
With a budget being officially established and your list of questions being answered, it’s time to go shopping for decorations and table centre pieces for the baby shower.
If you are unable to afford someone to decorate your reception area of where the baby shower is being held, than I have a few places (both internationally and Australia based) of where you can get decorations or the supplies for having a fun DIY decorating party.
For those who love shopping online for anything and can work an budgeting spreadsheet like a professional, I would recommend these online websites as they have a wide range of designs, templates and ideas and they are: Wish, Catch, Etsy or Ebay.
You can also ask someone who has easy access to supply stores, especially if they live in another state or country, to gather your supplies and decorative pieces. For those who many not be as great at online shopping (don’t worry, Eliza had to teach me once!) and prefer to go scouting for instore sales, I would recommend looking at any hobby craft store such as Michaels, Joanne’s (US based) or for those who live in Australia, then Big W, Wayne’s World and Dollar Tree will source any decorations needed or those DIY crafting supplies.
Or, if you have someone who not only has online access to various stores and lives in another state with a wider range of stores, you can always ask them for their help and services. For example, we asked Ms. C to find baby shaped boy and girl balloons (as Eliza and Mr. Darcy were having a baby shower and gender reveal party). In return, Ms. C found cute baby shower bunting pieces that melted the hearts of all the guests and was asked if she’d be in charge of the creating the game prizes. Ms. C also printed all of the guest labels for the game prizes, guest gifts and sourced other additional items of interest.
For baby buntings, you can find DIY Pinterest inspired baby bunting pieces that can be easily designed and created by yourself for additional budget savings, they are more heartfelt especially when you look back on them and can be designed around your theme/colour palette.
Lastly, Kaffy and I wouldn’t have been able to pull everything off without the support and offerings of help from our friends and family. Not only did they offer up their creativity and DIY skills as well as their time, but they ultimately made it an amazing day to have a baby shower. As a result, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without asking for help.
So, if you are feeling as if everything is starting to become too overwhelming for you and you’re struggling with everything in general, than speak out and ask for help. Whether you are asking for help, especially if someone you know is talented with flowers, artwork or knows how to blow up a 100 balloons without fainting or turns up with a tank of helium than don’t be afraid to speak out. You never know who has hidden talents awaiting to be unleashed or someone can take over planning and pick up that microphone and start delegating tasks, while you relax with your feet up.
At the end of the day, you have everything in your hot little hands to plan a budget friendly baby shower and I wish you all the best with the future. And, congratulations once again on your wonderful and joyous news of your expecting little one.
Lots of love,