Toasting parents-to-be is such an exciting time, but throwing the perfect party can be stressful for hosts. But not to worry! We’ve rounded up the best locations and ideas to throw an unforgettable shower for the new mom in your life no matter the circumstances.
The Four Best Locations to Host a Baby Shower
1. Online: A Virtual Shower
Even after the world opens up again post-COVID, I suspect virtual baby showers will still be very popular. They are cost-effective and require no travel, which means everyone can attend! I admit that nothing beats giving the mom-to-be a big, in-person hug, but virtual showers can still be incredibly special and heartfelt with the right games and activities.
A Virtual Platform to Use
Zoom has become the “location” of choice for virtual baby showers. It is free and easy to use. Guests can create an account using their email addresses. Up to 100 participants can attend, provided the meeting runs for no longer than 40 minutes. If the shower runs longer than that, all guests have to do is log off and dial back in. The clock restarts for another 40 minutes. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it is only a minor inconvenience.
To add a personal touch, hosts can create a customized backdrop with the mom-to-be’s name or baby’s name, shower date, etc., and email the photo to guests before the baby shower. Guests can then set that custom photo for their Zoom backdrops to make mom feel extra special!
How to Play Baby Shower Games Online
While it might be hard to guess mom’s bump size through a computer screen, there are other fun games you can still play over Zoom or other virtual platforms.
A cute and common baby shower game is “Guess the Baby.” The host can create a slideshow of baby pictures of mom and dad, and guests can guess who is who. On Zoom, the host would simply share their screen and click through the slideshow, so everyone can see what the host sees.
To prevent people from talking over each other, you can ask guests beforehand to have two sheets of paper labeled “Mom” and “Dad” handy. They can then show their answers rather than blurt them out, which could get chaotic on a video call with dozens of people. If hosts want to go above and beyond, they can also mail custom “Mom” and “Dad” or personalized signs to all guests before the day of the event.
You could also play the game“Who Would Rather…” using the same slideshow and signs. Display questions for guests on a slideshow such as, “Who is more likely to wake up in the middle of the night to change baby’s diaper? Mom or Dad?” or “Will Mom or Dad be the more strict parent?” It’s a classic and a favorite baby shower game that translates well when played online.
And of course, don’t skip the opportunity to go around the “room” and have guests share parenting wisdom and words of encouragement with the mom-to-be. This is among the most heartwarming, memorable moment of any shower. Cue the tears!
How to Add Special Touches
It’s all about showering mom with love. Help her feel extra special, even when separated, by sending decorations. The parents-to-be can decorate their backdrop with balloons, streamers, signs, and other traditional in-person baby shower decor.
As a baby shower host, you may not be providing food for all the virtual guests, you can still send the mom-to-be her favorite sweet treat to enjoy during the shower.
Also, have guests ship their gifts to the mom-to-be before the shower date, so that she can still open gifts and thank the sender during the virtual shower.
|Pros of a Virtual Baby Shower||Cons of a Virtual Baby Shower|
|Most cost-effective option for party hosts||Can’t celebrate mom-to-be in person|
|Guests not required to travel, so more people are likely to attend||Difficult to incorporate food and snacks (though not impossible)|
|Guest count can be flexible||Could be a challenge for guests who are not tech-savvy|
|Can focus on truly showering mom-to-be with the right games and activities|
2. At Someone’s Home and/or Backyard
Hosting a baby shower in someone’s home or backyard provides an intimate, meaningful setting. Not to mention, you won’t need to pay any extra venue or rental fees.
As the host, consider your own space. If it is not large enough or you would rather not host the shower in your own home, lean on family members or close friends of the parents-to-be. Chances are someone would be delighted to help out!
If you are hosting a shower in someone’s home or backyard, you will have to be mindful of the guest list to make sure it does not feel too crowded and that guests are able to celebrate safely amidst the coronavirus pandemic. When serving food, consider individually wrapped sandwiches or grab-and-go bags to keep it clean and hygienic.
And if weather and space permits, try to hold most of the shower activities in someone’s backyard. An adorable, on-trend shower idea is to set up individual, portable picnic tables like the one from Ollieroo for guests. It gives everyone an opportunity to be together but safely apart!
|Pros of a Baby Shower at Home||Cons of a Baby Shower at Home|
|Mom-to-be is able to see everyone in person||Guest count may be limited, depending on the size of home|
|Cost-effective option||Social distancing may be a challenge depending on the size of space, so some guests may be uncomfortable attending|
|Allows for an intimate, special setting|
|Food can be served and games can be played as normal|
3. At Your Local Park
Another pandemic-friendly option is to consider your local park to host a baby shower. Outdoor spaces allow for social distancing and may allow you to invite more people than you would be able to accommodate in someone’s home.
It is a good idea to check with your local municipality to see if it requires permits or fees to throw a party at the park. This may depend on how many guests you plan to invite. Another (often overlooked) detail includes the accessibility of bathrooms for your guests. Most parks offer facilities, but double-check that they are available and clean!
If a fee or permit is not required, as the host, you should get to the park early on the day of the event to reserve your spot. Parks tend to be popular places for gatherings, especially on weekends.
And of course, keep an eye on the skies and have a contingency plan if it rains (or snows!)
|Pros of a Baby Shower at the Park||Cons of a Baby Shower at the Park|
|Mom-to-be is able to see everyone in person||Additional fees/permits may be required|
|Parks tend to be large, meaning you can accommodate more people to shower the mom-to-be||If no fees/permits required, you may need to set up and claim spots early with competing park events|
|You won’t need to worry about the added mess that comes with throwing an event in your home||Weather could be a factor|
|Food can be served and games can be played as normal|
4. At a Restaurant or Event Venue
There is good reason baby shower hosts have sought out restaurants and venues for events. You’ll have a team at the restaurant and/or venue to help, food is often served on-site and you won’t need to worry about tables, chairs, linens, and other minor details.
Of course, the convenience comes at a price. Hosting a baby shower at a restaurant or venue, such as your local botanic garden, event hall, or bed and breakfast, will cost you the most money. There is likely an upcharge for nearly everything you might need. For example, if you plan to show a video or slideshow for games at the baby shower, you may need to pay an additional rental fee.
Consider these details before deciding on a third-party event location:
- Guest count: Will you have 15 guests or 50? Having an estimated guest count before searching for a restaurant or venue to host a baby shower will help you make important decisions.
- Food and beverage: Do you plan to pass canapés or serve a plated meal? If hosting at a restaurant, it may require a food and beverage minimum when renting the space.
- Privacy: Does the restaurant or event venue have a private room, balcony, or terrace that you can rent for the event so that the mom-to-be and her guests can have a more intimate setting? This may cost a bit more, but it beats having to talk over the Sunday brunch crowd at a popular restaurant.
Once you have the basics figured out, be sure to secure the restaurant or venue at least several weeks, if not months, in advance. Popular restaurants and other locations book up fast! Depending on the time of year, you’ll be competing with bridal showers, graduation parties, holiday gatherings, and more.
|Pros of a Baby Shower at a Restaurant/Event Venue||Cons of a Baby Shower at a Restaurant/Event Venue|
|Mom-to-be is able to see everyone in person||Most expensive option, especially if serving food and drinks|
|Most convenient option||May need to plan your event weeks or months in advance|
|Flexible guest count, depending on what type of space you reserve|
|Restaurant/Venue likely has a team to assist you|
|Minimal decorations may be required|
Other Things to Consider
Make the Big Decisions First
Much like planning a wedding or any other special event, the first decisions hosts need to make when throwing a baby shower are regarding the budget and guest count. Those two details will drive the majority of your decision-making when it comes to location, food, games, details, etc.
Keep the Expectant Mom in the Loop
So often, hosts get very excited when throwing a special event and want to keep everything a surprise. This may be a given, but consult the mom-to-be about what she wants and feels comfortable with.
For example, perhaps mom doesn’t want to open all the gifts she has received in one setting. It may be difficult for her to transport everything to the shower location or she may not want to bore everyone with opening every single item she’s been gifted.
Or maybe the mom-to-be has several different groups of people she’d like to invite to her shower, ie) family and close friends; co-workers; church members. It might be overwhelming to have everyone together at once. This brings us to our next idea…
A “Drive-By” or “Come and Go” Shower
The “drive-by” shower is gaining popularity for expectant moms and guests alike. The idea is to stagger guest arrival times so that the mom-to-be has a chance to greet and spend time with everyone who attends. Rather than having a set event time for, say, two hours and having to rush through conversations, consider a longer baby shower to host a smaller group of people at a time.
A”come and go” baby shower is a great option if budget and/or space are a concern. If you cannot rent an event venue to accommodate mom’s large guest list, you can opt for a smaller space where fewer people will be meeting.
This could also work for a virtual shower. It is much more manageable to host a Zoom conference for 10 people at a time than 30. Split the guest list into groups and set a time limit for each group.
Ways to Cut Costs
You can still throw a lovely shower on a budget by cutting costs where you can.
- Send online invitations rather than paper ones. Not only is it better for the environment, but you will also be saving on printed goods and postage. Plus, let’s be honest: guests may only hold onto that invitation for a day or week before tossing it.
- Hold the shower at a time when meals are not expected. For example, 2 pm in the afternoon is a great time to host an event. Guests are most likely not expecting lunch and it is too early for dinner. Food always tends to be one of the big-budget items of any event. If you can get away with serving light refreshments rather than a hearty meal, your wallet will thank you!
- DIY wherever you can. Of course, this depends on how much time you have and how crafty you are. But you’d be surprised with what you can come up with. Lean on friends and family who can help, as well. Perhaps, a family friend loves flowers and is willing to take on a few floral arrangements. Or maybe someone wants to bake treats rather than purchasing a whole spread from a bakery.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to celebrate the milestones in our lives. But it is more important now than ever to show love and support to the expectant moms in your life. Whether it is her first pregnancy or fifth, she will appreciate any gesture by her friends and family.
Having hosted several baby showers (including being the guest of honor at one), I can honestly say that food, decorations, and games are not what is most important on that special day. What the mom-to-be will remember most is the people in her life coming together to celebrate this most wonderful season. It is the words of encouragement and time spent together, whether in person or virtual, that she will treasure most.