Gone are the days of bow-laden hats and wishing wells.
When it comes to throwing a baby shower, today’s festivities are out with the old, and in with lots of new traditions. To get the inside scoop on what’s big in welcoming little ones, we talked with party planning experts who revealed the latest games, party themes and more ways to celebrate little ones in style.
First and Foremost
While most baby showers are held in honor of firstborns, plenty seasoned moms also want to show off their latest bundles of joy. “Showers for first babies tend to be bigger and a little over the top,” says Jasmine Shah, an event planner/stylist for the Atlanta-based IDEA! event + style (www.ideaeventstyle.com). “For the second and subsequent babies, some moms prefer to host a ‘sip & see’ party after the baby is born. This tends to be a lot of fun, with all focus being on the baby rather than the pregnant mama at her shower.”
Also popular are co-ed showers where the father-to-be and his buddies get to be part of the festivities. “It really becomes more of a party instead of the more traditional showers that have petit fours and flowers,” explains Emily Lester of EM Event Management (www.emeventmanagement.com) in
Focused on Fun
While some showers follow an open-ended celebration style, others incorporate a specific theme that helps with party planning. “So much depends on if we know the gender of the baby,” says Lester, noting that a particular theme may play a part in the décor or a shower game. “But with mixed gender showers, you really don’t hit the people over the head with a theme so much. Money for a themed shower is better spent on more substantial food or drink,” she adds.
Gender reveal showers are gaining popularity with Shah’s clients as well, and tend to be planned early on in a pregnancy (around the 25-week mark) when parents-to-be find out the sex of their baby. “It makes the celebration unique because there’s a suspense factor involved and a lot of guessing,” she explains.
Because game playing adds an element of excitement to the festivities, party goers may be asked to be willing participants in a range of activities. Shah has planned showers where Baby Bingo and Guess the Mom’s Weight have been played. “I try to put a fun spin on these by making custom game cards to match the theme and colors of the shower,” she says. Another popular activity, a makeshift photo booth, lets guests try out props and pose with the mom-to-be. “These pictures make for awesome memories and tend to keep the flow and mood of the party lighter,” adds Shah.
Other activities may touch more upon the personal side of the affair, involving the guests of honor themselves. With mixed gender showers, Lester has worked on a ‘he said/she said’ game that involves a series of the questions that a couple will answer, but neither one sees the other’s answers. “I have also had a lot of couples write down blessings, advice or wishes for the child,” she notes. “That’s a nice sentimental touch.”
As for those games that are now passé? Don’t expect to see too many contests at your next shower. “All of those ‘find the safety pin in the rice’ or ‘who can drink the most beer out of a bottle’ type races are sort of silly,” admits Lester.
Going Ga-Ga for Gifts
Of course, no baby shower is complete without the “oohing” and “ahhing” over the endless parade of present opening. Baby gift registries are still a time-honored tradition, and have extended themselves beyond typical baby outlets stores to specialty boutiques and general merchandise retailers like Target and Walmart. Lester also sees the growth of gift cards that enable people to pay for a high-priced item, like a crib or stroller.
For those looking for registry alternatives that are a bit more personal, monogrammed gifts with a baby’s initials or name are always a big hit. Presents that benefit both mom and baby offer a different way to recognize and celebrate a new arrival. Shah cites such noteworthy choices as a photography package, a pre- or post-natal massage certificate or a gift certificate to a mom’s favorite hair salon. “It’s so great when the mom is pampered along with her baby,” she says.