It's Baby Shower Time! Here Are Ten Fun Questions And Answers To Help You Make It The Best Party Ever.

It's baby shower time! Here are ten fun questions and answers to help you make it the best party ever.
Mary Ann Ross and Kimberly Lainson

1) Who should be the hostess of the shower?
Anyone can plan the shower -- family members, friends and/or co-workers. A mom-to- be can have many showers but it is wise to consult her or her mother (if it is a surprise) so that the themes can all be different -- this also avoids duplication of gift items.

2) Who pays for the shower?
The person that plans and invites the guests pays and it is usually considered her gift. Oftentimes, several people will get together and share the expenses. Potlucks are not only fun but budget-friendly as well.

3) Before the baby or after the baby is born?
For first-time mothers, showers before the baby arrives are great fun for her to look forward to in the last month of her pregnancy -- and she and the daddy can play and dream with all the gifts while awaiting their bundle of joy.

Mothers having their second or more children, "sprinkles" can be held before or after the baby is born. The up side of holding the shower after the baby's birth is that gifts can be chosen by the gender of the baby. In general, the shower should be held four to eight weeks before the baby is due, or four to six weeks after birth.

4) Who should be invited?
Traditionally, anyone who was invited to the wedding can be invited to baby showers. The best idea is to consult with the new mom and dad. Avoid inviting the same people to more than one shower, although some people want to attend several.

Best to invite by groups, for example, co-workers, church, etc. The mothers and grandmothers of the mom and daddy should be invited to all of the showers, but it is up to them to decide which ones they will attend.

Traditionally, the dad did not attend showers but does arrive at the end of the shower to say hello to everyone, help load the gifts into the car and to take his wife home. Nowadays, the dad can be invited to a baby shower and couples showers (men and women) are becoming more and more popular.

5) Surprise or not?
Surprise showers are fun to plan but are not necessarily fun for the mom who normally is tired of being pregnant! Besides, it appears to be more enjoyable for her when she knows people who love her are planning a special party. She'll be more prepared to relax and enjoy all the festivities, and if she already has children, she can make arrangements ahead of time for babysitting.

6) What if the guests don't know each other?
Provide easy-to-read name tags. These can be computer-generated in a pretty and baby-ish font. Hot glue some dried flowers, mini rattles, baby diaper pins (found in the party favor section of a craft store) or ribbons. Remember to have straight pins, too, so people can attach the tags.

7) Can the hostess provide gift suggestions?
Guests appreciate knowing what the baby needs or store where she is registered, so think about including a sheet with each invitation that lists this information.

If the mom is registered, the store ensures that there are no duplicates by keeping their computer lists updated as gifts are purchased. If the mom is not registered, then include a note in the invitation that if gift ideas are wanted, (name of person and telephone number) is coordinating a list and can be contacted.

8) Does the shower have to be held on a weekend?
The shower can be held any day of the week and at any time of the day that is convenient for the mom and the invited guests. It can be a brunch, lunch, dinner or just cake and punch. It can be casual, formal or better yet -- a fun baby shower theme.

9) Is it acceptable to serve cake and punch instead of a meal?
Cake and punch is very appropriate and makes for a shorter shower. Serving any meal is strictly up to the hostess. If food is served, plan on buffet-style and remember to provide either real dishes or sturdy papergoods because food does get heavy. If it is not a sit-down meal (restaurant or hall), remember that guests have to balance their plate, beverage and napkin on their lap.

10) What happens when?
There is no right way or wrong way -- just your way. An easy-flowing shower can be something like this:

  • Upon arrival, guests are greeted, gifts put on the gift table, take their coats, pin on their name tag and offer them a beverage. (Provide a gift table near where the mom-to-be seated to open them. As guests arrive, ensure their envelope or gift tag is securely attached to their gift before putting it on the table.)
  • Introduce them to other guests.
  • When everyone has arrived, start with an ice breaker game (a simple, no frills, easy game to encourage mingling)
  • If serving a meal, let the guests know when to help themselves.
  • When the meal is over, serve dessert.
  • While guests are enjoying their desserts, the mom can open her gifts.
  • Play one last game and pass out any gifts for the guests to gently bring the shower to a close.
With a little planning, your shower will be a fantastically fun and memorable event for the guest of honor, the hostess and all of the guests!

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