Celebrate your impending arrival by getting friends and family to throw you a baby shower to remember. B shows you how to crack the perfect baby shower organisation and gifts
By Claire Muffett-Reece
Being pregnant for nine months is certainly no walk in the park. From morning sickness and heartburn to ‘cankles’ and getting up constantly to wee, any mum-to-be deserves an award for what she’s put up with for nine long months. So why not make sure you really do enjoy an award to remember with a much-needed baby shower? Once only heard of on the other side of the pond, these days a party celebrating the imminent birth of your little one is commonplace among many mums-to-be. But what should you expect from your baby shower when it comes to themes, food and drink and games – and what about any gifts that should happen to be handed your way? We recommend you ‘accidentally’ leave this page open so your mum or bestie reads on for all the advice they’ll need. Hint, hint…
1. The theme
Choosing the right theme for a baby shower is key to ensuring all the guests are happy, from younger siblings running around to an older attendee who’s content with putting her feet up. “One of the most popular themes is a vintage afternoon tea,” says Claire Goldhill from Claire’s Vintage Tea Set Hire. “Pretty and retro, it’s one that every age will enjoy, so hunt around charity shops for bargain-priced vintage tea cups and saucers, or ask friends and family and see what you can borrow. You could even hire all the crockery needed for the day for a hassle-free solution, before getting helpers to assist with making delicious homemade cakes, scones and finger sandwiches, all washed down with tea and a refreshing glass of bubbles.”
2. The location
Deciding where to hold the shower is also key when ensuring it’s the success you want it to be. Never suggest holding it as a surprise at the home of the mum-to-be – she’ll be stressed her home wasn’t clean enough to accommodate guests, not to mention having to deal with the mess at the end of the event. It’s much more advisable hosting it at your own home or that of another friend or family member, choosing a location with enough space in one room for everyone to sit and catch up. Alternatively, look at a specific venue that will take the whole matter out of your hands. Why not use it as an excuse to book an overnight stay for your party, combining the cost of the mum-to-be so she doesn’t have to pay a penny? From just £115 per person, Somerset-based Ston Easton Park offers a lavish Girls’ Night In package for eight guests or more, including accommodation, three-course dinner, movies, face masks, popcorn, chocolate, wine, magazines and breakfast in bed. There’s even a number of unique add-on options, from vintage hair styling or makeovers, chocolate martini mixology, lingerie or bunting making – and many more! We have more location suggestions here.
3. The decorations
Making sure the venue looks the part is another factor to consider when planning the perfect shower. It can be tempting to go overboard when it comes to decorations, though a few simple pieces are often just as effective. Try your hand at some homemade vintage-inspired bunting, visiting a local haberdashery and asking for off-cuts. The grandmas-to-be may also welcome the chance to get involved here – delegation is key when party planning, after all – or instead just go to a reputable party accessories website and order a few bits and pieces to decorate with. We love…
Grey Star Bunting from Great Little Trading Company, £15
Handmade cupcake and heart felt bunting, Not On The High Street £35
Vintage floral bunting, The Cotton Bunting Company, £24
4. The games
Traditional baby showers tend to include a variety of games to involve the whole party – however, make sure you consider the mum-to-be before embarking on anything too adventurous! The guest of honour might actually prefer to sit back and catch up with her nearest and dearest, enjoying a nice piece of cake and a small glass of celebratory fizz. If you do, however, want to get everyone involved in a few antics, then guessing the time, date, weight and gender of the baby’s arrival is often the most popular choice. Alternatively, why not pass out nappies and get everyone to write a message on the front of each? It’ll make those 3am nappy changes all the more laughable…
5. The finishing touches
You’ve got the food and drink sorted, have invited all her closest friends and family members and have organised the decorations, too – is there anything else you can do to take that baby shower to the next level? “Many events such as baby showers often see people going all-out, organising bespoke celebratory cakes and even having food served by semi-naked butlers,” says Ann-Marie McDonagh from specialist events and beauty agency Serenity & Grace (http://www.serenityandgrace.co.uk). “We are often in demand for our mobile pamper party services around the London area, arranging a team of beauticians to come along and offer treatments for the mum-to-be and her guests to enjoy. A pedicure for a pregnant lady who can no longer reach her toes is a real treat, with manicures, make-up and blowdries other extremely popular choices, all of which will ensure the shower gets talked about for all the right reasons.”
6. The gifts
Last, but by no means least, are the gifts that each guest may want to bring along to the event. Remember most expectant parents will be awash with newborn baby clothes, so consider vouchers for something they could put towards, or ask the father-to-be what they think would be a good idea to buy. You could even club together with other guests and buy one big present, or think about a treat for the mum once she’s had her baby, such as vouchers for her favourite hair salon along with the offer of babysitting.
To figure out how to get your mum-to-be there, making sure she thinks she going for a nice meal with family so she’s suitably dressed in her finest maternity number!
Still stuck for suggestions? Here’s the top 10 gifts we’d have loved to have unwrapped when we were expecting…
1 Aloka SleepyLight Robot Night Light, £39.99
This enchanting nightlight cycles through 12 soft colours and has multiple functions, all of which will provide a calming environment to lull babies to sleep.
2 BabyBjörn The Woods Collection Baby Carrier One in Blackberry Red, £124.99
We’ve long been fans of this carrier due to its ergonomic design for children aged 0-3 years, so it’s great to see some new limited edition colours, like this Blackberry Red which is available now until February.
This 100% breathable and stylish wrap fits along the bars of any cot to allow airflow in to baby’s sleeping space, which reduces the risk of overheating.
4 Letterbox Gift Shop Mum To Be Gift Set, £26.95
We love this selection of luxury British gifts designed to fit through a letterbox, including organic raspberry leaf tea, lip and bump balm and much more.
5 Miffy Pink Comfort Blanket, £12.99
Made from super-soft plush and featuring the much-loved Miffy character, this comes in a choice of pink or blue and has an embroidered star pattern and cute knot detailing on each corner.
6 Motorola MBP853 Connect, £149.99
This HD WiFi connected video baby monitor boasts a 3.5-inch colour LCD unit, which live streams video from the camera in the baby’s room. It also offers room temperature monitoring, infrared night vision, lullaby player and two-way communication.
7 Red Castle Cocoonababy, £129.95
This ergonomic cocoon, designed by both a paediatrician and physiotherapist, lets babies resume the semi-foetal position from the womb, providing a reassuring space to allow them to fall asleep easily.
8 Sew Kuddly Feather Romper, £21
This gorgeous romper speaks for itself, handmade using Oko-tex standard 100 certified Jersey, which is soft and perfect for delicate skin. It even comes with matching headband and dribble bib if required.
9 Shnuggle Bath, £22
A bath intended to grow with baby, this features a ‘Bum Bump’ to keep infants securely in place, and a soft backrest to recline at the perfect angle without slipping.
10 Snuza Hero MD, £70
Clipped on to a nappy to monitor abdominal movement while baby sleeps, if no movement is detected within 15 seconds the unit gives baby a little tickle to rouse.