This post shares how I planned and put together an awesome co-ed baby shower with a small budget.
Some folks may cringe when they hear the phrase “baby shower,” with their minds going straight to the traditional boring fete from days of yore. Honestly, that’s where my mind went for a split second when planning my shower. But screw that. Hosting a baby shower is as simple as throwing a rager with a hint of “look at my belly!” So bust out the kegs, ’cause you’re having a baby!
This post is all about getting your party inspiration flowing, simple organization, and fully planning out the essentials. Have fun, let’s start this up!
Get to planning:
First, figure out when you can throw this shindig. A couple months before your due date makes for safe planning in case your baby decides to join the world earlier than expected. It’ll also give you time to fully nest and rock out the nursery after you’ve been showered with gifts from your awesome friends and family. I had mine about 2 months prior to the due date and was very comfortable on my feet throughout the day and night. (Oh yeah, our party started at noon, last guest left after brunch the next day.)
Where can this party take place? If you have a house, then you’re set. If you have an apartment with a common space or outdoor spot- see if you can reserve it for some length of time, and maybe your neighbors could join the fun. Or you could reach out to a kick ass friend or relative that has a home nearby, and barter a deal with them to let you host the best baby shower ever that will go down in the history of all who attend as long as it takes place in their house. Because I’m all about saving money, renting an event space or reserving a block of time at a restaurant is out of my budget, so I can’t relay any helpful info on that option. We were lucky enough to have been renting a townhouse with a garage at the time of our party. It ended up being a rainy day, so the garage was the main hub.
Want a theme? Themes can be fun, and help prepare you for the many themed birthday parties you’ll be throwing over the next decade! This is where some research on Pinterest could come in handy. It could be as simple as a color scheme or something that combines you and your partner’s interests. If you have a theme in mind, you could incorporate it into your invites, if you choose to go that route. We didn’t really have an all over theme, but art and music were definitely prevalent within the decorations and activities. No one (but me and my grandma) knew the gender, so the decor colors I used didn’t reflect a girl/boy.
If you haven’t started a baby registry, now would be a good time. Honestly, I started putting one together the week after I found out I was pregnant. I used Amazon’s registry system because you can add outside links to it (Etsy was big on my list.) There are many other sources and stores out there that feature baby registries. RIP Babies’r’Us. 🙁
Spread the word:
Alright, so now you have a date, location, and theme if desired. Time to get the word out. You’ll want to let people know about the party 4-6 weeks ahead of time so they can plan it into their schedule. Physical invitations can be fun, but depending on how many people you plan on inviting, it could get costly. (Weigh your options: money for printing & postage vs. money for beer.) You could just make physical invitations for the guests in your life who would cherish them forever on their fridge, like the grandmas to be perhaps. And for everyone else- create a Facebook event, text, call, or invite them face to face. Don’t forget to share where you’re registered, and any other pertinent info (kid friendly? BYOB? Potluck? Dog friendly? etc.)
For our shower, we just sent out a Facebook event invite, and for the few folks in our life who are social media abstinent, we called them. It kept things informal, just the way we like it, and our guests knew right off that bat that this was going to be more of a celebratory party rather than a sit and mingle affair.
As the RSVPs start rolling in, you can start figuring out an action plan of what you’ll need and when to get or make everything. I find creating and sticking to a list extremely helpful, especially if you’re dealing with pregnancy brain. Here’s a starter list of things you may need at your party followed by a comprehensive breakdown:
- Party Favors
- Extras (tables, chairs, ice, cups, plates, utensils, napkins, coolers)
What kind of crowd you got coming to this party? Chances are someone is gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, or allergic to something. That’s why a *potluck style buffet is an awesome way to make sure everyone has something to eat. It helps cut back on food costs as well, and you can put that saved money towards another feature of the party.
We were lucky enough to have a small backyard with a grill, so we had a BBQ with burgers and hot dogs, and asked guests to bring a side of their choice if they wanted.
*Optional: Perhaps consider organizing a “who’s bringing what” email, or add a poll to the FB invite to let guests share what they’re bringing, so you don’t end up with 20 pasta salads.
First thing that comes to my mind when planning a party, beer. If trying to stay on the cheap, you can make this a BYOB shindig. Be sure to provide other options though, like water (I hate bottled water, so the kitchen sink or Brita was a free for all,) soda, or a fun punch!
Dad-to-be was assigned the task of beer, and he put in a keg order the week before the party for a day of pick-up. We also had a couple coolers full of ice for anyone who wanted to BYOB and sodas. I made a pineapple lemonade punch (get the recipe here) which was mostly slurped up by me.
Don’t forget cups and a sharpie so guests can write their names and re-use. Even more better, let guests bring their own cup to cut back on waste!
I love baking, so it was a no brainer that a cake, cupcakes, and cookies were going to be featured as dessert at our party. This is your party, so do what you want to do! Pies, cake pops, marshmallows, fruit kabobs, cheesecake, donuts, strudel, pastries, flan, candy, chocolate fondue, I CAN GO ON.
Did you want to do a gender reveal by cake? There are so many fun ways to decorate the inside of a cake to reveal the surprise announcement of girl or boy or twins, just take a gander at Pinterest for inspiration if you need it.
For my dessert table, I made a rainbow layer cake, drip iced it (it was my first attempt and I eyeballed it- didn’t read any how-tos) and decorated it with everything I was craving during pregnancy; donuts and oreos. Also on the dessert table spread were my Paint Splattered Oreos (<–click for recipe), and cupcakes topped with mini powdered donuts that I painted with edible spray paint.
If you are having an outdoor party, some games that come to my mind are ladderball, beer pong, cards, and cornhole. Now thinking about baby shower games, some typical ones include Guess the Poo (melted candy in a diaper— gross,) Guess the Bump Measurements, Don’t Say Baby, etc etc. Depending on the crowd, these may not be fun. You really don’t even need to play baby games— I can’t stress this enough, it’s YOUR party, do what you want to do!
I love games, and I like to give away prizes, so we had a few baby related games for guests to take part in if they wanted.
As it was a co-ed party, we did a Was it Mom or Dad guessing game, where guests had a list of 20 odd baby facts about us and had to guess if it was me, him, or both. Example- Was over 10 lbs at birth / Rode home in a pinto after being born. In the event of a tie, the tie breaker had to guess my birth weight. The winner received a 6 pack of craft beer and some fun international candy.
Another fun game that didn’t eat up too much time was Pin the Sperm on the Uterus. I drew a big uterus on some bulletin paper, and had crafted a bunch of little 1 inch sperms. Guests wrote their name on a sperm and taped it up anywhere on the uterus or surrounding wall area. I had also crafted an “egg”, and to determine the winner, I blindfolded myself and taped the egg on to the uterus. Whoever’s sperm it was taped on, or was closest to, was the winner, whom also won a six pack of craft beer and some cool international candy.
We had a Guess the Baby’s Sex game, as no one, except me and my grandma, knew the gender at the time. I had crafted 9 clues based off old wives tales to lean guests either toward Girl or Boy. I used a tri-fold-board, putting the clues in the center, and guests wrote their name on a post it and placed it on the left for girl, right for boy. After the gender reveal, I took the post-it notes from the correct guessers, plopped them in a hat, and drew the winner. They won a pink bottle of wine and a cute Hello Kitty pez dispenser.
We also had a card game set up in the living room for anyone who wanted to get away from the outdoor shenanigans called “Babies Against Parenting” which is a mock of Cards Against Humanity. You can download and print the whole set for free here.
In place of games, or in addition to, you could have some fun activities that guests can partake in if they want. For instance, if kids are coming, maybe have some bubbles, or sidewalk chalk, or a drawing station for them so they don’t get bored. Some standard baby shower activities include writing well wishes for the mom-to-be, signing a guest book, etc. We didn’t go that route for our party, and instead opted for some fun artsy activities as well as a gender reveal.
I have a lot of creative friends, and knew that the nursery was going to have an art theme, so I put my guests “to work” creating miniature masterpieces to be featured in the baby’s first gallery. 😉 I had a station set up in the garage with miniature blank canvases and miniature easels, all acquired by bulk sale. I also laid out a handful of paintbrushes, some cups of water, paper towels, a box full of paints, a few palettes, glue and construction paper, and told everyone to create to their hearts content while supplies lasted. A majority of these supplies were things I already had on hand so it didn’t cost much more than the bulk canvas purchase!
We had a makeshift photobooth where guests could take a selfie with some of our favorite TV/movie moms and dads. I crafted the backdrop courtesy of a great pinterest find, and used 3 different tablecloths purchased from a dollar store! Check out this quick tutorial, via Rain on a Tin Roof, for how to achieve the simple backdrop. I printed out life-size faces of known moms & dads (like Marge and Homer Simpson, Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil, Morticia Addams, Darth Vader, etc,) and taped them onto pencils to act as handles. I encouraged guests to take selfies with their phones, and I also took pics with my camera as I had it on me for most of the party.
The highlight of the party (for me anyway) was the gender reveal. I had been working on a small mural for the nursery, and left the middle area blank for the dad-to-be to take part in completing. I had taken the label off the spray paint can so no one else knew what color would come out. We gathered the crowd and after some build-up, he finally sprayed the pink paint onto the center of the canvas. It was a fun reveal that had an incredible personal touch to it.
You can open gifts or save them and open them up after the party. A lot of guests wanted us to open stuff, so we had fun with it. We received 2 copies of Go the Fuck to Sleep and dad-to-be read it to everyone in the room. A very touching moment. A couple volunteer friends made a handy list of all the gifts and who they were from so we could send out Thank You cards to everyone. They also towed all the gifts up to the nursery and secretly set them up for us which was a nice surprise after a long day!
If you have a theme going on, this is where it will shine. Balloons, streamers, banners, pom-pom balls, table covers, napkins, etc. These party basics can all be acquired at a dollar store. (I decorated the living room, garage, and backyard all for under $10.)
Party stores can fully equip your specific theme too. They’ll have just about everything you need, including helium tanks, for a one stop shop. If you don’t have a theme in mind, a stroll up and down the aisles could get you inspired.
Consider a simple take home for your guests. Candy is hands down the simplest and one of the best favors in my opinion. A couple bags of mini Hershey bars should cover the standard size rager guest list. You could sharpie out the “s” and “y” in the Hershey to make it say “He/she/” instead if you are doing a gender reveal!
I did that, as well as made a few dozen mason jars of Cherry Pie Moonshine for guests to take (though some were cracked up during the festivities.) It was fun going to the liquor store and buying 2 bottles of Everclear whilst heavily pregnant. Not awkward at all. (Get the recipe here.)
I also made a Spotify playlist, designed an album cover featuring a very metal looking baby from one of my sonograms, generated a QR code, wrote a fake album review, and printed them all together on a handy little take home card for guests to scan and enjoy. I don’t think anyone did, but it was still a lot of fun for me.
Now that all the fun stuff is figured out, it’s time to square down all the essentials you’ll need to make the party function. Knowing the size of the guest list, do you have enough seating or space on a lawn for people to be comfortable? Do you have enough tables or surface space for guests to set up their potluck dishes, eat, or partake in activities? We didn’t, so we borrowed folding tables and chairs from family and friends. You could also rent these if it comes down to that, or ask guests to bring a chair! Tailgate style.
Do you have coolers? If not, maybe you can borrow from someone. Have a couple, and fill them with ice. Ice is important. Don’t forget ice. When a guest texts you 2 hours after the party starts and asks “On my way, do you need anything?” “Yes, ice please” is the correct answer.
Cups, plates, utensils, and napkins. That pretty much covers it. And these things can be purchased at a dollar store, unless you want to avoid disposable products and just raid your kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Don’t forget to have a recyclable waste bin, and garbage bags set up somewhere so guests can throw out their stuff when done.
But wait there’s more. Music. It should go without saying, but for the love of science, have music playing. A party with no music is so freaking mind-blowingly boring.
I hope this information has been helpful in getting you started on planning your own baby shower. And I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments if you had a theme, fun game, or unique favor!
Mix all the ingredients together into a punch bowl, stirring well. Add ice, and garnish with lemon slices if desired.
Mix all the ingredients together into a punch bowl, stirring well. Add ice, and garnish with lemon slices if desired.