How to Plan a Baby Shower: Make Your Experience Special

baby shower

Once you found out that your loved one is expecting a baby, you probably jumped on the opportunity to plan their baby shower. But, though fun and exciting, figuring out how to plan a baby shower can be tricky! There are so many themes and ideas out there, especially on Pinterest.

It can be overwhelming and downright challenging to try and control it all. When you're deciding how to plan a baby shower, remember that you don't have to do it alone! Having someone, or multiple people, help you can take a tremendous weight off of your shoulders.

When you're planning a baby shower, the first thing to need to figure out is what the theme should be.

How to Plan a Baby Shower: Choose a Theme

The first step to figuring out how to plan a baby shower is choosing a theme. The theme will help guide you through all of the other aspects of planning a baby shower, like the budget, location, and decorations.

There are so many baby shower themes out there nowadays that it can be overwhelming trying to choose one. Of course, you can opt for a traditional blue or pink theme, depending on the baby's gender. However, a new baby is special and unique, so why not do the same for the theme?

Besides, many people only choose to have one baby shower, even if they end up having more children in the future. It should be fun and unique, catering to the mom-to-be's personality!

Here are some of our favorite baby shower themes to get you started when you're deciding how to plan a baby shower. We have options for baby boys, baby girls, and gender-neutral ones.

Little pumpkin

This is an adorable theme idea for a shower during the autumn months and can be used for either gender, even if it is still a surprise.

It's relatively simple to incorporate a Little Pumpkin theme. It can easily be made rustic or fun, depending on the pregnant mama's personality.

Check out the video below:

Bohemian animals

Nursery animals are a traditional theme option for baby showers. Again, the theme works well for either gender, as well as gender-neutral, which makes it more popular than gender-specific themes.

To add a modern twist to the classic animal theme, you can add a bohemian twist. Wild animals and wooden decor with lots of greenery go exceptionally well together. Your baby shower will look like it's straight from an Instagram or Pinterest picture!


A nautical theme can technically work with either gender, but it is most popular among baby showers for boys.

You can play up the theme with blue and white decorations, along with pops of red throughout. Anchors, sailor hats, and ship wheels make for an aesthetically pleasing shower.


Depending on the gender, a little prince or little princess theme is perfect for any baby shower. This will only work if the gender is already known, of course. If the mom-to-be is expecting twins of each gender, then you can make it a prince and princess theme!

You can pair crowns and royal decorations with light blue or light pink decorations throughout the entire venue.

Brunch or tea party

If the expecting mama loves bunch, then a brunch theme is an excellent option to go for with the baby shower. You can serve breakfast food, donuts, and mimosas or mocktails.

Or, you can throw a tea party as a baby shower! You can have a variety of teas for everyone to sample throughout the shower as they watch the guest of honor open gifts, along with finger sandwiches.

What's Your Budget?

Once you have a theme chosen, the next step in how to plan a baby shower is to determine your budget.

You can't have a set budget until you figure out your guest list. At the very least, have the mom-to-be give you a close estimate of how many people will be invited before picking a budget.

The budget, along with the theme, will guide your choice of a venue, food, and decorations. For example, if you have a large budget with a small guest list, then you can splurge on a venue and decorations. If you have a low budget with a hefty guest list, then you'll need to figure out some budget-friendly options.

Choosing the Right Venue

Now that you have a theme in mind and your budget planned out, you're ready to figure out the location of the shower. This is a crucial step when figuring out how to plan a baby shower.

The number one thing to consider when choosing a venue is what the mom-to-be would want. You can always outright ask her what she wants, but if you want it to be a complete surprise, then you'll have to put some thought into it.

For instance, if your guest-of-honor is more introverted, then she probably would prefer a more intimate shower at someone's home. People who don't like to be in the spotlight most likely won't be a fan of having their baby shower in a public setting, such as a restaurant.

If that's not the case, you may consider her favorite restaurant. Or consider her hobbies. You could have a joint baby shower with a paint night if she loves art, or a spa night if she is having a rough pregnancy and could use some extra relaxation.

No matter what you choose, your budget, weather, and guest list will have to come into consideration. If the shower will be on a day where there's most likely going to be beautiful weather outside, you could always choose a park or beach for the location.

However, if you choose an outdoor venue, make sure to have a backup plan in case of rain or other unexpected weather circumstances that could pop up.

What's on the Menu?

Choosing food and refreshments can be one of the most fun parts when figuring out how to plan a baby shower. It's best to stick with simple finger foods. And you can't forget the dessert table!

When you're figuring out the menu for the baby shower, you don't have to make it elaborate. You can make it easier on yourself and have everyone bring a dish to share. If the shower is at a restaurant, that makes it even easier.

It's also a good idea to ask guests to tell you about any dietary needs they have ahead of time, especially if you'll have limited food options.

Here are some of our favorite recipes for baby shower food options!

Slow cooker cocktail meatballs

Using just three ingredients and a slow cooker, these meatballs are one of the most simple but tasty options that you can make for the shower. They'll be a crowd-pleaser, and it's easy to make a large batch for an extensive guest list.

Mini cheeseburgers

Small finger foods are always a hit at baby showers. They're quick and easy to eat, especially while you're chatting, playing games, and watching the mom-to-be open gifts.

Mini cheeseburger sliders can be great for a nautical or all-American theme. They can also be an excellent choice for coed baby showers or diaper bashes!

Mini pigs-in-a-blanket

Mini pigs-in-a-blanket are the perfect choice for a food option at a baby shower. They work exceptionally well with a storybook theme, as they can play off of The Three Little Pigs!

They're quick and straightforward to make, and also yield a decent serving size.

10-minute crab dip

Crab dip is an excellent food option for a nautical or sea theme. It can work well with any theme, though! Crab dip is a huge crowd-pleaser.

Chicken and waffle sliders

Chicken & waffle sliders are the perfect combination of finger food and comfort food. These are an ideal option if you have a brunch-themed baby shower. But, let's be honest, everyone will love them no matter what the theme is!

Cheesecake-stuffed strawberries

I know you've all been waiting for some dessert options. Cheesecake-stuffed strawberries aren't something you see every day, but they're delicious and are sure to be a hit.

Cookie pops

These are a fun twist to the traditional cake pops that we all know and love. Cookie pops are perfect for dunking in milk, and they're a fun pop of color to the dessert table!

Gender-Specific or Gender-Neutral?

An essential aspect when deciding how to plan a baby shower is to determine whether or not gender will play a role.

If the expecting parents are waiting to find out the gender of their expecting little one, then the choice is a no-brainer. You have to stick with a gender-neutral theme.

If the gender is already known, and they aren't keeping it a surprise to everyone else, then you may have the option of tailoring the baby shower toward the baby's gender.

However, you should check with the mom-to-be first. Some won't want the focus on the gender of the baby, but rather have it be a celebration of the baby in general.

Set an Agenda

A crucial step in how to plan a baby shower is making sure you set an agenda. You should figure out what the timeline will be for the shower, to ensure that everything flows well and that all of the guests are entertained.

Generally, a baby shower will consist of mingling, eating and drinking, gift opening, and possibly playing baby shower games. You'll want to organize all of these activities to create a flow that keeps everyone engaged, especially the mom-to-be.

A general guideline to follow is to give guests about 15 to 20 minutes to get there, as some people may run late. As they come in, try to make sure that everyone is greeted and offered a drink. This way, they'll feel welcome and put in a good mood from the start.

Once everyone is there, it can be fun to start an activity, whether that's a game or taking pictures at a DIY-photo booth.

Check out the video below:

After the fun activities are out of the way, everyone will probably be hungry. One option is to start serving food as the mom opens her gifts. That way, everyone will have something to do while watching. This can be especially helpful if there are young kids at the shower.

Afterward, you can serve dessert and coffee and let everyone mingle before they start leaving.

Baby shower games

Baby shower games aren't necessary at a baby shower, but they're a fun way to keep guests engaged and entertained. When deciding how to plan a baby shower, you need to decide whether or not you want any.

If you have a baby shower game, you should offer a prize to the winners. It's entirely up to you what these prizes are, and they can be as small or as big as you'd like.

Here are some of our favorite baby shower games and activities!

Baby prediction and advice cards

A lot of people get caught up in the material items that come along with a baby shower, but one of the most important aspects should be helping the first-time mom figure out motherhood.

A fun way to do this is to make it an activity at the baby shower. You can print out "baby advice" cards that have a cute design matching the shower theme. Anyone who's a mom can fill it out to offer some advice to the new mama.

Along with advice, everyone can write down their predictions for various things that you won't find out the answer to until the new baby arrives.

You can include anything you want on the cards, but here are some examples to include in your template:

  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Weight
  • Length
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • I imagine the baby being...
  • Will the baby resemble mom or dad more?
  • I hope the baby gets mom's __________.
  • I hope the baby gets dad's __________.
  • Advice for the new parents...

Cupcake decorating contest

This is something that gives everyone something fun to do while testing their decorating skills, but can also double as part of dessert or a party favor.

A fun twist to this can be to offer small prizes for various categories, such as "girliest," "best-looking," or "most unique" cupcake. The grand prize will go to the person who got a cupcake with a baby figurine inside! This is similar to the famous king cake tradition that is celebrated with Mardi Gras.

Baby food taste test

This game will help everyone discover the joys -- and horrors -- of baby food! Choose 7 to 10 unique baby food flavors, remove the labels, and number each one. Have everyone taste all of the options and write down what flavor they think it is.

The winner will be whoever gets the most right.

My water broke!

Finally, we have the classic game of My water broke! With this, you give everyone an ice cube that has a baby figurine frozen inside to put in their drink. Whoever's ice cube is completely melted first has to yell "MY WATER BROKE!"

That person wins a prize.

Special Situations

There are various situations of a new child becoming a part of someone's family that deviate from what's considered the norm. It can be challenging to figure out how to plan a baby shower when these situations are present.

Additionally, more and more people are having non-traditional baby showers, including the father-to-be and having coed options.

Here are various situations where you may need to know how to plan a baby shower differently, and some advice on how to do so.

Second-time mom

Why should celebrations be limited to the first child? Second (and third, and fourth) additions to the family deserve just as much love!

The issue that people have with this is that once a mom has her first child, she has most things that she needs for another baby. However, this is the reason that baby sprinkles have increased in popularity.

Although parents already have the necessities they need for a new baby, such as a crib, stroller, bouncy chair, and more, there are still items they may need. This could include gender-specific clothing if they're having the opposite gender as the first time around, diapers, nursery decor, and anything that their first child is still using (like a car seat).

A baby sprinkle can help give second-time parents the small extras that they need. But how do you plan one?

A baby sprinkle is much more casual than a traditional baby shower. Not everyone needs to be invited; it's generally for the parents' closest friends and relatives.

Additionally, you shouldn't assume that everyone who you're inviting knows what a baby sprinkle is. Explain it on the invitation, possibly including some gift ideas if there isn't a registry.

There are multiple themes out there that play on the word "sprinkle," such as Sprinkled With Love or Donut Sprinkle.

Adopted child

Parents who are adopting a child deserve to have their new addition celebrated just as much as ones who conceived naturally.

Although it's a different set of circumstances, most of the rules for how to plan a baby shower will stay the same. However, the timing and type of celebration may have to be slightly adjusted. The good thing is that you're more likely to know the new child's gender and size, which makes gifts much easier!

You can host the shower just as you would for any other expecting parents. This is even easier if they're adopting a baby, but if not, planning aspects remain the same. You just may go with different themes and gifts.

Office baby shower

If your coworker is expecting, it can be challenging to know how to plan a baby shower for her, or if you should even plan one at all.

Planning a baby shower for a coworker can be an excellent team bonding activity, but the etiquette is usually much different than with a traditional baby shower. It should be tasteful and straightforward and will have to be planned around everyone's schedules.

For this reason, it may be best to plan it during lunchtime or directly after office hours. It's also important to get management approval if it's going to be in the office, rather than a restaurant.

The first step to planning an office baby shower is to make sure you're not the only one planning it. Get one or two coworkers to help you with it, so that you can divide up tasks. You should also check with the expecting mom's supervisor to make sure that she will be available during the planned time of the shower.

Generally, a baby shower for a coworker only needs to be an hour or less. For food, you can have everyone bring a dish or have everyone contribute money to purchase light refreshments and a cake.

If you work in a large corporation, you only need to invite the guest-of-honor's department, as well as any close friends that she has that work in other departments.

For an office baby shower, games aren't necessary, and you only need simple decorations. Don't worry about choosing a theme, although you can if you wish to.

Coed baby shower

More and more people are choosing to involve the father-to-be in the baby shower, and for a good reason! The father is just as much a parent to the baby as the mom is. Just because he isn't carrying the baby doesn't mean he needs to be excluded from the shower.

If you're taking this route, make sure to make it known on the invitation that it's coed. You can do this by including both names on the invitation, rather than just the mom's.

If you want the baby shower to focus on the mom, but want the dad to have a celebration as well, there are options for that, too. Many people have showers specifically for the dad now.

These are usually a diaper party or diaper bash. Some people also call them a diaper and wipes party. You can make it a celebration with beer and barbecue, and have guests bring -- you guessed it -- diapers and wipes as a gift to congratulate the soon-to-be father.

Overall Checklist

To make things effortless for you when figuring out how to plan a baby shower, here is an overall checklist for planning the shower, organized by when they should be completed.

9 to 10 weeks before

  • Is anyone else helping you host?
  • Set budget
  • Choose venue
  • Pick date
  • Finalize guest list

Six weeks before

  • Choose theme
  • Send invitations
  • Shop for decorations, disposable tableware, favors
  • Plan menu

Month before

  • Get additional help (caterers, photographer, etc.)
  • Order cake, flowers, rental items
  • Set up thank-you cards for mom-to-be
  • Prepare games

Week before

  • Follow-up on missed RSVPs
  • Put together favors and game prizes
  • How will the gifts get home?
  • Assign photographer (if one wasn't hired)
  • Clean home, if that's the venue
  • Shop and cook, if necessary

Three days before

  • Finish grocery shopping

Day before

  • Final cleaning sweep
  • Set up venue (tables and chairs, food table, gift table, trash bags for opening gifts)

Day of

  • Pick up cake, balloons, flowers
  • Choose someone to help with opening presents

Making the Most out of a Baby Shower

Now that you've gotten the beginning steps of figuring out how to plan a baby shower down, it's time to get down to business and start planning it!

The most important piece of advice that I can give you is to make sure you keep the mom-to-be into consideration. The shower is all about her and her baby, not you. So, you need to make everything fit her personality rather than yours. As long as you do that, the baby shower should be an overall success.

Do you have any advice on how to plan a baby shower that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Provided by Unsplash

Older Post Newer Post