I have only been to a couple baby showers but that did not keep me from asking my lovely friend Alysa if I could throw her one. I spent a lot of time researching online and in the end decided to keep it simple, relaxed and not worry too much about meeting any preconceived expectations.
1. Use Paperless Post for Online Invitations and RSVP Tracking
You might be tempted to handcraft pretty paper invites, but honestly, people want to rsvp quick and easy and see who else is coming. If you haven’t heard of Paperless Post (I wrote about it here) it is a relatively new site that merges the functionality of an evite with the look and style of a mailed invite.
2. Make Some Food, Buy Some Food
Once the rsvps started rolling in, I tried to nail down a menu. With 22 adults and a few small children confirmed I decided to focus my cooking efforts on a few simple dishes. By concentrating on items I was familiar with I saved myself a lot of stress and was able to order great cheese platters (which included olives, nuts and crackers) and gourmet cupcakes from an awesome new local business, Eastern District.
In the end I prepared 3 quiches with homemade crusts (2 with spinach and gruyere and 1 with chives and sharp cheddar), a curried barley chickpea salad with tomatoes and cilantro, a big fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries and pineapple and fudgey brownies with chocolate chunks.
3. Skip the Theme
When brainstorming ideas for the shower I looked through a lot of theme ideas ranging from French Countryside to Pretty in Pink. I think a theme could be fun but ultimately it felt more modern and organic to me to not have one.
4. Use Flowers for Decorations
I flirted with the ideas of making paper flowers and hanging pink streamers around my apartment. I considered contacting the mom and dad to-be’s parents and getting baby pictures to blow up and use as decor. Then a few simple primroses at Whole Foods caught my eye and for 6 bucks I got pretty table decor and a few new plants.
5. Focus on One Alcoholic Drink
What to drink, What to drink. I spent a lot of time on this one before the answer literally presented itself to me on a trip to the The Meat Hook, a butcher and kitchen supply store that features a ton of local food products. There I picked up a bottle of blackberry meyer lemon syrup which was a perfect punch when mixed with prosecco and club soda.
Later I realized that simple really was important as I found myself frequently running to the kitchen to make another batch of this light Summer inspired yumminess. I also purchased red and white wine and a variety of sparkly non-alcoholic sodas. The wine was left untouched so my advice is skip it altogether.
6. One Game, Not Embarrassing
To game or not to game. This is another topic I spent a lot of time pondering and asking people for suggestions. The one request from the guest of honor was no games involving chocolate and diapers. I have never seen said game in action but no, I was not going to make anyone identify melted chocolate bars in diapers, yuck! Instead I went with something close to my own heart, trivia. I googled baby trivia quiz and then went through and cut and pasted the best ones. I purposefully chose questions that were difficult to answer but fun to think about and hopefully hinted at the crazy/amazing thing that pregnancy and birth is.
My husband later gave me the excellent suggestion of doing the quiz “pub style” which really made the game. Split up into teams of 4 or 5 and give one person paper/pen, then read off each question giving the teams 30 seconds or so to decide on an answer and write it down. Once all of the questions have been read, have teams swap answers and check each others work while you reveal the answers.
7. Skip the Favors
People come to a Shower to celebrate with friends and really don’t care about taking home a favor. Spend your money instead on a few cool prizes for the game winners. In my case I bought 4 Mast Brothers Chocolate bars. The packaging is so pretty you don’t even have to wrap them.
8. Tell Your Inner Martha to Shut Up (Use Paper Plates)
If you have 22 plates and a dishwasher then sure, real plates are awesome, but if you live in Brooklyn like me, it’s ok to use paper and plastic every now and again!
9. Keep Things Moving
Once people have eaten and mingled for a bit, let them know the plan for the afternoon. In my case it was eat and chat, baby trivia, dessert and then opening gifts. Without sticking to any exact schedule giving people casual updates about what was coming next helped keep the flow going while still letting the afternoon unfold naturally.
10. Let People Help
Planning a party takes a lot of time but sometimes it is hard to know how to let people help you. By figuring out small things to delegate I felt like everything was much more manageable and freed me up to watch out for the big picture. One friend bought a killer vegetable platter and another came early to help set up the apartment and prep the food. Thank you again Kara and Ashrita!
Photos by Sarah Niersbach