Baby Shower Planning – Getting Your Timeline on Track

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Ever heard that it’s all about timing?  It’s especially true when speaking of a baby shower planning timeline.  This event is a right of passage. The shower is a portion of the whole pregnancy and childbirth experience, which places no small burden on the shoulders of the host. 

Guest List: 6-8 Weeks Before the Shower

Once you know you are the host, or co-host of the shower the first thing you’ll need is the guest list. 

Why start there? Because knowing who is coming, in addition to whether mom wants her shower before or after baby arrives lets you know when you need to start planning.

Large guest lists mean more time is required if you want to have everything accomplished in time. More people demands more food, more prep, more chairs and more time in general.  Small showers with few attendees do not need as much time to pull off well, as they tend to be less fussy and more intimate.

Pick the Theme: 6-8 Weeks Before the Shower

When you know who is coming, the theme can be selected. Intricate themes will need more time and money.  Large guest lists can be self limiting as the theme just costs too much to adequately incorporate with the added seats and dollar amount. 

Picking the theme very early dictates much else.  The theme should be present on the invitation as well as the colors and center pieces on the tables.  Knowing the theme nice and early allows the hosts to be on the lookout for bargains and must have knick-knacks in the weeks leading up to the party.

Set the Date

The date needs to be close to, but not crowding mom’s due date.  As far as the midwife and OB is concerned mom is considered to be ‘full term’ at 37 weeks gestation. 

Knowing this can help you set a baby shower date that does not run the risk of being bumped by baby. To be really safe pick a party date at least 4 weeks prior to the due date. 

Games: 3 Weeks Before the Shower

Games are not a last minute item. Leaving everything to the last minute will grantee a crazy host who can’t enjoy the party.  Getting the games ready early is easy, and can get one whole item off your list with a minimum of fuss and anxiety.

When getting the games ready early remember that the favors and prizes.

Invitations in the Mail: 2 1/2 Weeks Before the Shower

The invitations can be created and addressed anytime after the guest list and dates are finalized.  It is a great idea to get the invitation itself ready, including the stamp, but don’t mail it out too soon. 

To get the party on your guest’s calendars the invitations need to be in the mail no later than two weeks before the shower.  Because the optimum time for invitation extension is 2 weeks before the party, it is best to allow for a few days in the mail.  Doing so will ensure that the invitation is actually in the guest’s hands for a full 14 days before the party.

The baby shower planning timeline starts right from the day you become host.  Getting the items above completed early on paves the way, allowing you to have a life beyond baby shower planning in the last weeks before the event. 

Baby Shower Planning Part 2

The baby shower planning timeline for the last 2 weeks before party time is a bit busier, but staying on track will mean a calm moment to sit during the festivities and knowing that you are prepared before the first guest knocks on the door.

Décor: 2 Weeks Before the Shower

Setting up for the party can’t happen until the few days prior to the party itself, but having all the table clothes, signs, center pieces and everything else right down to the perfectly pink or blue napkins, plates, cups and utensils on site and ready to deploy 2 weeks before the party is just good planning.

Getting them ready early will allow you time to notice any missing items.

Food Prep: 5 Days Before the Shower

When selecting the menu don’t be tempted to let the taste buds do too much of the planning.  A menu that is simple, but filled with unproven recipes that need to be tossed together at the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Set a menu of proven dishes which can be made ahead.  If other co-hosts will be helping with the meal keep the ease of transporting foods in mind when selecting the meal plan.

Purchase the needed foods no later than 5 days ahead of time.  Start cooking the make-ahead items on this same timeframe.  You can get many items ready as much as 2 weeks ahead of time if it is a menu item that can be frozen. 

Cleaning and Set up: 24 Hours Before the Shower

Cleaning needs to start one week before, and be maintained until the party is over.

Setting up the chairs and getting the decorations laid out can happen early, when the host’s home is available. If the hostess has a house full of young kids setting up the day before is asking for trouble. Getting as much of the set up done as possible in the 24 hours prior to go time is best.

Last Minute Items

While a center piece and napkins will spend the night happily on the table, ice and food will not.  Food items should be readied on the day of the party, but kept cold or hot until needed. To this end prepare cold dishes first, because the time in the fridge will not dry them out or over cook them.  Hot items should be cooked during the last hour before the party and kept warm until meal time. 

To throw a great party without going crazy, stick to a detailed baby shower planning timeline. It will keep your efforts focused and on track.