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If you are not the shower hostess, choose the hostess and point her this way or print all the information for her. The goal is to help the new parents welcome their new baby with friendship and love. Another goal is to do it stress-free, so the hostess get to enjoy this celebration too!

We've all hosted a party at some time that left us worn out and exhausted by the time it arrived, and swearing we'd never take on a project like that again. I've learned to not repeat those mistakes by planning ahead, it puts the fun back into the party for me.

Start by planning, and following the steps in this planner. I'll link to different checklists and suggestions for ways to make your job easier, fun, and affordable. Follow the steps, and you'll end up with a baby shower the new mom will never forget and an event you'll be proud to have hosted.

Setting a Budget for the Baby Shower

A baby shower isn't a contest, it's an act of caring and joy.

Figure out what type of shower you want to have for the new mom, then the budget you have for it. Based on that budget, you can decidewhere you'll be having the shower, the menu, decorations, favors and more.

If you have a smaller group, yourhome or someone else's may be a good option.Hall rental and food are usually the two things that cost the most. Havingthe baby shower at a home saves a lot! You don't want to squeeze a hundred people into a small home just to save money, but ifguests canbe seated comfortably and you have room for food serving a home partytends to provide a more intimate setting.

If you do have a large shower, enlist other friends or family of the mom-to-be to help out. If the cost is prohibitive even with co-hosts, your other option is to prune the guest list. Baby showers, no matter what the size, are fun ways to let the new mom know you care about her and her new arrival.

Once you have an idea of the location and the number of guests, print the following checklists out to use as budget guides. The first checklist is forthe supplies that you'll need for the shower itself, it doesn't include invitations or the cost of the hall if you decide to hold the shower in a restaurant or hall.Use the number of guests tofigure out the cost.

To get an idea of the food costs, use the following menu planner and base the cost of the food on the number of guests.

Total the two lists together, along with the cost of invitations and location rental (if the shower isn't being held at someone's home). This is your working budget.

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Setting the Date of the Shower

The baby shower is usually sometime around four to six weeks before the mother's due date. Some baby showers are held after the baby is born, it's a matter of personal choice.

Try to choose a Saturday or Sunday between four to six weeks before the baby is due to have the shower. Check with out of town guests and “must be there” guest to try to find a date to accomodate them.

If you're having the shower at a restaurant or hall, you'll need to start looking for a location early. The sooner you can settle on a date, the better chance you have at getting the date you want at an outside venue. If you are having the baby shower at someone's home, you are much more flexible but do not wait too long to choose a date. Try to follow the baby shower planning timeline found here :

Create the Baby Shower Guest List

You'll get an idea of how many people will be invited to the baby shower once you create a guest list.This is a must in planning, it determines howeverything from how much space youneed to how much food you'll need to provide.

The best way to create your guest list is to ask the parents-to-be. They have all the addresses and phone numbers you'll need, and you'll be sure to include the friends and family they want to share this celebration with. This is the time to decide if you are having a ladies only or a couples shower.

Print out the Baby Shower Guest List to keep yourself organized. Besides the usual name, address, and phone number you can keep track of RSVPs on the list. Somepeople may need a phone call from you to confirm if they are coming, even the best of us can be forgetful in regards to RSVPs. This will give you the most accurate count.

Choosing the Baby Shower Theme

Baby showers are fun, and the theme is where you can let your creativity shine! You can choose as simple or as elaborate a theme as you like, it's all up to you.

Keep your budget in mind, using creativity and the suggestions in the Baby Shower Themes section to have the shower the mom-to-be will love. Have fun with it!

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Sending Baby Shower Invitations

Eight weeks before the baby shower, you should have the final guest list. When you are shopping for invitations, remember to match your theme and have all the important information included (date, time, directions, etc.) You should send out the invitations about six weeks before the baby shower date.

Refer to your Baby Shower Guest List once the invitations have been sent out to keep track of RSVPs. Once the RSVP date arrives, call any guests who haven't responded to find out if they are able to make it. You need the most accurate count you can get to order supplies and plan for food.

Planning the Baby Shower Menu

The menu planning for a baby shower is very flexible. You can go with appetizers, a buffet, or a full sit down meal depending on the time of day and the type of shower you're having.

If you're having the shower at a restaurant, the restaurant personnel will work with you on creating the menu. Choose what type of meal you'd like (buffet or sit-down meal) and work with them to plan the menu to fit your budget.

If you're hosting the baby shower at someone's home you can either make the food yourself or have the shower catered. Check our Baby Shower Food section to help you get ideas or plan your menu. If you decide to have the event catered, your caterer will give you a menu to choose from. Work with them to create a menu to fit your budget and the type of shower you're having.

You should decide if you will be making the cake or if you'll order it. Use your theme as a guide to design the cake. If you order from a baker, let them know what the theme is (or better yet, take in a plate or napkin with the design on it). If you are making the cake yourself look at a few of the Baby Shower Cake Designs for inspiration and an idea of the supplies you'll need.

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Baby Shower Decorating and Supplies

Once you have your theme set and your guest list, it's time to buy the decorations and supplies. Centerpieces, streamers, balloons….the possibilities are endless!

Depending on where you're having the shower (restaurant or at someone's home) will determine how much you'll need to buy. Check with the restaurant to see what type, if any, decorations are allowed. If the shower is in someone's home, you'll also need plates, cups, napkins and utensils. It's easy to match decorations with a theme with the wide variety of designs available for baby showers.

Baby Shower Games

To guarantee a fun baby shower, include games (and prizes)! From printable games to “get-out-of-your-chair” fames, we have a great selection to choose from.

Some of the games require next to nothing, others need special items so make sure you plan ahead. Assemble everything you'll need to do whichever games you choose and make sure you have enough prizes! Get ideas in our Baby Shower Games section, where you'll find fun games to keep your guests enjoying every minute of the shower!

It's Baby Shower Time!

The big day is finally here and you're going to have a great time! Use these last few tips to stay on track, and most of all….have fun!

Use your Baby Shower Planning Checklist to make sure you are organized and you don't forget a thing.

Once guests start arriving, try to make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. Some may not know anyone else, so introductions are important to break the ice. Offer each guest a drink and if you are providing appetizers this is the time to make them available. Once the guest of honor arrives; present opening, the main food and then the games are next. You can do it in any order, whatever you feel most comfortable with and depending on the time of day (you don't want your guests starving while presents are being opened).

You've worked hard, and the mom-to-be is sure to love her shower! Now go have fun!