How to Throw a Very Chill Baby Shower

Monday, August 13, 2018

My childhood best friend, Christina, is due with her first child in November. She lives in Tennessee, & though her local friends are planning to throw her a shower closer to her due date, her mom & hometown friends & I wanted to be sure she got an Ohio shower. I was honored to be asked to co-host it with her friend Jen (who you see above in pink).

1. Ask the mom-to-be what she wants.

This is key, obviously. If the mom-to-be doesn't want a very chill baby shower, you may have to step it up & plan something more dramatic. In our case, though, Christina specifically requested something very low-key. In fact, she compared the baby shower she envisioned to the bridal shower my aunt had thrown for me a few months earlier - a few friends & family members enjoying one another's company with some light food & desserts. Nothing over the top.

2. Find a low-key place that'll do all the catering.

Instead of having to Pinterest our way through a picture-perfect menu, I booked The Mustard Seed Market in Fairlawn, OH, a high-end market & cafe with a private room that we rented out for the morning. It didn't even have a rental fee; we just had to commit to spend $300, which was easy to do with a headcount of 15. It came out to about $20 a person, which is a pretty normal - & perhaps even nominal - amount for a catered event. We picked out a delicious brunch menu, & everything was ready & waiting for us when we arrived the day of the shower.

3. Buy your decor from Target's Dollar Spot.

I was worried this would seem tacky, if only because everyone shops at Target, & I, for one, know what's being sold in the Dollar Spot at any given time. I didn't want people to look around & think, "Wow, Kate went low-budge." At the same time, it seemed ridiculous to count out perfectly good decor just because it was affordable! I picked out colorful pinwheels, a string of lanterns, pink chalkboards, the "YAY" balloon you see in that top photo, &... not much else, to be honest. My mom made diaper cakes as a gift to Christina, & we stuck pinwheels in them to use them as decor, too.

4. Decide on a few cute activities - not cheesy games.

Christina was really clear on the fact that she didn't want any of the baby shower games that so often embarrass moms-to-be & their guests. You know the kind: guessing the width of the mom's belly, tasting baby food out of diapers, etc. Instead, I chose the following activities:

  • Bring a Book for Baby: The invitations asked each attendee to bring at least one book to help build the baby's library. As Christina opened her gifts, these books made for fun conversation points - & plenty of nostalgia.
  • Design-Your-Own Onesie Station: I bought a few packs of plain white onesies in various sizes, plus two packs of colored Sharpies, & throughout the event, guests drew on them at their leisure. Christina left with 15 colorful, personalized onesies that are perfect for one-time use & photos to send to the loved ones who created them. 
  • "Advice Art" Station: From Michael's, I bought a picture frame that contained 30 blank, white hearts & one pink heart, all displayed through the glass. (They're meant to be alternatives to a wedding guestbook!) I provided fine-tip Sharpies for guests to write notes to baby on the white hearts, then arranged them in the frame to create a custom piece of art for the nursery.
  • Secret Letters of Support for Mama: I've never had a baby, but I know being a new mom is difficult. And exhausting. And sometimes even lonely. I secretly asked each guest to write a letter to Christina, & I'll mail her one a month after the baby is born to remind her that she's loved & supported by her friends & family. 

5. Keep the shower gifts simple.

Jen offered to create shower gifts for all attendee: homemade bath fizzies. They were so cute & smelled so good, & they're something attendees can actually use & enjoy. She included little notes on them that said something like "From Christina's shower to your bath!" & set them on the place settings of every attendee.

6. Don't get too crazy with the cake. 

Sure, we could've gone overboard with some massive cake creation, the kind you see on Pinterest & in Instagram posts that have thousands of likes, but... why? Instead, Jen's aunt made the cake as a gift to Christina, & it was both simple & delicious. It wasn't multiple tiers high or covered in fondant, but it was custom-made & one of the best-tasting cakes I've ever eaten - which is saying a lot, given that I once worked at a bakery!

7. Buy flowers from Costco.

The day before the shower, I stopped by Costco & picked out three matching bouquets of purple & magenta flowers for $10 apiece, instead of pre-ordering expensive florist bouquets. They didn't really match our otherwise brightly colored decor, but because I had kept the decor itself fairly minimal, the flowers didn't look out of place or mismatched. I coordinated them a bit by sticking colorful pinwheels in the center of each bouquet, which we gave out to attendees at the end of the event.

8. Just add mimosas. 

We weren't originally planning to serve alcohol at the shower, but as my mom & I were setting up, we wanted mimosas ourselves... & my mom decided that, given the price of ordering individual mimosas from the cafe's bar area, she'd just buy carafes or orange juice & bottles of champagne from the market, which we could serve to all attendees. It turned out to be the perfect last-minute addition to the day, & those who didn't want booze had the option of coffee, juice, & a variety of teas instead. 

9. Focus on celebrating the mom-to-be - not throwing a perfect party.

This was my first time hosting an event like this, so yes, I was pretty anxious - & very sweaty, as is my standard. As soon as everyone arrived, though, I was able to calm down a bit, recognizing that the day wasn't really about whether everything went smoothly & looked perfect. The day was about celebrating Christina, making sure she felt loved, & just allowing her to enjoy some quality time with some of her favorite people. When I reminded myself of this, I was able to calm down a lot, morphing from a would-be hostzilla into a chill BFF hostess.

Overall, it was - if I may say so myself - such a lovely day. Christina is a bit of an introvert, & this was exactly the sort of event that suited her, not some crazy, over-the-top, Pinterest-heavy masterpiece. I was honored to be able to host this day for her - & I can't wait to meet Baby C this fall!

Have you ever hosted a baby shower? What was your baby shower like? Are you more of a low-key kinda gal or a Pinterest-it-up type? 

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