7 Tips for Planning a Baby Shower

Planning a baby shower can almost feel like planning a wedding. So to help you break down your massive to-do list into more manageable tidbits, we spoke to Martha Stewart Weddings editorial director Darcy Miller, whose book Celebrate Everything! Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life is filled with smart party-planning suggestions. Here are the steps she says to follow when throwing a baby shower any mom-to-be and her friends will love.

Tie it all up. One of the first decisions the hostess should make is what the baby shower theme will be, according to Miller. “Picking a theme makes it easy to tie all the details together,” she says. You can look to a favorite children’s book (like Goodnight Moon or The Velveteen Rabbit), acute, baby-inspired animal (owls, monkeys, and storks are all fair game), or a favorite part of the pregnant mom's world (Paris-themed for an all-things-French lover, for example). “It can be made up of little personal details that together make an impact,” explains Miller.

Get your game on. While your guests will be busy chatting, eating and watching the belle of the ball open her adorable gifts, you should also plan some fun games for them to play. You can decide on just one big activity, like having everyone decorate plain white onesies for the new baby or one fabric square of a quilt, or a number of smaller (but equally entertaining) baby shower games. “Games are always a fun way to toast, pass on advice and make guestbooks for the mom-to-be,” shares Miller. They can be as simple as icebreakers ("What's your favorite memory of the mom-to-be?") to game-show-style contests with prizes for the winner ("Name That Celebrity Baby" or "Baby Shower Charades").

Set the stage (and keep it simple). Baby shower decorations can be as basic as a welcome sign, floral centerpieces, and balloons. Darcy recommends focusing on a few core details: something for people to see when they first come in, a pretty buffet table, and a favor displayed in a cute way, for example. “Decor doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking,” she says.

Make their mouths water. Serve up some of the pregnant mom’s favorites, or choose a menu that sticks with the theme or color palette. Some little touches you can incorporate a rainbow-of-fruit display, a pregnancy-safe cheese spread, an ice cream sandwich bar, an all-sweets buffet, and DIY cocktails and mocktails. Remember, “food can always be décor,” Darcy says, “especially when it’s sweet!”

Do your guests a "favor." Baby shower favors aren't a must, but it’s always a nice gesture to give people a token thank you gift as they head out. Darcy suggests going with something that's part of the party itself, like a bud vase with a single bloom from the tables or a pretty gift bag full of candy from the dessert buffet. You can also have DIY favors that your guests work on during the shower, like a sugar cookie they decorated or a little potpourri sachet they made. Another option: Dress up store-bought favors with some creative packaging that's in line with your theme.

Make it personal. Don’t forget that the party is in honor of the mom-to-be, so shower her with a few of her favorite things. Hold it at a spot she loves, whether it's a restaurant she's partial to, her mom's house or the park she frequents. Make sure the eats and drinks include some of her faves. And throw in a few extras she'll get a kick out of her favorite songs playing, flowers she loves on the table, a festive photo booth.

Photo finish. Speaking of photos, they're an easy way to personalize any party, and baby showers are no exception. Go with baby pictures of the mom- and dad-to-be (and even of the future grandparents, aunts and uncles) or cute shots of the guest of honor at various stages of her pregnancy — or all of the above. You can display them in frames on the tables or a mantle; string up copies with baby-size clothespins over the buffet; or include them in other details, like on the invitations.   Photoshoot Gowns   Baby Shower Dresses

No matter how elaborate or simple you go, get help from those close to the mom-to-be (and her input if it's not a surprise). It will all come together beautifully for a baby shower she'll never forget!

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