Style Tips: Hosting a Baby Shower
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to throw a party. As a child I would cry when people wouldn't do 'what they were supposed to do' at my birthday parties. At 16 I threw a coursed dinner party where I arranged the flowers and prepared the food...obviously I was really cool. Luckily my hosting skills have increased and I no longer cry when people don't do what I expect of them; at least not all the time.
A few weeks ago a shared with you images from a recent shower I threw. Last year at this time I hosted an amazing April Showers themed baby shower for my friend Celeste. Today I wanted to break down how you too can host a stunning and thoughtful shower for all the mama’s to be in your life.
My first step when planning any event is setting a theme. Now when I say theme I don’t mean THEME. I’m not hosting a party for a child so no need to have the theme throw up in every corner of the event. By theme I simply mean a thread that will come up throughout the party in little details. Since this shower was going to take place in April for a baby due in May I could think of no better theme than April Showers Bring May Flowers. This is a nice broad theme that allows creativity to lead you in a variety of directions. Once you have your over arching theme write down some words you associate with that. My words were showers, rain, clouds, sun, flowers, growth. These words then were my clues for decorations.
BE OUR GUEST
Now that I had my theme I began with the invitations. I love using paperless post when sending out invites. They have beautiful templates and the system for messaging guests and receiving rsvps helps me throughout the planning process. This color palette was a great launching point for the rest of the decor.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
Details are the key to having any old party feel like an intimate party for your guests. Hosting a baby shower is extra fun because you can add more adorable details without it seeming too overworked.
From the beginning I wanted to make some kind of cloud detail with rain drops so found the great white fans in different sizes which I hung from the curtain rods like a cloud. I then bought two shades of paper to cut rain drops and ran them through the sewing machine to connect them in a delicate way. I promise if you know how to use a sewing machine that is the fastest way to connect them all.
YOUR PRESENCE IS A PRESENT.
Since this wasn't Celeste's only baby shower and we were inviting just a few close friends we wanted to keep the gift giving to a minimum. On the invite I asked everyone to bring a book to build the baby's library. At the party a metal basket was placed with a quote from Doctor Seuss in the middle of the coffee table.
FLOWERS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER
Using the invitation as my color inspiration I found a few examples of flower arrangements to show a florist and have them make arrangements in ball jars I already owned. I often will buy fresh flowers and do the arrangements myself but lets be honest I have two kids and wasn’t sure I’d have time to make them. When I'm paying for flowers I want to make sure the florist is going to use varieties that will last a long time. These arrangements lasted for almost two weeks!
BE POLITE, THANK YOUR GUESTS
With flowers ordered and rain clouds made the next step was thinking of a favor for guests to take home. Favors are my favorite way to add a special touch to any party. For the shower I wanted to have something living and who doesn’t love a succulent. I put together these little pots with a sign that read “watch me grow”. I placed the favors near the door so guests would easily see them on their way out.
DRINK IT ALL IN
Now in my opinion a party isn’t a party without fun drinks. And a drink doesn’t need alcohol to be fun. Since our party was on a Sunday afternoon I didn’t think too many people would be throwing back a ton of adult beverages so I went simple with the bar. I offered a rosé, a prosecco and then had an elderflower lemonade because nothing says spring like the sweet scent of elderflower. My little detail here was overlooked by many but made my heart sing. Can you spot it?
Expert hosting tip: Finish your set up 20 min before guest arrive so you can sit back and have a drink. Your guests will thank you.
QUIT PLAYING GAMES WITH MY HEART
When people think baby showers they often think games but in general I don’t like organized activities at a party. I find they break up the flow and we are all social adults that shouldn't need games to help us interact with each other. For a special occasion event like a shower I do like to have something for the guest of honor to take home. For this first time mom I created a little advice station for people to write notes to the mama.
Expert tip: Have a sign with instructions so you don't need to explain to each person what the station is for.
A GIRL'S GOT TO EAT
You have to feed your guests but make sure you keep in mind dietary restrictions people may have. Often for a party I do a lovely tray with prosciutto and cheeses; however, since the lady of honor was pregnant and avoiding deli meat I opted instead for some simple cut veggies and delicious watermelon skewers with mint and feta. Simple food items completed the decor, with a variety of beautiful sweet treats for dessert.
Expert Tip: When you aren't offering a large amount of food, place olives, nuts and fruits in bowls throughout the table.
Lay out your platters the day before the party and write the food item that will go on each plate. This will allow you to keep track of what you need to make and decide on the layout ahead of time.
I love to have moments throughout the space that will make for wonderful photo backdrops. I added one of these moments to the mantel by hanging a floral banner, and decorating with flowers and wooden blocks. I finished it off with beautiful framed photos I had taken of the mama to be the weekend before. She hadn't even seen the digital images of her session yet so she was of course very surprised to see them blown up on display.
Expert tip: add a personal touch. When hosting a party in someone else's honor make sure it feels like their event. This can be done by using a favorite color in decor or serving a favorite food item.
My best advice on how to be a good host is to enjoy your party. If you are eating , drinking or sitting, others will too. The more relaxed you are the more relaxed your guests will be. But don't confuse being relaxed with ignoring your guests needs. By following these steps you will set up your party for success allowing you to relax and enjoy with your guests.