When you find out your friend or relative is having a baby, you're more than likely thrilled for them. When you're asked to host the baby shower, though, you might be less than thrilled. Whether you like or dislike baby showers, hosting one can quickly add up in terms of cost.
From DIY decorations and party games to prizes, food and invitations, hosting a baby shower is usually no cheap affair — but it can be, and you don't even need to sacrifice style in order to make your relative or friend's baby shower unforgettable.
Where to Cut Costs For The Baby Shower
Here are a few areas where you can easily cut costs without putting together a shower that will disappoint the parents-to-be.
Invite Some Co-Hosts to Help
First of all, why should you do all the work?
If you and one other person are the two best friends of the mom-to-be, ask that other best friend to chip in and split both responsibilities and costs. If the mom-to-be is your sister, ask your mom or another sibling if they might go in with you on the baby shower.
Baby showers can cost as little as $100, but some cost as much as $1,000 or more. However, when you have co-hosts, that higher end of the budget is a lot more achievable.
Manage Your Guest List
One of the first places to cut costs? The guest list.
There's no need for a baby shower to include dozens and dozens of people, especially when some of those people are attending many other showers (and those guests might just thank you for getting them out of a second or third shower and a second or third gift).
Many parents-to-be are treated to multiple showers by multiple groups of people. Maybe the mother's family throws a shower, the father's family throws a shower and then you're being asked to throw a shower as a co-worker or friend. Whatever the case may be, it's unnecessary to host the same people at every shower. See who actually needs to be there and then keep the guest list to those folks.
In general, try to keep the baby shower intimate and on the smaller side — under 50 guests is usually the way to go. This is a special time in their lives, and you don't want to create a stressful situation for something that is supposed to be fun for the soon-to-be-parents. You want them to be able to savor the moment and enjoy time with most of their guests, not be rushed through dozens of faces and a few honest conversations.
Traditionally, baby showers were female-only. If you go this route, you could seriously cut your guest list down, potentially by half or more.
Related: The Importance Of RSVPing
Skip the Highly Personalized Baby Shower Invitations
No one keeps invitations anymore unless they're really close to the sender. Opt for more affordable invitations versus going with a fancy, specially-printed, one-of-a-kind invitation from a stationer or calligrapher.
You can easily create your invitations online via services like Shutterfly, and they offer invitations and envelopes for less than $1 per invite. If you're keeping your guest list to under 50 people and multiple people live in the same households, that means you could feasibly get adorable, professional-looking invitations for under $40.
If you want to make things even more affordable, you can opt for a digital-only invitation, or if the parents-to-be are more on the casual side, you could even do a Facebook event and invite.
Find an Affordable or Free Venue
Booking a fancy venue for your baby shower can drastically increase your costs. Look for affordable or even free options. For example, there's nothing wrong with hosting the baby shower in your own home, at a friend's place or a relative's house if they have a more suitable space.
If you're planning to host a baby shower in the summer, consider a free outdoor venue, such as a park or beach. Even at parks where you're required to rent a space for events, the cost is often meager.
Affordable indoor venues are often available at churches (if you or the parents-to-be have one) or even within common areas at condo and apartment complexes. Like churches, nonprofits, community centers and YMCAs, they will sometimes rent out affordable space for events.
One thing to definitely not forget when planning (even though it can be very easy to do)? Chairs. You don't want all of your guests to show up at your venue only for you to realize that you didn't account for seating at all. If your space doesn't have enough seats available for your guest list, you may need to rent more seating, which is a cost to consider as you decide on a venue.
Go Easy on the Baby Shower Decorations
There's no need to go all out with extravagant decor. Minimal is always better than flashy, and Pinterest tutorials are your friend.
One thing to try? Pick a venue that's already aesthetically pleasing enough that decorations are either not needed at all or not needed to a great extent, such as a park.
You can also focus on one part of the decor only and impress in one area while letting other decor options slide. For example, rather than doing subpar centerpieces, balloon bouquets and wall hangings, skip the balloons and wall decor and do really awesome centerpieces. Plus, the centerpieces can pull double duty as guest favors.
For decor items that you don't want to necessarily give away, take a look around your and your co-hosts' homes. Would that vase look good as a centerpiece? What knick-knacks can you hodgepodge together in an attractive way to make some appealing decor for the buffet table? Do you have any tablecloths or table runners that you pull out for special occasions? If you're going with a nursery theme, could you snag a few of your own child's toys, onesies or stuffed animals to add into the mix?
Many baby shower hosts pick a theme, but that's not always necessary. However, it can make the overall decoration planning a lot easier, as you have some concrete guidelines to follow. Themes don't need to be overly complex; think a few favorite colors, the couple's wedding theme or even their nursery theme. If you know whether the couple is having a baby boy or baby girl, you could even do a theme around the gender (though gender-neutral showers are becoming more popular).
Plan the Food with Care
Food really makes a party, so how do you ensure that you impress your baby shower guests while also keeping costs down?
One thing to consider is the time of day. Depending on when you host the baby shower, you could save money when it comes to food costs. For example, an afternoon baby shower would automatically cut food costs because your guests won't expect a full meal, just appetizers or snacks and cake. An after-dinner baby shower only needs the cake.
If you want to host a baby shower with a meal, consider breakfast or brunch, as breakfast foods are often more affordable than lunch or dinner items, whether you make the food yourself or go with a caterer.
On that note, consider whether or not you want a catered spread for the baby shower. If you can make the food yourself, why not? Or, if someone is attending who's a particularly good cook, maybe ask them if they'd like to provide a dish as their gift to the parents-to-be.
Hate cooking of all types and don't know a friend who can help? One easy and affordable food option is a build-your-own bar, something that's becoming more popular at all kinds of events, including weddings. Consider some of the groups' favorite foods and then create a buffet around that theme; maybe it's a build-your-own taco bar, an ice-cream sundae bar or a build-your-own baked potato bar. In those cases, all you're responsible for is prepping the ingredients. Then, let guests go to work.
Another fun theme that the mom-to-be may enjoy? A spread of all her favorite cravings. Yeah, you might end up with some odd pairings, but often moms-to-be aren't craving expensive items like steak and seafood; it's more like ice cream or fast food (i.e., inexpensive stuff).
You can also cut alcohol off the menu. While some guests may pout and say it's not a party without the booze, is it really even fair to throw a baby shower with lots of champagne and cocktails if the mom-to-be can't drink too? Save the boozy fun for after the baby is born.
When it comes to the sweets, don't go overboard and pull out a massive spread of options, especially if you've already fed your guests via a buffet or other meal. If you've already served other items, you can rest easy with just a cake or cupcakes.
Is the mom-to-be not a cake eater? Make sure there's something there for her, and maybe even add a diaper cake to the table for a gift she'll be sure to use.
Need to save cash? If you know most of the guests well, do a potluck and ask a handful of them to each bring an item. While it might take a bit of coordination, you'll save on food costs.
Go Simple With Baby Shower Games and Prizes
Love 'em or hate 'em, cheesy games are necessary for every baby shower. Luckily, the internet offers a wealth of printable baby shower games that require either no supplies at all or that only need a printer, from purse scavenger hunts to trivia based around the new parents.
As for baby shower game prizes, go simple. Gift cards are a great option and work for just about every guest.
Send Guests Home with Budget-Friendly Baby Shower Favors
If you don't go the centerpiece route for your party favors, there are plenty of other affordable options. Some baby shower hosts simply box up the leftover food in attractive doggy bags or to-go boxes that match the baby shower theme (if they have one) and then send that along with guests as a favor for when they leave.
If you want to give guests an item, hit up the dollar section of your local Walmart or party store to find affordable knick-knacks that you can combine into small gift bags for less than $5 per pack. Other stores that often have very inexpensive items that make good favors include TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Old Navy, Amazon and Ross.
Other Tips for the Perfect Baby Shower
Beyond carefully managing costs, there are a few other ways to ensure your baby shower is successful.
Keep the parents-to-be in mind.
Remember, throughout all of your planning, this day is all about the parents-to-be. Keep their likes and dislikes at the forefront of your decisions and leave a little wiggle room in your budget for catering to some of the things you know the parents would love.
Take lots of photos.
This is a day you want to remember (or at least the parents-to-be want to remember)! Don't leave all of the photo-taking on their shoulders. Let them rest easy and enjoy themselves, and dedicate one guest to capturing it all on camera.
Spread the word (regarding the registry).
Don't forget the registry! Ensure all guests have access to the registry and all shower gifts info, whether you simply let them know with an email or DM or put the registry information directly on the invitations.
An Affordable (But Still Fun!) Baby Shower is Totally Possible
Don't think that being on a budget means you have to sacrifice fun. With a little ingenuity, creativity and work, you can host a fantastic baby shower for your friend or family member.
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