Oh Baby

How To Throw The Ultimate Baby Shower

It’s going to be the mother of all parties.

Hosting a baby shower for your sister, best friend, or loved one is a delightful opportunity to celebrate a pivotal moment in their life and a chance to create memories they’ll cherish. And if you’ve never planned one before, it can also be pretty intimidating. When do you need to send out invitations by — and do you have to assemble an entire balloon arch by yourself?

We’ve laid out all the baby shower ideas you need to pull off the perfect soirée, from themes and menu options to activities and playlists. (And, if you need it, permission to assign balloon arch-assembly duties to someone else.)

To get started, choose a date sometime in the mom-to-be’s sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, or at least six weeks before her due date. It’s a time when the guest of honor will feel her best — she should be well out of the nausea stage and not in the totally-over-it phase yet — and means the shower should go as planned, even if baby comes a little early. Ideally, you want at least three months’ lead time to plan the best shower ever (though you can certaily do it in less). Once the date is set, here’s what needs to happen and when:

Three Months Out

  • Meet with the parents-to-be. Figure out your budget and how many guests they want to invite. Those numbers will determine what venues are appropriate, how much food to prepare, the number of invites to purchase… you get the gist.
  • Choose the venue. A local park, Mom’s favorite cafe, an Instagram-able event space downtown — call them up and lock in your location before someone else books it that day. You’ll need the venue secured to include the right address on the invites, and plan your decorations accordingly. If you host the shower at a loved one’s home, you’ll sidestep most of these logistical hurdles.

Two Months Out

  • Select a theme so you can start ordering invitations, decorations, and all the rest.
  • Ask the parents to start their registry; you’ll want to have the registry ready so you can include it on the invites.
  • Order the invitations, if you want paper ones. (Digital invites are totally acceptable these days, but it can be nice to have a paper copy as a keepsake.) Request that guests RSVP by four weeks ahead of the shower dates. Be sure to include registry info, and any other pertinent details (like whether the shower is co-ed, if guests should bring a book instead of a card, or a box of diapers for a diaper raffle).

Six Weeks Out

  • Send out the invitations.
  • Ask the parents to finalize their registry so guests can shop it when they receive their invites.
  • Book any additional vendors, like rentals or florists.
  • Plan your food, drinks, desserts, activities and favors. This way, you can create a shopping list and start ordering what you need.

Four Weeks Out

  • Order the cake, cupcakes, personalized cookies, or whatever other bakery goodies you plan to serve.
  • Order all other food and drink you want catered or professionally prepared, if you and the parents’ families are not planning to make everything yourselves.
  • Get all your decor, favors, and supplies for activities ordered.

Two Weeks Out

  • Confirm event details with your vendors, if you have them.
  • Put together favors, decorations, or anything else in need of construction.

One Week Out

  • Finish any shopping that’s left to do, whether it’s to prep food or finalize decor.
  • Create an agenda for how the shower will flow. This will help you keep things organized and flowing, and ensure you get to the activities you have so painstakingly planned.
  • Prepare as much as you can in advance. Whether it’s setting up tables and chairs, assembling decorations, or making batch mocktails, you’ll be glad you did what you could ahead of time.

The Day Of

  • Decorate the venue, lay out food and drinks, you know the drill.
  • Take lots of photos for the parents-to-be.
  • Write down who gave Mom which gifts as she opens them, so she can easily send out thank you cards later.


Not sure where to start when picking a theme? The parents may have one in mind, of course, but if you need some inspiration, these themes are all seriously adorable. (And don’t be afraid to choose something specific to Mom’s interests, like a shower based on her favorite TV show or book series.)

Timeless Themes

  • Rainbow Baby: For the family who has been waiting for this a long time, a cheerful shower decorated in every color under the sun.
  • We Can Bearly Wait: A teddy bear-themed get-together with a pink or blue and brown color palette. Bonus points for fur accents.
  • A New Chapter: A storybook-inspired shower with Mom’s favorite characters included in the decor.
  • Welcome To The Jungle: Tropical green leaves, animals everywhere, lots of safari touches.
  • A Baby Is Brewing: The perfect theme for someone who wants to have a garden tea party or high tea baby shower.
  • Baby In Bloom: Florals. Florals everywhere. Maybe some butterflies, too.
  • Little Prince or Tiny Dancer: A prim and proper party with pink or blue, crowns or ballet shoes, depending.
  • On Cloud Nine: Lots of hot air balloons and fluffy cloud decor.

Seasonal Themes

  • Little Sprout: A garden- or succulent theme with lots of foliage and green touches.
  • Somebunny Special: Springtime touches and Peter Rabbit, or any bunnies really, are the inspiration here.
  • Showered With Love: Think April showers — lots of striped umbrellas, heavy on the florals, and spring goodness all around.
  • Little Cutie: Yep, like the tangerine brand. Think lots of orange and green accents and citrus-laden centerpieces.
  • Baby On Board: Sand, shells, and surfboards galore, please.
  • Beach Bumps: A beach-themed shower with boho touches throughout and a color palette of your choosing.
  • Ready To Pop: A firecracker theme for July showers, or use it any time in the summer by focusing on popsicle decor.
  • Ciao Baby!: Channel a summer in Italy with a blue and white color palette and orange and lemon accents all around.
  • A Little Boo: Orange and black everything with little ghosts everywhere.
  • The Apple Of Our Eye: Nothing says fall like barrels full of apples, hay bales, and fallen leaves.
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside: A winter wonderland theme can go so many ways, from woodsy to glam, but they’ll all work with this tagline.
  • New Year, New Baby: A glitzy black and gold affair perfect for moms with a due date early in the coming year.

Baby In Bloom

A Baby in Bloom shower is perfect for spring, but a flower-inspired party is really never a bad idea. Think lots of fresh florals — in centerpieces, as drink garnishes, on top of the cake — and fluttering butterfly touches here and there.

Ciao, Baby!

Photos courtesy of Lauren Wood

If Mom’s idea of a perfect vacation is walking cobblestone streets and sipping an Aperol spritz, consider a Positano-inspired baby shower. Lean into the iconic blue and white tiles and citrus trees of the region, and of course, go all in on your charcuterie spread.

Baby On Board

Photos courtesy of Mint Event Design

Surf’s up, baby! The color palette for this theme is totally up to you. Surfboard silhouettes, tropical foliage, and vintage beachy touches will do all the heavy lifting for this theme.

Rainbow Baby Shower

Photos courtesy of Pop of Gold

A rainbow baby shower should be joyful and vibrant, so go big and bold with your colors. You can use actual rainbows and clouds in your decorations or make it more about the palette, whether it’s neon hues or pastel shades.

A Peter Rabbit Baby Shower

Photos courtesy of Anya Kernes Photography

For someone who loves bunnies or children’s books, there is no cuter theme than a Beatrix Potter-inspired Peter Rabbit. Incorporate lots of farmer’s market veggies and gardening tools (clean ones, of course). And include little cottontail touches where you can, like the ends of those napkin ribbons.

A Garden Party Baby Shower

Photos courtesy of Table 6 Events & Laura Murray

Can you picture it: high tea in a greenhouse or solarium, toile tablecloths, and enough fresh flowers for guests to make their own arrangements as favors? There are so many ways to make this theme your own, and all of them would be breathtaking.

We Can Bearly Wait

Photos courtesy of Audrey Madison Stowe

Bear-shaped confetti, paw print soap favors, and teddies everywhere you look — this theme is meant to feel cute and cozy. This theme would be especially fun to do in the wintertime, with lots of snuggly throw blankets thrown around, bear claw pastries on the table, and a fully loaded hot cocoa bar.

Decorations & Music

Photos courtesy of Danielle Alana and Audrey Madison Stowe

The precise decorations you need will of course vary widely depending on the venue and theme. That said, there are some staples you can start with when planning out your decor:

  • Balloons
  • Banners
  • Centerpieces
  • Garlands
  • Floral arrangements
  • Photo backdrop
  • Place cards
  • Stackable BABY blocks
  • Tablecloths
  • Table settings
  • Welcome sign

One often overlooked aspect of baby showers is the music. If you want to create the perfect ambiance (and avoid an awkward silence), queue up a playlist that blends in perfectly with your theme. Christmas carols or Halloween songs are obvious choices for holiday baby showers, but don’t be afraid to lean into your theme no matter when it is. An Italian cafe playlist is perfect for a “Ciao, Baby!” summer shower, for example.

Food & Drinks

Appetizers & Light Bites

Photos courtesy of Lauren Wood and Half-Baked Harvest

What sort of snacks should you set out for guests to graze? Whether you need apps and sides to serve alongside an entree, or just some lighter fare for an afternoon baby shower, dishes like these would all do nicely. (Just be mindful of whatever foods the pregnant guest of honor is avoiding.)


And now, for the more filling fare. If you need recipes that will impress and feed a crowd, these brunch and lunch dishes are up to the task.

  • Thick-sliced brioche French toast topped with whipped cream would make the perfect brunch shower entree. Serve it alongside a cheesy hashbrown casserole and some fresh fruit.
  • If you want something you can prep in advance, cinnamon buns or strawberry rolls would to do nicely.
  • For a lunchtime shower, chicken lettuce wraps would be a nice change from the typical sandwich platter.
  • Pinwheels wraps are never a bad idea, but these chipotle cheddar avocado roll-ups sound like their more flavorful cousin (and they won’t fall apart on the way to the venue).
  • Swedish meatballs are a classic party dish for a reason. They’re easy to make in bulk and guests eat them up.


Photos courtesy of Once Upon A Bebe and Pop of Gold

Desserts are the easiest food to outsource — local bakeries abound with delicious options. If you are in the mood to make something sweet yourself, these recipes will look like you paid a professional good money for them.

  • Macarons would be so cute to serve for a garden party. They require a bit of skill, but if you’ve got what it takes, these lemon rhubarb ones sound delightful.
  • Similarly, decorating cake pops can take some time and patience, but these Humpty Dumpty ones would be adorable for a storybook shower. Even if you make simpler pops using this recipe, the results will be delicious.
  • Hosting a tea party or baby in bloom brunch? Cappuccino rose cupcakes are the perfect touch.
  • Homemade brown butter Rice Krispies treats are the perfect canvas to dip, drizzle, and sprinkle until they match whatever theme you’re going for. You don’t have to be a master baker to pull them off either.
  • Are you in charge of the cake? A classic confetti cake adds a little joy to any celebration, or you might consider a hummingbird cake for something more understated.
  • Move over cake pops: these cookie sandwiches on a stick are the dessert to make for a mom who can’t get enough chocolate to ease her cravings right now. Plus, party food on a skewer is just better.


Photos courtesy of Mint Event Design and Princess Pinky Girl

A mimosa bar is easy to set up and sure to delight, but we’ve assembled a host of fun drink options, including nonalcoholic ones for the guest of honor.

  • Having a summer baby shower? Make a batch of spicy margaritas to serve from a cute drink dispenser.
  • A homemade shrub feels extra special, and it’s versatile — guests can add spirits or club soda and enjoy it either way. This recipe for a vanilla plum shrub sounds like something off a ritzy cocktail bar menu.
  • Shirley Temples are nostalgic and just plain delicious, so this punch will be well-received (and it’s nonalcoholic, so you don’t have to worry about the mom-to-be or any kids in attendance).
  • A simple, sweet peach iced tea would be so fun to serve at an outdoor “baby in bloom” shower.
  • For a brunch shower, consider making fun, fancy coffees, or something based on Mom’s preferences. If she’s a matcha girl, this recipe for strawberry milk matcha lattes will make her giddy.

Games & Activities

Photo courtesy of Anya Kernes Photography

Old school baby shower games have acquired something of a bad rap in recent years. (You’ll lose the room if you ask your guests to identify which kind of baby food you’ve scooped into a diaper). But there are so many sweet games you can opt for, and activities you can station around the room for guests to engage in at their leisure.

As a rule of thumb, you should spend no more than 30 to 45 minutes playing games or doing a craft together. That’s enough to fill the time at a two- to three-hour baby shower, while still allowing for regular mingling, cutting the cake, and opening gifts.


  • Guess The Age: Bring childhood photos of both parents and number them. Ask guests to guess their ages in each photo, and award a little prize to the guest who gets the most guesses correct. (You may need to conspire with the grandparents-to-be to gather the photos and create the answer key.)
  • Would Mom Rather...?: You’ll need printable questionnaires for this one. Guests will answer Qs like whether Mom prefers chocolate or vanilla, if her cravings have leaned sweet or salty, and if she thinks baby will look like her or the other parent.
  • Baby shower Bingo: This is a great way to help people stay entertained during the gift opening. When the parent-to-be opens a gift, guests mark it off of their Bingo sheet. You’ll need a printable for this, but you can easily find one on Etsy.
  • Mom or Dad?: Prepare a list of questions ahead of time that can be answered with “Mom” or “Dad”. Who is going to hate waking up early more? Who has never changed a diaper before? Guests will have fun guessing, though obviously close family may have an edge here.
  • Hollywood baby trivia: Got a room full of TV and movie buffs on your hands? Prepare trivia questions about famous babies from movies and sitcoms.
  • Oh Baby playlist game: Which guest can think of the most songs with “baby” in the title? Winner gets a prize (and bragging rights for being so musically inclined).

Wondering what to give out as prizes? Gift cards to Starbucks, Target, or your local grocery store will always go over well. You could also try novelty claw clips, a stainless steel tumbler, a nice candle, or a little skincare kit.


  • Photo station: Put up a back drop and set some props nearby with a little Polaroid camera or phone tripod. Everyone can take photos together with the guest of honor.
  • Advice box: Place a card box or other container out with some note cards and pens. Ask guests to write down a piece of advice for the new parents to read later.
  • Baby predictions: Order printables with blanks where guests can jot down their guesses for baby’s birth date, weight, length, and name and gender, if the parents haven’t announced them. This activity is more fun if you display both parents’ birth stats and the expected due date, so everyone has some clues to work with.
  • Baby bucket list: Another box and note cards setup, but this time, ask guests to write down something the parents should strive to do with their baby in their first year of life. Maybe it’s take them to see the ocean, or let them taste ice cream, but you’ll gather some memory-making ideas for the new parents.
  • Share a favorite tradition: Part of having children is establishing holiday traditions. Ask guests to jot down a family tradition from their childhood they still treasure, so the parents-to-be can continue meaningful ones when their baby arrives. This is especially fun for a baby shower around the holidays.
  • Decorating onesies: If your guests are a crafty bunch, lay out a plain onesie and lots of fabric markers, puff paint, and other decorations so everyone can make the baby a custom ‘fit.
  • Write messages for baby on wooden blocks: Order bulk, blank wooden blocks. Guests can paint and decorate one for the baby, and write a loving message on one side. Baby will love playing with them for years to come (just coat them in a nontoxic clear coat after the shower to preserve the designs).


The parents-to-be should be the people going home from a shower with loot, but it can be nice to round out your theme with a little favor. A few to consider:

  • Seed packets: For a “Baby in Bloom” or springtime shower, bundle a few flower seed packets together with pretty ribbon.
  • Succulents: Everyone has a window sill in need of a tiny plant, and this way they’ll have something to remind them of your little sprout.
  • Handmade soap: Perennially useful, and it comes in any shape and scent to match your theme. Etsy will have what you need.
  • Mini champagne bottles: Just add a “Pop this bottle when she pops!” tag.
  • Take-home charcuterie boxes: If you’re serving brunch or have a grazing board caterer, ask about making individual favor boxes guests can take home to enjoy.
  • Hot cocoa mix jar: Winter baby shower hosts, this one is for you.
  • Mini honey jars: Perfect for a tea party or bear-themed baby shower.
  • A sample size bag of local coffee beans: Perfect for a brunch shower or “baby is brewing” theme.

Trends To Try

There are trend in baby showers, just like everything else! You may have seen some of these on social media or heard about it from a friend, but here’s what’s new in pre-baby celebrations these days:

  • Co-ed showers: Chat with the parents to be about their preferences. Some want to have a traditional, girls-only gathering, but more and more couples are opting to invite all friends and family.
  • Books instead of cards: Some parents ask guests to write a loving message in the front of a children’s book, so they leave with a little library for their baby’s room. It helps to know if you’re doing this when you order invitations, so you can include the request on the invites.
  • Diaper raffles: Inform guests that everyone who brings a box of diapers will be entered into a raffle for a prize (say, a $50 Target gift card). Again, you’ll want to list this on the invite. Then, the mom-to-be will have a large stash of diapers to pull from as baby grows.
  • Diaper notes: Lay out some newborn diapers and Sharpies for guests to write funny or encouraging notes on them. Parents will need the laugh when doing yet another midnight diaper change in those early weeks.
  • Guestbook alternatives: Hot air balloon art made of guests’ thumbprints, trees with signed leaves, and more — sign-able art and decor items that can live in the nursery are the new, better guestbook (one the family will actually see every day instead of stashing it in a closet somewhere).