Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Happens at a Baby Shower

What happened on your sophomore year spring break in Cancun stayed in Cancun. This is, of course, assuming that your sophomore year spring break happened pre-Facebook. For your sake, I hope it did. While (fingers crossed) the happenings in Cancun remain a mystery, baby showers aren't so mysterious. They're pretty simple - the mom-to-be opens a ton of gifts and guests cheer her on. I've been to many and they all follow the same sequence of events. There's some fun DIY decor, an embarrassing game (or ten) and lots of sweets. But just in case you haven't been to one lately (or ever), I'll break it down for you.

Pre-Event Considerations:

What should you wear? Whether you go to church or not, you probably have a sense of church appropriate attire. Your "church outfits" can double as baby shower outfits. If this description isn't working for you, think "business casual" but more fun. Jeans are not a great call. Neither is a taffeta cocktail dress. Here are a couple images courtesy Pinterest that hopefully help (quick plug: you can follow NSB on Pinterest by clicking here and then clicking follow).

My fashion sense leans conservative, as you can tell, so you should funk it up and trend it out as much as your heart desires. The basic guideline is not too casual and not too dressy. Image sources: outfit on left (here), outfit on right (here)

What should you bring? You and your gift. I have previously written about how much money to spend on a gift (here) and whether to buy off the registry or not (here).

What time should you arrive? On time. This isn't a fashionably late type event. But don't stress if you're fifteen minutes behind schedule. Typically, the guest of honor is going to arrive about 15 - 30 minutes after the invitation asked you to arrive. This is because the host wants the guest of honor to enter a room full of people and love. So, just make sure to arrive before the guest of honor.

Will there be alcohol? Yes, boozy, there will. Probably. If the guest of honor is someone who drinks alcohol in a non-pregnant state then alcohol will most likely be served. It will usually be some champagne or wine, maybe a signature cocktail. I've even been to baby showers with open bars. In case you're hoping wondering, I've never seen anyone throw down a shot.

Will there be men? Unlikely. I've never been to a co-ed baby shower. It's relatively common for the father-to-be to show up near the end to say hello, thank everyone and carry the gifts away. But, I can't say that I've been to (or even heard about) a co-ed baby shower. Co-ed wedding showers are on trend, so perhaps co-ed baby showers are next.

Arrive and Mingle

Nothing major happens out of the gate. You'll show up to the country club or the grandmother-to-be's house or a cute local brunch spot in the late morning or early afternoon on a Sunday. I have gone to Saturday baby showers and I have gone to evening baby showers, but these are the exception. The first hour of the shower will be spent mingling and munching. Even if the shower includes a formal sit-down meal, appetizers will usually be served right away. You'll catch up with friends and family of the guest of honor, or you'll meet them for the first time. There might be a clothes line of onesies to check out or a jar of Hershey Kisses to count (person who guesses closest to the number of kisses in the jar gets a prize). You'll also have time to check out the table full of gifts that include at least one diaper cake and several baskets full of bath supplies or first aid necessities.

If you're not keen on making one of these yourself but you think they're awesome, check out Etsy for some lovely crafters that will make it for you. Oli-G's Designs makes owl-themed diaper cake above.

Sit-down Meal

About fifty percent of the baby showers I've been to had a formal sit-down meal. It will probably indicate this on the invitation and it will definitely lengthen the party.

Game Time

During the meal or while the guest of honor opens presents, games will be played. I haven't been to a baby shower without games. Even at baby showers honoring a mother-to-be who isn't a game playing type, there will be games. So, buckle up. Here is the list of games that I've played:
  • Baby Food Tasting - Taste jarred baby food and guess the flavor (on one occasion the jarred baby food had been smeared into a diaper, I'm not joking)
  • Toilet Paper Predictor - Tear off however many squares of toilet paper you would need if you were going to the bathroom in the woods. The punchline is that the number of squares you take is the number of children you will have. Hope I didn't ruin it for you.
  • Word Games - Think of a baby-related word that begins with each letter of the alphabet, think of ten songs that have the word "baby" in them, cross-word puzzles full of words like diaper and ointment and breastfeeding, etc.
  • Make-a-onesie - Use puff paint, glue, fabric scraps, stencils, markers, scissors, etc.) to personalize a white onesie for the baby
  • Baby Photo Guessing Game - Sometimes there's a big poster with a bunch of baby photos. Sometimes everyone gets a piece of paper with a collage of baby photos. The idea is to guess who the baby is, which is usually a guest at the shower or a celebrity (depending on how it's played).
  • Sage Advice Journal/Cards - Write a note to the mother-to-be and father-to-be with your best parenting advice
  • Message to the Baby Journal/Cards - Write a message to the baby
  • Gambling - Some baby showers will host a "buy a square" (think Super Bowl) or just a friendly wager as to the birthday, gender (if it's unknown), weight and height of the baby.

Example of a classic baby shower word game
from Pulp Paper Goods 

Present Opening

Look around the room and guestimate 2-4 minutes per guest. That's how long this portion of the day will take. Could be a very long time if there are fifty (or more) guests. The good news is that there will be group gifts, which knock out a bunch of guests at once, and a few guests bring gift cards, which take about thirty seconds to open and show off. Many gifts will be from the registry. But, it's also common for baby shower guests to buy non-registry items for at least a portion of their gift. So, there will be some interesting and awesome surprises.

Grab Your Favor and Go

The favors are typically a food item (i.e. chocolate covered something) or baby related (i.e. travel size Purell). There's not much after party action, for obvious reasons. So that's it. Hope it's a good one.

What games have you played at baby showers? Any go-to outfits that always seem to work? Any disastrous gift opening stories - something broke, a turn-of-the-century dangerous hand-me-down?


WW said...

Beer chugging contest out of bottles.

I remember attending a baby shower (I believe you were there) where we played the baby food guessing game, except there were vegans there who were less than impressed when they were tricked into eating the turkey mush. Know your audience.

Kim said...

I have been to two "Jack and Jill" baby showers this year. It does seem to be the new thing.

Babyinform said...

I hope you're feeling better soon! And that sweater is gorgeous. Amazing. Thanks for posting some photos of it!