A baby shower was a new thing for me when I was pregnant and was hardly ever done in England.  Ever since seeing it on Sex and the City I noticed more and more people doing it. I have quite a few American friends and they all do showers. The best friend tends to organise the whole party and it’s a time to get together and have a good catch up with all your friends before nappy changing commences.

I asked Nicole from Pret A Party, who knows how to throw the chicest of any party to give us the low down on how to throw the perfect shower.

Essential Tips for hosting a Chic Baby Shower

Throwing a baby shower for a ‘mum to be’ – (and/or dad) can be a huge undertaking, especially if the guest of honour has certain expectations on how it should be done! The best advice I can offer you is to be organised and efficient with your planning. And remember, it’s all in the details….

  • Setting the date and type of shower you want to host

If the mum to be and all her friends work, then you are limited to the late afternoons or the weekends. I love organising a ‘morning tea/brunch’ showers, as the choice of food is wonderful and people tend to consume fair fewer alcoholic beverages at that time of the morning. There is nothing worse for the mum-to-be, to be sitting at her own shower with everyone around her tipsy on cocktails and champagne!

  • Choose a Theme

Whether or not the sex of the baby is known – a theme is crucial at tying the whole event together. For gender neutral showers, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit & Jemima Duck are always gorgeous, as are the animals of Noah’s Ark. Girl showers don’t have to always be pink – lilac and mint green make are a beautiful choice, especially if the mother to be already has a daughter.

  • The Invitations

Depending on how much time you have, I believe invitations are crucial, as they set the tone for the whole shower. Cleaver ideas include mini watering cans delivered to each guest inviting them to be prepared to ‘shower’ the guest of honour, other ideas include sending guests a ‘onesie’ with an attached tag with the event details, and also asking each guest to decorate their ‘onesie’ for the impending arrival (I’ve seen some gorgeous creations). Paperless Post is my go to last minute invitation sending website, as they have a huge array of designs, and it allows the hostess to see who has received the invitation, who’s coming and any additional messages.

  • The Decorations

This is where a lot of people get stuck and tend to go way overboard making their whole event look tacky! A beautifully set table, decorated with fresh scented flowers, along with a few candles and a sprinkling of decorations is more than enough for a chic shower. Just ensure that everything is colour coordinated and in theme – even if that means hiring a table cloth and some cutlery and crockery. Long gone are the days when the hiring of bits and pieces was a big deal – these days everything can be hired with a click of a button – from the most delicate of tea sets to white Louis chairs.

  • The games

To play or not to play? That is the question. The term ‘Chic Babyshower”’ and ‘games’ don’t usually appear together – but I believe it’s totally possible to have both. Games are traditional to any shower and are a great way to keep the guests entertained whilst they get to know each other. At all my showers, I love to have little cards printed that guests can write words of advice to the mother to be. Whilst not quite a game – it’s a lovely souvenir for the mother to be to take home. Other fun games include, guessing the dummies in the jar, and also passing around ribbons for the guests to guess how big the mothers to be’s belly is! It is essential that there are prizes and they are as good in quality as the gifts the guests bring – it’s amazing how involved and competitive people become when there is a gorgeous bag of Chanel products or a bottle of vintage champagne to be won!

Another idea I love to involve all the guests is to ask them to bring a book inscribed by them to help build the baby’s nursery. You can even send personalised bookplates to the guests with the invitation. I have had so many mothers say to me that they have loved opening books to read throughout the years to their children, and be reminded of how special their friends are.

  • The take-home gifts

Another tradition of baby showers is the ‘take-home’ gift given to each guest as they leave. Whilst this can be a very expensive exercise (I’ve organised 45 Hermés plates before) it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Ideas I have loved in the past have been plants in decorated pots, personalised note books, hand-bag umbrellas, lip-glosses and my favourite – bottles of champagne with a note asking the guests to pop the cork when they receive news about the birth and to toast the baby! (Who doesn’t like champagne!).

By Nicola O’Neil www.pret-a-party.com

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