A baby shower is an event that is generally hosted by the parents-to-be but may be hosted by the family or friends as a surprise. Generally, couples may determine whether they want the baby shower to be a surprise or not, but friends and family may decide to host it as a surprise for the busy parents-to-be.
No matter what, it’s important to consider the parents-to-be. The decision to make a baby shower open or not is up to the person hosting the shower, but whichever way they choose, it should be with the parents-to-be in mind as well as their needs.
This is why the event should be hosted by someone who knows the parents well so that the decisions made are sensitive to their desires and needs, which can be difficult with surprise baby showers. Even if the event is technically a surprise, many baby showers are set up with gift registries and with parents’ tacit consent for the event.
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When is a surprise baby shower appropriate?
A surprise baby shower is best thrown when it is sure that the parents-to-be will appreciate the surprise element of the event. This is not true for everyone, especially since inviting people to a surprise baby shower involves telling them that someone is expecting a child: this information is private and could violate the boundaries of some people.
To ensure you are not disregarding any boundaries by throwing the party, consider asking their friend, spouse, partner, or parents about their preferences and use your best judgment. It is also a good idea to inform them close to the date, from a couple of weeks before to the day of the event so they may prepare for it.
If you are not close with the parents and are unsure what they would want for gifts, it is advised to not plan their baby shower. Planning a baby shower for parents with whom you are not close can be a hurtful social faux pas if they have not informed all the invitees about the baby.
This could be considered a severe violation of their privacy.
Additionally, some couples prefer to keep their baby shower a secret, while others enjoy letting friends and family know so they can all celebrate together. If you are unsure what the parents-to-be would prefer, it is best to ask them.
How do I throw a surprise baby shower?
Planning a surprise baby shower can be daunting. If you are planning one and have nowhere to start, begin with planning the guest list.
This will require cooperation from the closest friends and family members of the parent or parents, or your knowledge as well.
When inviting the guest list, be sure to let everybody know that by no means should they tell the parents about it, and contact you or the organizer about all questions.
That includes gifts that are to be sent in someone’s absence. If you are responsible for someone’s gift, be sure to let them know in advance to clearly label it in their name so there is no confusion at the event.
Ensure all invitations are sent out through private channels, such as email or text messages. Avoid mentioning the shower on social media.
If you are planning a physical event, be sure to keep the location and time secret until the last minute. A good rule of thumb is not to mention the baby shower to the invitees until close to the event, to not give anyone time to spread the word.
If you are responsible for a gift, be sure to let the person know in advance so they can clearly label it in their name so there is no confusion at the event.
When planning, bear in mind that baby showers do not tend to be formal events in the United States. They may take place at the home of the host, or a public place such as a restaurant or outdoor space. They are also often held during the day.
Guests are not supposed to give gifts to the expectant parent, but they may bring them along. If they have a gift to give, they should wait until after the party to pass them to the family.
However, not all baby showers are hosted by the parents-to-be. Sometimes, a close family friend or relative may put the shower together for the parents privately, with or without their input.
If you are tasked with putting together the baby shower, you will be in charge of catering, entertainment, and decor. That means you will have to organize the menu, location, time, guest list, invitations, decorations, games, food, music, and more.
Before the party, go online to examine what the couple has registered for on the gift registry if you are using it.
When you invite guests, make sure they have the option to buy the gifts te parents have registered on the gift registry to ensure they receive items that are useful to them. It is likely the gifts they have registered will be more useful to them than toys that may never be used.
If you are not using a gift registry, talk to the parents about their preferences beforehand and discuss this with the guests when they are buying their gifts. If they have more than one preference for gifts, you may have to prioritize options when discussing this with guests.
How do I make sure the parents are free?
When you are hosting a baby shower for someone, it is important to confirm if the parents are available on the set date. You can either ask them covertly, have someone close to them contact them, or consider giving them advance notice of the event.
It is not uncommon to give the parents a heads up about the event with a few weeks’ notice.
To preserve the secrecy of a surprise party, the parents are often organized to be out of town or at the office until late. This can be difficult to execute without the help of others attending the baby shower, so be sure to speak with them and ensure they are free on the desired date.
If you plan to organize on a day they are free, it is best to just talk with the parents and ask when they are available, even if you do not explain why.
Make sure to be clear with your invitees about how they should contact you or the organizer if they have any questions, not the parents. For this reason, some people choose to send invitations late or very close to the day of the event to ensure that nobody has a chance to tell the parents about the party.
Be clear with guests that they should not tell others about the party, particularly if they are not invited.
To make the planning process easier, it is a good idea to include the parents in the baby shower planning process. If you know the family well, you may be confident about planning the shower as a surprise.
The majority of the time, however, it is considered best to talk with the parents and ask them what they need.
This is because baby showers are largely about attaining resources and allowing parents to de-stress and bond at a hectic time, so if the event is potentially insensitive to their availability, stress levels, and needs, it may not be a very pleasant baby shower at all.
Should I tell the parents about a surprise baby shower?
If you are communicating readily with close friends and parents, planning a baby shower can be an easier affair and you may have better success being sensitive to the needs of the parents-to-be. But even if you plan the party in secret, many organizers choose to let the parent or parents know closer to the event, such as a couple of weeks in advance, about the party to ensure for certain that they will be free on the day.
This is still a low-stress, fun surprise for parents.
Letting parents know about the event also has the added benefit of them being able to make a gift registry online for attendees to buy useful gifts for them. Baby showers are often helpful to new parents because they allow new parents to get items and resources that previous parents already have, such as a buggy or perambulator, a car seat, a diaper changing table, a crib, toys, clothes, and even diapers.
These are all big costs for families expecting a child, so baby showers help to offset this. This is not helpful, however, if the gifts given are inappropriate for the family for whatever reason: online gift registries prevent this by allowing everybody to see exactly what the parents need.
Because parents are the focus of the baby shower, the gifts are also often specifically for them at an exciting but stressful time in their life. Being included also allows them to make decisions about the theme, whether games are played, what colors they like, and more.
The best time to tell the parents-to-be about a surprise baby shower is at least two months before the shower. This way, they will have time to register for items they need.
If you do surprise the parents, be sensitive to the fact that they may not want a party. They may want an intimate and small gathering, or they may want second-hand gifts as opposed to new ones.
Should I hire a baby shower planner?
A baby shower planner can throw a party for parents-to-be with all the resources and acumen of the closest friend, along with an eye for decoration and organization. If you struggle to guess at the ideal choices for decorating, catering and timing, a planner can help you throw an amazing party without all the stress for either you or the parents-to-be.
Baby shower planners may organize a menu for the event, catering to be there on time, a theme, decorations, color palettes, and a location as well. These can all be difficult things to manage for one person, but baby shower planners are professionals and have experience and connections that ensure the event will go off without a hitch.
Stylized baby showers online are often planned by baby shower planners.
When should I throw a baby shower?
You may want to wait until the parent-to-be’s third trimester to throw the shower, or if they are adopting or using a surrogate, a few weeks before the date that the baby is due to join the home. One to two months before the due date is a good choice, as this provides the best chance that the baby has not already arrived.
Parents with children tend to be busy, so planning the party for before this point ensures your parents-to-be will have lots of energy to enjoy the party, as well as time.
Finding a date that works for everyone is critical and is often the biggest hurdle when planning a baby shower. Find a covert way to ask the parents for an ideal date, through another person if needed, or just by making up a plausible excuse.
It is a good idea to book the parents so they are away on a certain date, through a trip or by plans with someone else. Working with someone close to them that can keep the secret will help to make sure the date works out.
If you are planning a seasonal baby shower, try to ensure the event aligns with the season or holiday you are aiming for. Avoid other important dates, such as birthdays, so that the date can have a special fun significance.