Congratulations! You’re about to have your own little prince or princess to dote upon! Expecting a baby certainly comes with a great deal of stress. From painting and planning, to shopping and attending parenting classes, there is much to do in roughly nine months. Your baby shower should be a time to take a break from that stress and revel in the attention of beloved family and friends. It should not contribute to a higher anxiety level. In celebration and anticipation of the impending royal birth, we ask today “What Would Kate Do” when planning a royal baby shower?
Pick a Theme
One of the loveliest ways to have a beautiful shower is to pick a theme that can inspire invitations, thank you cards, decorations, centerpieces, treats, gifts, and games. Having a theme creates an overall cohesiveness and a pleasant experience for your guests and encourages some delightful nostalgia for yourself. Make use of Pinterest to group ideas into the above categories (and I recommend setting your boards as “private” so that your guests won’t find out what you’re up to!). If you’re feeling a bit lost on what to choose, start by asking yourself of perhaps storybook characters that meant something special to you as a child or a family activity that you look forward to introducing your little one to, such as sailing or camping. Creating a personalized theme will make your shower very special and will create quite the unique experience. When I was planning my baby shower, I chose a Peter Rabbit theme because some of my fondest memories were of reading Beatrix Potter books when I was young. I sent out custom Peter Rabbit invitations made by a graphic artist I found on Etsy and the party favors were tiny terra cotta pots with fake moss and a mint seed packet inside. I chose beautiful pastel stationeries for the game gifts. Ultimately, I wanted my guests to walk away with a thank you gift that they could use and appreciate.
Your guest list is going to drive this consideration so plan early for whom you intend to invite and book early if you will not be having your shower at a friend or family’s home (I don’t recommend having it at your own home because think of all the stress you will go through in trying to make sure your house is in tip-top shape beforehand!). If you’re looking for an exceptionally royal feel, look for rooms in tea houses that you can rent for the day or even historic buildings on university campuses. You’d be surprised at what you can find! Like castles. Castles always work really well for baby showers!
To Display or Not To Display
That is the question. It is becoming more in vogue these days for baby showers to be a “display shower”. A display shower invites a guest to bring a gift that is unwrapped, although the guest will often add a bow for flair or some other decoration. The gifts are featured on a table, very nicely arranged, and the guest will fill out a small card for in front of the gift to advise of whom it is from. This allows the mommy-to-be to mingle more with her guests instead of spending considerable time unwrapping the gifts. It also allows guests to be able to view the gifts clearly and at their leisure. However, be forewarned: you should keep in mind your attendees and the amount of people you expect to have at your shower. If your shower will be intimate, you will likely be able to spend more time unwrapping gifts. Also, some of your elder guests may often appreciate the surprise on your face when you unwrap the present they gave, so keep in mind your demographic.
Libations and Cuisine
Think about the time of day you’ll have your shower. Would you rather do a brunch with a tea party feel? If so, the following recipes might be just the thing!
• A refreshing avocado and watercress salad: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/avocado-and-watercress-salad-242342
• Or a yummy English cucumber sandwich: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/english-tea-cucumber-sandwiches/
Perhaps you’re thinking of a luncheon with more hearty fare such as:
• A filling garlic penne pasta dish: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/garlic-penne-pasta/
• Or chicken salad with cranberries on english muffins: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/holiday-chicken-salad/
Whichever you choose, you can easily make your shower royally festive with a fancy punch bowl and some “mocktails” (i.e. cocktails without the alcohol!). One of my favorites is a non-alcoholic mimosa: half Sprite (always caffeine-free!) and half orange juice; I also like to add a cherry! You can also add an extra touch for hors d’oeuvres by using a fancy cake tier for cheese, crackers, and olives:
I love games that are particular to the new baby’s parents, such as the “How Well Do you Know Mommy/Daddy?” game. It really lets guests test their knowledge and makes them very interactive. Below is a picture of the one I used at my shower. If you’re looking for a game that will also serve as a conversation starter, you can tape the name of a famous mother to the back of each guest as soon as they arrive (for example, Queen Elizabeth II!) and then that guest will have to ask questions of the other guests to figure out “who” she is.
Some last little notes…
Remember that you are supposed to be enjoying yourself during this experience! Designate a talented friend as the novice photographer and if you decide to unwrap your gifts, have another friend write down the guests and their corresponding gift. This will help you write thoughtful thank-you cards afterwards which, like Kate, you will of course always send promptly.