In three previous articles the guest list, sending invitations and planning/prepping for the baby shower were all discussed. Now that you have the makings of a truly great gathering, how about we follow through and throw this party? Great idea.
Baby shower day has arrived and guests will be at your home (or club house or banquet room) shortly. Hopefully you have cleaned and all the items needed for the party are already there. If you are expecting someone to arrive with the cake or the decorations, be sure to give them a call. Remind them when the party begins. Let them know when the guest of honor will be arriving (often the mom-to-be and her mother, grandmother or another relative will arrive a little early so they can check out the digs and find a comfortable place to sit), and when you NEED them to be there.
As the host it's OK to make it crystal clear what time you expect your helpers and that it's necessary they arrive by that time or before. This is so very important. There is nothing tackier and more upsetting than for an invited guest who has offered their help to show up late carrying a cake or a balloon bouquet. It's rude and inconsiderate on their part. It distracts from the guest of honor and it makes more work for you because you have to disrupt the party so you can place the cake or arrange a centerpiece that should have been there long before the guests began to arrive.
As everyone enters, have them place their gifts, write in the memory book and greet the expectant mother. If people offer to help graciously accept it and ask them to do things like take coats or pour drinks. Offer everyone something to drink and direct them to food if it is being served.
Give 20-30 minutes for guest to gather. After that you can set them down to introduce and play a game. Once a game has been played it's a good time for opening presents. You'll want to ask someone to write down who gave which gift, so the new mom can send out thank yous later. If, during this time guests arrive late, smile, greet them and direct them to where they can put coats, gifts, etc. Where you may have actually taken a guests coat at the beginning of the party, you can understandably tell the late-comers what to do and where to go. They are late and that's their problem, not yours. Your main concern is the mom-to-be and the guests who are actively engaged in the baby shower.
Following opening of gifts, another game is perfect. By now everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves. Cake can be served and it's a good time to have everyone mingle and walk around. A third game can be played if you feel like people aren't ready to leave. Two to three hours is the perfect length of a baby shower. Pregnant moms get tired. And if the shower happens post-birth, new moms are equally exhausted. When hour three approaches, everyone will know it's time to allow the mom to exit.
Everyone should help in the loading of the gifts. Often the dad, and even grandpa, will arrive to help in this effort. After the gifts are loaded and the parents are on their way, accept any and all assistance in clean-up. Sometimes the funnest memories are with those who stay late and help out. Keep the drinks flowing and the food out. Thank the guests for being there. Finally, pat yourself on the back for hosting a baby shower that will be appreciated for years to come.