Baby Showers Themes — beyond the booties

I’ve had a couple of friends recently asking me for advice about baby showers they are hosting. I originally wrote this post for the blog “Or So She Says,” but thought I should share with all of you, how I come up with the crazy ideas I do for memorable baby showers. Hopefully this will help solve some of those baby shower dilemmas.
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Let’s talk baby showers!  Chances are you’ve been to one, had one thrown for you, thrown one for someone, or all of the above.  We know the basic recipe:  Pink and frilly for a girl, baby blue for a boy.  The requisite baby-themed plates and napkins and maybe the “What’s in the diaper game?” if we are lucky!  Those kinds of showers can be lots of fun–and I will tell you, I am a serious competitor when it comes to shower games–but after a while most of the showers I’ve attended begin to run together in my mind.  If you are hosting a baby shower and you want it to be really memorable, I have a few LOTS of ideas for you (see the above paragraph about how I am insane)!

It all starts with choosing a theme, and by theme, I mean something more specific than “Baby”, or even baby and pink.  But when someone says the word, “theme,” it shouldn’t necessarily conjure up images of casino night or a luau (although I have heard of a baby shower luau).  I use “theme” to mean anything I use to define the design and feel of the event, and guide me in my planning.  Choosing your theme is the first step in planning a great shower.  So where can you go to look for inspiration for that unique theme that you and your guests will love?

1.  Nursery Decor

An great place to start looking for inspiration is in the nursery.  When my nephew was on his way, I knew that his mom and grandma were making a jungle animal bedding set for him, so I designed a jungle-themed baby shower for them.  We hung a sign that said “Welcome to the jungle, Jackson” and served “monkey bread” and other animal-named food.  I made the 3-D monkey cake.   For a really stylish take on a jungle/safari theme for a baby girl, look at the shower that was thrown for the Hostess herself!
When I am invited to a shower, I often take cues for my gift from the invitation.  A shower that aligns with the nursery might help guide guests to choose things that will go with what the mom is planning for the nursery.  Here is an example of that.  I used to make wooden mobiles often as shower gifts for close friends and family.  This mobile was made for a baby girl named Morgan, that was having an “Under the Sea” shower and nursery.  It made it easy to customize her gift, since that information was readily available.  If nothing else, consider using the color scheme of the nursery as the color scheme of the party, for the same reason.
2.  Season
A baby shower isn’t quite like a wedding that really should be seasonally appropriate, but it can be fun to give a nod to the season in your shower.  For example, another sister-in-law was having an Autumn baby shower. I thought it would be really fun to throw a “Lil’ Punkin” or “Little Pumpkin” shower (depending on how grammatically correct you want to be).  I used orange brown and a little blue to recognize that she was having a boy.  You can see all of the fun ways I thought of to tie in the pumpkin theme, here.  My mother-in-law thought it would be funny if we did “It’s the Great Pumpkin” as the theme and painted a jack-o-lantern on the belly of the mama-to-belly.  It would be funny, but I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you know that the mama-to-be would think it was funny as well!
You could do a gorgeous “Toyland” shower around Christmas.  Or what about a “Little Elf” theme?  You’d have to be careful with this next one, but what about a “Love Child” theme around Valentines?  Or maybe “Baby Cupid.”  Spring lends itself to a variety of great themes, such as anything to do with nesting, birds, and/or eggs.  Or even a “shower”-themed shower in April, with umbrellas, galoshes and such!
3. Get Personal
Perhaps the best ways to make a great shower is to carefully consider the family you are celebrating.  Is the dad seriously into baseball?  How could they resist a “Lil’ Slugger” theme?  Movie buffs:  “A Star is Born.” (Check out this awesome shower thrown for a great cause!)
I recently threw a shower for my sister-in-law, based entirely on the name she had picked out for her baby, Brooklyn.  I chose food that New York is famous for and created a backdrop of the Brooklyn bridge.  The invitations were modeled after the “Welcome to Brooklyn” signs.
I have a sister with the last name Brown.  We could throw a very Brown shower, using only the color brown, or the Dr. Suess books about Mr. Brown.
Consider the personality of the mother-to be.  Is she a girly-girl excited about everything lacy and pink for her little girl, or a modern minimalist who is reluctant about the idea of a traditional shower, or is she someone who just likes to have a lot of fun and wants her shower to be a PARTY!
One of the favorite posts on my blog is about a shower that my sister threw for her friend.  We worked together on the concept over the phone, I designed some printables for her, and she threw the party.  I had seen the theme “She’s about to Pop” centered around popcorn, but we decided to take the same theme in a different direction.  We had everything pop, from soda pop, to pop tarts, to 80’s pop music, and Andy Warhol inspired pop art of the mama.  It was colorful, modern, and fun!  And the guest of honor LOVED it!  It was a PARTY, not just a formal gathering meant for the opening of presents.

4.  Traditional Childhood Favorites

Maybe you still prefer something that is more traditionally associated with babies.  The key is picking just a couple of specific themes and featuring them in your shower.  You could take the traditional baby foot print and use that as a unifying element with a cute saying like, “the {insert last name here}home is growing by two feet.”
Here are some other childhood inspired themes: “Bedtime Stories”, with a table set up to look like a child’s bed, “Nursery rhymes”, you could have a fun time coming up with food named after various nursery rhymes (Can you eat Humpty?), a favorite Children’s book like “Goodnight Moon“,  Milk and Cookies (look here and here for inspiration on this one).
Vintage toys, or one specific toy like a sock monkey, or red Radio wagon.  ABC blocks, there is a lot you could do with the various letters of the alphabet (I might be using this one for my son’s 1st birthday).

Once you have nailed down your theme, choosing food and decorations should be easier, since you have parameters to help guide each decision.  I find themes are most effective when as many details as possible are clearly tied in to the theme, even if the connection is somewhat subtle.  As women, we tend to love little details and pretty things.  If the goal is to make the shower memorable, don’t forget to throw in something unexpected like clever signs and labels or a thoughtful and useful favor.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here for any baby showers you may host.  I got a couple of really strange looks when I said I wanted to throw a baby shower based on Brooklyn, New York, but I think everyone really loved how personal it was for that baby, and they will remember that!

Comments

  1. The Dark Family says:

    I am so glad I just found you… and this post! You are brilliant! I'm planning my own baby shower (I know, I'm crazy), but I want it to be memorable! Thank you for this awesome post. it's exactly what I need…. now hopefully I can think of the perfect theme!

  2. What cute ideas! I love outside the box ideas!!

  3. Kati @ Obscured Flair- says:

    I love the pop idea!!!

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