Almost-Painless Baby Shower Party Planning

Two keywords when it comes to baby shower party planning are: schedule and checklist. If you have both of these by your side when planning the baby shower or any other party, then you'll be ok.

First on line comes the schedule. This is a requirement so you don't need to spend every waking hour on the baby shower! A few hours each week is fine to spread out the time-consuming jobs and balance them with lighter routines. How much time you need depends on how many people are invited to the baby shower and how detailed you want to make it.

For a good amount of time, about five weeks is enough to get the party planned and let you live your own life at the same time.

As soon as you know you're hosting the baby shower, the first things you need to do are work out your budget, decide an appropriate theme, and choose a venue (this will likely be affected by your budget!). Meet with the mommy-to-be, if you can, to flesh out details she would like to incorporate (like décor or cake flavors) and what she wants scrapped (some type of game, maybe?) and ask for her guest list. It's best to get this out of the way immediately so you know what you're planning around. Start putting together your checklist now – include headings for supplies, food, flowers and décor, prizes and favors, and guests.

The next week, it's time to do some surfing – for prices, that is. Find out all the prices for any decorations you might like and prizes you may need, plus the favors you'll be handing out. You should have the guest list by now, so place your orders already. Ask friends and family what they would like to do to pitch in. as soon as you get confirmations, put them down on your checklist. Write down their telephone or cell numbers and their emails if so you have them you need them. Double check with your budget!

Three weeks before, reserve the venue or the caterer, if you need to. This is the time to meet with friends who are bringing food to the baby shower and finalize the menu with them. You should also have your cake chosen and ordered by now. It's also the time to send out the invitations, if they've arrived. If your schedule is tight, consider e-invitations instead. Check the budget again!

With two weeks, to go, the planning should be reaching a crescendo. Set up any decorations you've already ordered and start packing the favors together. Have a few ribbons ready for last-minute prizes and such. Shopping time again – this time, collect the tableware and napkins or tablecloths. If you're renting them, put in your order now.

One week to go and it's getting a bit hectic. Your cake should be ordered, and you need to get the dry goods for the menu (fresh goods like fruits, veggies, and flowers should be purchased at the most two days or preferably the day before the baby shower. Confirm venue and caterer, if you need to. Follow up your volunteers to see how far they've gone in doing their bit. Don't forget your own baby gift!

On the big day, get the balloons and start decorating. The chairs and tables should be set up and decorated, too. Now is the time to call in the helpers! Assign someone to pick up the cake and make the punch or prep the beverages. Take a long breath and survey your party place for anything missing with your checklist. Done!