magazine | Gatherings | baby showers

10 Tips for Throwing a Totally Chic and Meaningful Baby Shower

photo: Joel Serrato
Haven’t we all been to the same over-the-top, Pinterest-inspired and game-heavy baby shower a dozen times? It’s the model for bébé-welcoming that’s seemingly become the norm, but what if the mama-to-be doesn’t quite fit this mold—not to mention you, the host (although catering to the personality of the mother-in-question is obviously most important)? We’ve got some sweet ideas for updating the age-old baby shower formula, and, honestly, leaving some traditions by the wayside without throwing the whole baby out with the bath water.

Reporter: Julie Pointer Adams
Photo: Alicia Lund
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Plan a Picnic Potluck at the Beach, Park or Garden

We’re not sure when baby showers started resembling wedding receptions with catered food, rented furniture and custom balloons, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a requirement to go whole-hog just to make it a special day for mama. Instead, make it a simple outdoors affair that everyone can pitch into by meeting at a favorite spot with food, gifts and picnic blankies in tow.
Photo: Alicia Lund
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Be Gender Neutral With Your Guest List

Who says dudes can’t be a part of baby showering as well—or that it has to be innately boring for them? Consider the shower a chance to celebrate with all the couples’ loved ones—male and female—and plan accordingly. Rather than mimosas and pastries, orchestrate a taco bar or steak grill-out with margs (with a virgin version, of course) and beer and use it as an excuse to get all the couple’s favorites together for some chill time before baby comes along. We’re pretty sure you won’t be hearing any complaints.
Photo: Renata Stone
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Throw a White-Themed Shower

We all know a handful of those ultra-picky moms-to-be who are anxious about receiving gifts they’re not into (and we don’t blame them). If your honored mother is nervous about getting tacky toys and clothes with less-than-desirable noises, phrases and logos (i.e. Princess-type items), we suggest sending a themed gift guide to guests requesting something like only white items, illustrated books or Montessori-inspired toys. If you want to go all out, encourage everyone to wear all white for a super sweet, pure and whimsical look to the affair. Get inspired with this white and neutral baby shower →
Photo: Joel Serrato
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Invite Guests of All Ages

There’s nothing better than the timeworn wisdom of women and mothers who have gone before, and we think it’s important to bring together the shared knowledge from all generations. Include the mama’s mama and grandmother, if possible, along with other mentors, friends and mature influences who can pass along some of the treasured secrets of motherhood. This baby shower thrown for Dianna Perrin, the tableware genius behind Casa de Perrin, is the perfect example of how to bring all ages together in a meaningful way. 
Photo: Alicia Lund
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Elevate Your Menu With a (Simple) French-Inspired Meal

No need to go crazy here but we think the French have it right with their oh-so-perfect essential pairings of baguette and cheese, fresh fruit and veggies, and rosé and chocolaty treats. Nothing like a beautiful, tasty spread to make any occasion feel extra celebratory. Check out these 14 tips to hosting a French market picnic →
Photo: Joel Serrato
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Make a Book for Mama

Plan ahead and ask each guest (and friends and family members who may not be able to attend) to write some kind words of encouragement and advice that can be compiled into a special book before the shower. Use the event as an opportunity to present the gift all together.
Photo: Helen Warner
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Skip the Gender-Specific Décor

Clearly there’s nothing wrong with the color pink as it’s been having a serious moment (we all fell hard for millennial pink, right?), but there’s no need to relegate it always and forever to the world of baby girls and women. Break out from the typical cutesy décor and color norms used for showers and feel free to introduce whatever palette you (and mom) prefer, no matter the gender of bébé-to-be.
Photo: Jose Villa
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Shower With Loving Words Before Gifts

We’re all about taking some moments to share why someone is going to make a good mother—and what better time than a shower to do so. Before showering her with physical gifts, shower your mama-friend with loving words that will do wonders for making her feel ready for all that’s to come.
Photo: Kate Nielen
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Nix the Games and Opt for a Hands-On Activity

We love the idea of doing a fun activity together, but seriously, no need for it to be a cheesy game. Instead, channel the creative energy of the group and do something meaningful that will be useful to baby (and mama) when he or she arrives. For instance, buy some neutral swaddle or burp cloths and have everyone take part in indigo-dyeing them with different patterns, or using various natural food-derived dyes to get a well-rounded palette (like turmeric, onion skins, beets or berries). Or if there’s a quilter in the group, have everyone embroider quilt squares with simple patterns or words to have made into a sweet, timeless gift from everyone’s hands.
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Fill the Freezer

For showers happening closer to due dates, we suggest taking advantage of everyone involved to help out the mama-to-be in a super practical way…filling the freezer with healthy and nutritious meals for whenever baby arrives. There’s hardly a better way to show your hands-on, collective love.

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