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What happens at a baby shower?

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Neutral baby shower decor and games

When you're expecting your first child, you may not be aware of the purpose of a baby shower. Whilst they're growing in popularity in the UK, we find many couples that don't really know what to expect! Our team are experts in planning showstopping baby showers, so we've share our top tips for organising a baby shower, including who plans the event, when it is usually held, baby shower gifts and what to expect.

Where did baby showers originate from?

Although gifts have been given to expectant Mothers for many years, baby showers haven’t always been around, and have grown in popularity in the UK over the past few years.

During Victorian times, baby showers started to become a must-have event after the arrival of a little one. Although, it’s important to note that even though baby showers were beginning to take shape, pregnancies were kept top secret until the baby had arrived. Victorians were known for being lavish and found a new baby the prefect excuse the host a tea party for the new Mother once the baby arrived.

With the help of the baby boom post-war, baby showers were propelled into popularity. With the hardships many families faced, baby showers were a great way to lift spirits, celebrating the arrival of new life. Gifts were usually useful handmade goods for the expectant parents.

Before baby showers became popular, a baby’s baptism was the opportunity for friends and family to give gifts to the parents. These gifts often carried religious significance. If we explore back to ancient Greek times, the celebration of a new baby was more of a ritual, where gifts were offered primarily to the Gods.

Although baby showers have changed over the years, it has always been a time of celebration and joy, welcoming a new baby to the world.

Baby shower lilac cake with flowers and cupcakes

Who arranges a baby shower?

Traditionally, a baby shower isn’t planned by the mother-to-be. It’s planned by friends and family of the couple, with the idea of showering the expectant mother with love and gifts for the little one.

Although it’s a tradition for someone else to plan your baby shower, mothers-to-be are much more involved in the planning process than they would have been in the past. Just because you’re not doing the hard work of arranging, it doesn’t mean you can’t provide a list of your likes and dislikes when it comes to your baby shower. It's also important that you advise on things like suitable dates, venues and the expected guest list.

You may have a theme in mind for your baby shower or a particular format that you would like the event to follow. Share these ideas with your nominated planner - after all, planning a baby shower is a big task and we're sure your friends or family would love some assistance!

When to have a baby shower?

Baby showers are typically held 4-6 weeks before the due date, however, there are no set rules on when to host your baby shower and this will vary from person to person. Holding your baby shower around this time ensures the pregnancy is well along, without the likelihood of a surprise early arrival before the event.

Having a baby shower 4-6 weeks before arrival date also allows for the expectant parents to find out the baby’s gender if they wish to do so.

It’s important to remember that these timelines are only set out as a guide and it’s entirely up to you when you choose to have your baby shower!

Baby shower pink cake decoration with flowers

What happens at a baby shower?

As we mentioned, a baby shower is an opportunity for friends and family to shower the expectant Mother in gifts for the new parents and little one. But what happens other than gift giving?

It's likely that not all of your guests will know each other, so we highly recommend a few ice-breaker activities to kick things off. Games can make up a huge part of a baby shower and are a great way to keep everyone engaged. Etsy is a great place to find downloadable PDFs which can be customised for the Mother-to-be. If you're doing a virtual baby shower, many of these games work perfectly online as well.

Predictions are also common at this time, with all the guests filling out a card to predict exciting facts about the baby such as weight, eye colour and future career. The Mother-to-be then keeps these as a memory of the day that she can look back on as the little one is growing up.

A baby shower wouldn’t be a baby shower without food, most commonly cakes and sweet treats. At baby showers, you’ll usually expect a few nibbles that will go down a treat with guests as well as free-flowing teas, coffee and soft drinks. If you want to spice things up, you could also offer some fizz (with alcoholic options, of course!). The options are endless when it comes to food and drink - we love grazing boards, ice cream bars and DIY mocktails!

If you're hosting your shower virtually, it's a lovely idea to send some sweet treats to your guests in the post, so everyone can enjoy them together!

Remember, each baby shower is different as there are no hard and fast rules of throwing the 'perfect’ baby shower - the most important thing is that the mother-to-be is able to relax and enjoy the celebration.

Baby shower table decorations with pink and flowers

Can you combine a baby shower and gender reveal?

Gender reveals have grown hugely in popularity thanks to our friends in the US! A gender reveal is exactly as it sounds – an opportunity for you and your loved ones to find out the gender of the baby with one big reveal.

How the gender is revealed with vary from couple to couple. Ideas range from confetti cannons to coloured cakes and everything in between. As a gender reveal is such a big celebration in itself, where friends and family are invited over for a baby shower style afternoon, many couples choose the combine the two and have a baby shower/gender reveal all in one.

If couples are combining a gender reveal with a baby shower, they will often have the baby shower take place slightly earlier.

Couples can usually find out the gender week scan, and so it can feel like a long time to wait to find out or reveal the gender if they wait four-six weeks until the due date.

Hopefully this has given you more information about planning your baby shower, including answers to our most commonly asked questions. If you'd like some help planning a showstopping baby shower that will be unforgettable, our events team would LOVE to help!

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