Much like planning a wedding shower for your best friend, sister, or your close co worker planning a baby shower comes with high expectations, budget issues, differing opinions, and so much more. It can be overwhelming and you may be thinking you JUST CAN’T DO IT. I am here to tell you first, yes you can and go grab a glass of wine. Now let’s get down to business. Here are a few of my own tips to planning a beautiful shower on any budget.
1.Designate who is in charge and is the main point person on the project.
Someone has to be the big Kahuna and make the tough decisions, right? Having a few extra hands to work and brains around to bounce ideas off of are great… but when there is no clear Queen B, things can get confusing really fast. The main point person is usually the person who’s house you will be using for the shower or a person who is very close to the guest of honor as they may know preferences, family members/dynamics (don’t seat Aunt Elma next to Cousin Sheryl unless you want a blow up!) and other pertinent information to the event.
2. Have the awkward $$ conversation at the very beginning.
The main issues in planning events where more than one person is “hosting” or in charge is that there is too many opinions and expectations and no one clearly communicates exactly what they are trying to say… or wants to avoid awkward conversations. Avoidance doesn’t help anyone here. Is it awkward to talk about money with people you are close with or even with strangers?? SURE IS, but it has to be done. So agree that there is no judgement and whatever someone can pitch in or contribute, is just fine. Knowing that there are no surprises when it comes to the budget and in turn the shower is much more gratifying than avoiding an awkward conversation.
3. Agree to respect and listen to everyones opinions.
If you are lucky and blessed enough to have many people who want to be involved and help with the planning an instrumentation of the shower, your are gonna have unique and differing opinions. Opinions about EV-ER-Y-THANG! You don’t want to hurt anyones feelings or alienate anyone, and hey, you may just get some ideas that surprise and delight you. Listen, accept, and decide.
4. Figure out a theme or color scheme.
As much as you may want to throw your hands in the air and scream “I GIVE UP!!”, with all the pressures your under from work, boyfriend/spouse, keeping up with workouts and diets, shopping for a gift, family pressures, etc., you can’t. You and I both know it wouldn’t be nice or right. Make time… yes you heard me, carve out a lunch, FaceTime call, coffee date or whatever to come up with a color scheme, theme or however you want to corral this event into something resembling organized and cute. You’ll be glad you did and a disorganized event is no fun- for the hosts or guests.
5. Delegate roles to entrusted helpers with clear deadlines.
This goes hand in hand with #4. Once you’ve settled on a theme and what you are and aren’t doing. No, Aunt Judy- thanks but we really don’t need your vocal talents at this event. You need to start making clear deadlines that everyone can work towards. Don’t leave everything to the last minute or else you’ll be hating yourself later for it.
RSVPS: Set the date for 2 weeks from before the event date. This ensures you get at least a week to reach out to those who have forgotten to respond and give the caterer a head count with enough notice (if you’re using one). If you aren’t using one whoever is doing the food/refreshments shouldn’t be purchasing a bulk of the goods until the week before because 1. Who has that much fridge space? And 2. If they are using any fresh items you don’t want them going bad.
DECOR: You can start buying/renting (reserve it and it will get delivered or picked up) as early as you want! With the exception of fresh florals or elements (think gourds, apples, etc.typically used in table scapes), most of this can be collected over time. You need to decide what extra stations you will be having. For example a photo and prop area, a cocktail table, a dessert display table, a sign in or gift table, that way you know what needs to be decorated.
FOOD: Make a plan to get it catered and go over wants and avoids with the caterer. Always order for a couple extra (most caters will already do this). If you are doing the food yourself, make a menu that doesn’t kill you, with a bulk of the items being things that you can assemble and go! Like salad kits, caprese salads on skewers, pre chopped fruit stored in gallon size bags or plastic containers, soups that can be warmed and served in a crock pot. Many of these are make ahead items and can save you so much time by only having to place them on a platter on the day of.
6. Expect and accept that things will go wrong, so have a plan B.
BE ON YOUR TOES WOMAN. Something will go wrong and you need to either have a plan B or accept it and go with the flow. Tia Beatriz always shows up with a random friend from Bingo… accept it and plan for it, you don’t have to like it but realize it’s a possibility and be ready for it. That way when it does happen you wont mind… as much… and will be as cool as that bottle of rosé chilling in the fridge.
7. Enlist some muscle to help lift and reach the heavy and high things before and after the event.
This is self explanatory but parties require heavy lifting and if you aren’t renting, you’ll be getting swole during set up curling those tables and chairs. This could be a brother, a dad, a fiancé, you’re really buff best girl friend, no matter who, just get some help. Remember you’ll want people to help before AND after the event.
8. Always over order on food and drinks.
I kind of touched upon this when I spoke of food in #5, but I really can’t stress it enough. At least for me (being Mexican, culturally, running out of food or drinks to serve is a tragedy!), this would be mortifying. I’d rather have some leftovers and know everyone was good and fed than for a guest to leave hungry.
9. Make your person of honor feel like a queen or goddess.
This is their special day! If they are a type A-ish personality (eheeemmm me ehheemmm), and want to help, don’t let them- or only let them in on certain aspects of planning so they feel like they are helping. Tell them to go get a mani/pedi, hair or make up done, or whatever. Maybe you want them to get a flower crown, sash or a special wine glass to drink from, don’t matter, just know they’ll really love and appreciate the extra special love and attention to detail that went into it.
10. Give yourself more time than you need for set up on the day of.
Set up takes time and inevitably someone is always running late and things just take longer than you think to happen. Give yourself extra time, no one wants to arrive to an event where the host isn’t there to greet and meet with them. With that being said, make sure the person of honor is there on time- if not early as well. People are there to celebrate, honor, and see them as well.
11. Have fun!!
After all this is a celebration! Yes, it can be stressful but in the end all you want to remember is how worth it it was to plan a celebration for someone you love and how great it turned out. You don’t want to remember the stress and/or drama.