Studio 5 Party, Holiday and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares three ways to make your party pop.
Theme is a very important part of planning a trendy and chic baby shower. Traditional baby shower themes or any shower theme can be made more chic by incorporating something as simple as a non traditional color. Color or patterns can be the theme itself with no additional focus necessarily needed. Specific themes that are trendy right now are:
• Eco-Friendly – send invites on recycled paper, ask guests to bring eco-friendly gifts and wrap them in eco friendly wraps, have the shower outdoors or at a nature type center, serve organic foods, plant a tree as a group in honor of the new baby, send everyone home with a package of seeds or a tree seedling as a favor, green décor (literally) would be appropriate for this “go green” shower. (There is a big nature motif trend right now so this type of shower could incorporate motifs such as owls, mushrooms, butterflies, etc.)
• Spa or Pamper Mom (and guests – ask guests to bring a gift for the new mom to help pamper her, have the shower set up like a spa, as activities have pedicures, manicures, simple back massages, facials, etc., a unique activity might be to make homemade lip gloss and let guests flavor their own, serve spa cuisine, favors could be nail polish, a towel, water bottles with creative label wraps, etc.
• Tea or Garden Party – decorate with lots of tulle, ask guests to come dressed in their finery and hats, serve tiny sandwiches, cakes, fruit, lemonade, etc., let everyone take home a teacup (purchase at thrift stores), a fun favor might be a packaged cupcake or pretty sugar cookie.
• Purse/Shoe Themed Party – invitation could read: “a new person-ality (or pursen-ality) has arrived!,” have everyone come wearing their hippest shoes and handbags – have a contest or fashion show, decorate with tissue peeking out of handbags, play a game where guests pull items out of their purses that correspond to an alphabet letter (first one to pull the item out that starts with the letter gets a point) or give points according to a list of items they might have in their purse, a prize might be a gift card to a shoe store, favors could include handbag or shoe accessories, sugar cookies in the shape of heels/handbags would be fun.
• So Sweet Party – have invitations state: “a sweet bundle has arrived from heaven” or something similar, include a sweet or tiny box of candy (or a candy rock sucker) with the invitation, decorate with jars of candy, a candy table with jars of candy and other sweets guests could fill little containers with – would make great favors, cupcakes could be incorporated as part of the theme, a chocolate fountain (or an entire chocolate shower) could also be an option for this type of party.
• Baby Princess/Prince – send out “royal” invitations to the “castle,” have a red carpet (roll of red paper) for guests to enter on, have a decorated chair or “throne” for the new mom to set on, incorporate LOTS of bling, an activitiy could be bracelet making, give tiaras to each guest as they arrive, have a wishing well where guest place wishes (and spare change) for the new baby, it might be fun to have guests dressed up semi-formal and have this a couples shower. This shower can be very elegant – and combined with a vintage feel. Avoid the little girl dress up type feel.
• Classic Photo – send invites out using a photo of the new baby, keep the décor classy and simple – a black and white color scheme might work well, enlarge photos of the new baby and hang from ceiling and place around room, use photos on everything from napkin rings to favors (see my Studio 5 segment on Using Photos in your Party Décor: http://studio5.ksl.com/?sid=6242863&nid=54), a matted photo of baby where guests sign the mat would be a nice keepsake for mom, guests could be asked to bring photo related gifts (scrapbook supplies, albums, gift cards for photo printing etc.) or go in on a photo session for baby. A fabulous baby photographer I especially like is Emily Jane Photography: ww.emilyjanephotography.com/ , a favor could be the new baby’s photo wrapped around a candy bar.
• Umbrella – a fun invitation would be tiny umbrellas with the invite written on the umbrella or attached, decorate around a trendy patterned umbrella, hang actual umbrellas from the ceiling as décor, place an upside down open umbrella on a table filled with paper shred to nestle favors or treats in, trendy rubber boots could be used in the décor, real umbrellas could be used for favors (purchase at dollar type stores).
• Yellow Rubber Ducks – decorate with bright yellow, float new ducks in the punchbowl, place ducks in a baby tub and mark the bottom of several and guests can choose one to see if they win a prize, this would be a fun poolside shower.
• Everything Flowers – use flowers in everything from invitations to favors, gerbera daisies would be a great choice.
• Vintage – this could also have a tea party feel to it, decorate with vintage baby items, vintage baby (family) photos, use silver (tarnished adds!) vases/pitchers filled with roses or silver platters for refreshments, incorporate vintage looking lace and tablecloths, anything shabby chic looking would work here.
• Birthday – have a “birth-day” party themed shower, this theme would be like a birthday party (cake, hats, favor bags, etc.), make it upscale and classy.
• Charity or Service – a trendy shower theme is to do charity or service as part of the shower, guests could be asked to bring an additional baby item/book to donate to a women’s shelter, baby quilts could be tied for a children’s hospital, etc.
The use of color can make a shower totally hip. Use colors and color combinations currently popular in the fashion and home décor industries to make a baby shower very trendy. One of my favorites is a black and white shower with a color pop such as lime, hot pink or bright yellow. Other colors that would be really fashionable would be: aqua/red, aqua/brown, pink/brown, lime green/brown, bright citrus colors, yellow/grey, red/aqua, all shades of pink, orange/aqua, etc. a fun twist would be to ask guests to wear the featured color(s) to the shower.
Just like colors, patterns can be the focal point of a shower. Patterns such as polka dots, stripes or damask are very popular right now. Another great use of patterns for a baby shower would be animal prints. Animal prints are also very hot right now. Use a trendy color along with a pattern for a fun look.
Creating the right mood or atmosphere is important when planning and giving a shower. Consider your guests and their personalities, their interests as well as their relationship to the new mom. Do you want a whimsical feel or a more classic feel? Do you want a soothing or more energetic feel to the shower? The mood or tone can be set before the shower even happens by the type of invitations that are sent. Another great way to create a mood is with décor, lighting and even music. Other things that help create mood range from where the shower is held, to activities, to the food served.
• Activities: As a shower hostess, make sure that guests feel welcome and appreciated for coming to support the mom to be. Pay attention to detail whether it be in the place cards, favors or the invitations themselves. If you choose to have an open house type shower make sure to plan some type of simple activity/interaction for the guests and avoid the “just come by anytime and drop off your gift” type of feel. Showers that have everyone arrive at once and are kept to one hour can be refreshing and enjoyable especially if a light luncheon is served. Not everyone likes games so determine who your guests will be and plan accordingly. If your shower is all family, different activities/games can be planned versus a shower where all the guests don’t know one another. A fun activity would be to ask everyone to bring an item for a time capsule that the baby will open in 20 years or so. Ask everyone to also write a wish for the baby to include in the time capsule. Another take on this would be to assign each guest a number and to write a short note or letter to the baby. The baby then opens that note or letter on the number of birthday that corresponds to each guest (so if someone had a 10, the baby will open that letter on their 10th birthday).
• Décor: Decorate around your theme as each theme will be different. Decorations can be very simple and inexpensive. One of my favorite ways to decorate is to wrap several sizes of boxes with trendy wrapping paper and big bows and use as a centerpieces, add gif bags with tissue peeking out among the boxes. Decorate with items such as baby photos or strands of tiny lights. Often the food table(s) can be the focal point of your décor. Diaper cakes are often used as a centerpiece. If you wish to make one, make them chic and trendy by using trendy colors, ribbon, flowers, etc. on the diaper cake. (To learn how to make a diaper cake, Google “diaper cake” or look under images to find hundreds of examples. There are also You Tube videos on how to assemble them).
• Food: Serve trendy food such as panini sandwiches, sushi, brownie pops, unique salads/desserts or spa type fare. Another fun trend is to serve a variety of tiny bite sized appetizers. Cupcakes are all the rage right now as well and placed on tiers would make a fun centerpiece. A baby cake for the mom to cut would also be a fun idea. A candy table for guests to scoop their choice out of jars is a really hot trend right now and a perfect idea for a baby shower. A nice luncheon with assigned seating and beautiful decorated tables is always a perfect choice for a shower. This doesn’t need to be expensive. Serve simple food served on more formal dishware. Use cloth napkins and have someone serve guests. A breakfast shower would be a great choice. Take time to make the presentation of food or refreshments classy. For example add bling to pacifiers and use as napkin rings, or add a trendy ribbon and flower around a baby bottle and add a straw and use for drinking glasses…be creative.
• Favors: I feel that as a hostess, it is always appropriate to send home guests with a favor or a token of appreciation for taking the time and expense to come to the shower. Favors do not have to be expensive but are always better if they are consumable or something useful. A simple basket filled with favors by the door can work well or place a favor at each place setting at a meal. A simple candy wrapped in a pretty box can be lovely. A very general favor could be a shower item (glycerin soap, bath crystals, shower gel, etc.) and a tag saying “thank you for coming to the shower now this is for your shower…)