Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby shower blues

For a decade I’ve I lovingly, and only somewhat jokingly, referred to myself as a professional wedding guest, albeit one that paid to attend the nuptials. For example, last year we attended four weddings in four states. So I’m quite familiar with the bridal shower traditions.

Yet when it comes to baby showers it’s a bit more mysterious. I’ve had what seems like a bazillion friends give birth or get pregnant in the last year, but most have been states away or people through work so I haven’t attended a full-fledged baby shower in a while. I’ve thrown a baby shower in my time, but the child in question is now sadly 7 years old. How she grew so fast I don’t know, because I certainly can’t be 7 years older myself.

So when faced with the prospect of throwing a baby shower for my sister-in-law, which I excitedly volunteered to do the first time I saw her after she told me she was pregnant, I did what any 30-something would do. I logged onto BabyCenter and The Bump for ideas. But what I found surprised me. My jaw dropped and my eyes bulged at the trends. Custom wedding-like invitations. Serious food spreads. Expensive favors and elaborate themes. Renting venues.

What happened to a sweet intimate party at home where the focus isn’t on the locale, but rather getting to dish with the mom-to-be about the nursery, sympathizing over pregnancy symptoms and the impending labor, and cooing over cute outfits and baby gifts?

One woman on BabyCenter’s forums bragged that she threw herself a “low-cost” baby shower and was very happy with the result. The price tag for that low-cost shindig? $,2,000. No, I’m not kidding. And that’s before me getting started about the mom-to-be throwing her own party.

And, yes, I realize I sound a bit crotchety. And, yes, I realize I sound REALLY old. But when did baby showers become mini-weddings?

Now I’ve got anxiety about the baby showers measuring up to the pressure of the online forums when I co-host two showers for my sister-in-law next month. Am I alone in this sentiment? What were the best parts of your baby shower? Any tips you can send my way for a memorable and sweet celebration of the mom-to-be and my soon-to-arrive niece or nephew?

Jennifer Erickson is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist and won’t even entertain the idea of a game that measures the mom-to-be’s baby bump.


  1. I spent $500 for my baby shower. My MIL hosted and cooked EVERYTHING. Since she flew in from Florida just to host a baby shower and help paint the nursery, we paid for the food and drinks.

    The best part was sharing our favorite foods with our close friends. Yes, there was 50-ish people in our house, but half of them were children since we invited full families. Our baby shower truly ended up being like any other gathering with the added bonus of baby gifts.

  2. My shower was hosted by three friends at one of their homes. It certainly didn't cost $500! There was a cake, and some yummy food (I think bought at costco!), and lots of my girlfriends and family and we sat around laughing at baby stories, cooing at gifts and outfits, and enjoying each others' company. No silly games, no crazy-expensive invitations (I don't know for sure, but I'd guess they were bought at Target and printed on my hostesses' computer.). The whole point of a shower isn't to spend boo-koo money, it's to celebrate the impending arrival of a new person!

  3. I just had an amazing baby shower that was at a venue and had about 35 people attend. However, I had 8 WONDERFUL women through me the shower. I can't imagine that it cost them more than about $50-75 each. Probably lower than that b/c my food was from Sam's and most of the girls who threw it had their own trade. EX:One is a baker, one has a sister who is a florist, one is a graphic designer and created my invitations. Just a few examples of how they all worked together. It was a fabulous time and the decorations weren't over board. And they rented our clubhouse in our neighborhood.

    I know my friends and even myself are extremely thrifty;however, we definitely know how to throw a party. It was just perfect and they didn't go overboard with stuff everywhere. They made it about my friends and me, not the decorations or overdoing the food.

    There are ways to have a fabulous shower without going to extremes. And it's about the people you share it with, not all the GAMES, FOOD, and DECORATIONS. A little moderation of it all is just perfect!!