Baby Shower on a Budget
Make it beautiful without breaking the bank!
Along with the honor of hosting your friend or loved one’s baby shower also comes the stress of paying for it. To help you and your loved ones can celebrate the miracle of life without going broke we’ve come up with some ingenious ways that you can cut back on the cost without looking like you’re cutting corners.
Yes, you can get it all done, from setting a date, sending out invitations, and finding a venue to decorating, planning the menu, organizing games, and shopping for the prizes and party favors without ending up in the poor house.
Location: The average cost of the venue is 5 percent of your overall budget. So, instead of hosting the event at a restaurant or club, consider having the baby shower at your home or at another relative or friend’s home. Also, holding the party in a public space like a park, community center, or church hall can be an inexpensive option. If hosting in a public space, make sure to check on whether the location requires a permit. You’ll also need to put a rain plan in place if you choose an outdoor venue. When choosing your venue consider whether or not you will need to rent furniture. If you need to, that can take another 5% of your budget. You can save by not having this cost if you are hosting the shower in a home or someplace that has tables and seating already there.
Invitations & Stationery: At an average cost of 10 percent of the overall budget, here is a great chance for you to save money by sending invitations online. Depending on the number of people you can send invitations through email or text message or use an online service like Paperless Post, Evite, or MyPunchbowl. Plus, guests will appreciate the ease of RSVPing via email, and you’ll feel good about saving money and trees. If mom-to-be’s grandma and great auntie are attending, you might want to personally invite them. And, by all means, include the menfolk! Invite the dad-to-be, his friends, and the husbands of your lady guests.
Instead of a guest book, cut out dozens of stars from heavy card stock. Ask guests to pen their well wishes to baby. Later, paste the stars into a baby book under the heading “A Star Is Born.” Or use raindrops and paste them with the heading “Showered With Love.” You could also take a sonogram or Mom-to-be picture and have the guests sign the mat around it.
Also, a great alternative to a guest book is an advice jar. Each guest writes down advice for the new mom and slips the paper in a jar. The recipient can frame the advice or store the jar as a keepsake in the nursery instead of having a book that sits in a closet just gathering dust.
Another great idea to do during the shower is to take some river stones and let your guests leave their wishes and words of wisdom on them. Then pop the blessing stones into a glass vase so the mom-to-be can display their beautiful words.
Decorations: Once again, these take up on average 5% (10% if you include flowers) of the total budget. Buying in bulk is one way to save. Compare online warehouse prices to those at your local store. You can also find big savings by using latex balloons instead of Mylar — a balloon bouquet with dozens of latex balloons will make a big statement. Be sure to check out the Dollar Tree, both online and your local neighborhood one, both are a great place to get decorations, party favors, dishes, and cups inexpensively. You can also find some great baby shower ideas on their website.
Just be sure to choose a color scheme to tie everything together. Without one, DIY or dollar store decorations can sometimes not only look disjointed or uncoordinated but also cheap.
While you are decorating, set a few disposable cameras around for guests to capture memories of the shower for the mom-to-be.
Have fun with a themed party! Anything goes from Winnie the Pooh to Taco about a Baby Shower can all be done on a limited budget. For a woodland or flower theme, look to your local farmer’s market or you could make paper flower arrangements. Just remember no matter how extravagant or simple the baby shower, what people will remember will be the funny moments and activities that they took part in to make the day special and memorable for the expectant mom.
Party Favors: Look around your house! You’d be surprised how many shower gifts you already have. You can also create memory coasters for every guest at your shower can take home. To create a personalized coaster to remind them of your incredible party, trace and cut hearts, raindrops, or stars from a piece of craft leather and write each guest’s name on one with a paint pen.
You can also send each guest home with a cute cookie, cupcake, or mini cake. An inexpensive way to make mini cakes is g use a cookie cutter to cut out mini cakes from a large sheet cake. Check out these cute mini flower cakes that are dipped in white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles. There are also hundreds of ideas on Pinterest for inexpensive yet super adorable party favors. I have some of my favorites pinned on my Parties and Games board. One of them is a candle with this verse, “Burn this tea light on the night, once the stork has made his flight. With a flicker of the flame, please say a prayer in baby’s name.”
Food and Drink: With food and drink accounting for 40% of most budgets with a little bit of creativity this is a great place to save big. Skip the caterers and hired help. Even without any cooking experience, you can create a fun spread for everyone. Get Cooking! From baby poo meatballs and newborn baby deviled eggs to tea sandwiches and punches with cute little yellow ducklings floating in it you can do it. When it comes to party food Pinterest is your friend. There are literally thousands of pins dedicated to the topic. Some of my favorites are the healthiest and easiest ones to do. With your shopping list in hand, head to your local discount grocery store for ingredients. On the day of the shower, set up a buffet and let guests serve themselves.
When it comes to desserts this is a great time to enlist family and friends to help. Do you have someone that makes something special every holiday or is grandma’s cake the best you’ve ever tasted? Ask them to make one or bring a few batches. Another option is to set up a DIY decorating station and provide prebaked plain cupcakes and/or cookies, frosting, and topping options.
Entertainment, Games, and Prizes: No need for a DJ or anything elaborate. Just make a playlist that will appeal to the guests and turn on your iPod. This is where you can really get creative and have a lot of fun for very little money. Once again look around your home for prizes. Think plants, unused beauty products, purse or wallet, earbuds, candles, etc. Even the party centerpiece could be a prize! Anything that will motivate guests to put some effort in when participating in the games will work.
After your guests have arrived and had a chance to mingle a bit it’s time for games. Forget the paper and pencil games and go for fun minute to win it games like using a bulb nasal aspirator to put mini marshmallows in a baby bottle or diapering the cabbage patch baby blindfolded. Also, hearing one of your guests shout my water broke when their baby is free of the ice cube first is always good for a laugh. Another fun idea is to ask each guest for a baby picture. Display the baby pictures and have guests guess who’s who. Whoever gets the most right wins.
Do go overboard and have too many games. A good rule of thumb is to have 3 or 4 and for them to take only 25% of the total party time. So if you are doing a two-hour party, games should only last 30 minutes. Balance game time with activities that guests can be a part of to create a keepsake for the new mom.
Even if you aren’t Martha Stewart or an Iron Chef, you can still have a fabulous yet inexpensive baby shower. You just need to know where to go (Pinterest, Lidl, Aldi, Costo, Dollar Tree, The Dollar Store, etc) and set aside enough time to prepare. While you’re planning, remember you are trying to create memories, so go for the experience of being together. Be sure to check out our checklist. It will help you stay organized as you plan a baby shower.