How to Throw the Most Fabulous (and Frugal) Baby Shower of all Time

by Janey Osterlind on 2 April 2011 6 comments

One of my very best friends in the whole world is having her first baby this August and I’m excited to help her celebrate by throwing the best baby shower of all time. While I’d like to say the sky’s the limit as far as budget goes, unfortunately, my funds are actually quite limited. So how do I plan to throw the best baby shower in the history of the world, without spending myself into the poorhouse? So glad you asked! (See also: Build a Better Baby Shower)

The Invitations

Homemade invitations are generally the least expensive way to go when it comes to making invitations for your baby shower. I plan on buying some colorful cardstock and a border punch used for scrapbooking. Other embellishments include die-cut paper (wonderful for dressing up the cardstock), die-cut ribbon, and rub-on borders. For ease of printing, plan on making two or four invitations per 8.5”x11” piece of cardstock. Lay out your wording in Microsoft Word or with a free online template (search for “free baby shower invitation templates”), print, cut, and decorate.

Other inexpensive (or free!) invites include e-mail invitations like those found on Evite.com, or you can buy pre-printed invitations relatively cheaply from a site like Tiny Prints, a personal favorite of mine. Invitations on Tiny Prints start for as low as $0.59 per card.

The Venue

Baby showers are often held in the hostess’ own home, which is, of course, free. In my case, my little abode won’t accommodate the number of guests who will be attending, so I’m relying on the generosity of my friend’s (and mommy-to-be) mother to open her home. If you’re not so lucky or if you prefer to think outside the home for a baby shower venue, consider having the shower in an outdoor location like a park — just remember to keep the comfort of the guest of honor in mind before planning an outdoor shower in August! Other frugal venue choices include churches or Jewish Community Centers, where rental fees are generally less than banquet space at a hotel or restaurant.

The Food

When it comes to food, simplicity is key. Not only will it save your sanity when planning a baby shower for 50 (as I am); it will also save your wallet. I plan on enlisting several close friends to each bring one hors d'oeuvre — that way, I’m not burnt out from preparing numerous dishes, and my friends get to exhibit their fabulous culinary skills. As a matter of logistics, I’d recommend only cold or room-temperature dishes, since coordinating oven cooking times and outlets for crock pots can get onerous. If you need some inspiration for easy-to-make finger foods, try checking out this article on frugal office party dishes.

For the pièce de résistance, I intend to honor the mommy-to-be with some fabulous, frugal desserts — cake pops, to be exact. Try making your own or, if cake pops aren’t your thing, find some bright ideas for baby shower-themed cupcakes at MarthaStewart.com.

The Gifts

One of my all time favorite baby shower gifts I’ve seen was a nested toy box set. The gift giver had purchased three unfinished wooden boxes of different sizes and painted them with whimsical animals and finished them with snippets of nursery rhymes winding around the boxes’ sides. If you’re creative, try something similar with a memento box or photo box. If you want a meaningful present without the hassle, take a look at some of the handmade gifts on Etsy.com for one-of-a-kind items.

The Entertainment

When I did some preliminary research about baby shower games, I found that suggestions are nearly endless. People are apparently suckers for a good baby-themed game. The nice thing about this is that the cost of putting together any one of these games costs nary a penny. The downside, though, is that I have to find something that my mommy-to-be friend doesn’t find tacky (and frankly, I’m with her — no poopy diaper game for our crowd, thank you). With a comprehensive list of games like the one found at BabyCenter.com, I’m sure I’ll find something that satisfies both my budget and my friend.

The Favors

As with most things, favors are generally less expensive if they’re something that can be made rather than purchased. In my case, I’ll be making cake pop “bouquets” for each guest to take home: they’re tasty, they’re easy, and they’re a whole lot less expensive than a personalized candle. You can make pretty much any edible treat a favor by packaging it appealingly — try cookies in cellophane and ribbon matching the shower theme, or muffin mix in tins with computer-generated labels.

So there’s my quick guide to throwing the most frugal, fabulous baby shower in the history of the world! Will I do it for my own BFF? I don’t know, but I plan to try! Any tips or thoughts for me? Share your insights in the comments!

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Guest's picture
Guest

Another great way to do invitations is to design a 4x6 picture, and have them printed at Sam's Club or Costco. Last I checked, prints were about $0.14 each. And, if you are really tight on cash, they can be send as postcards, so you save on envelope costs, and reduced postage.

The best refreshments I have ever been a part of was when my sister and I did a baby shower for our other sister and served pie. Anyone that called and asked what they could bring, we told them a pie of their choice. I was amazed that we had almost no repeats. It was fabulous and pretty simple.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the advice! We are expecting in October and this will help Mrs. SPF a lot.

Guest's picture
Ron Ablang

One game that always seems to be played is the one where each guest receives a necklace. If that person says "baby" or crosses their legs, they have to give up their necklace to whoever caused them to violate the rule.

Winner at the end is the one who has the most necklaces.

What games do you guys play?

Janey Osterlind's picture

I like the "don't say baby" game, although I'm also partial to quiz games (match the celebrity baby name to the celebrity) and trivia games (nursery rhyme trivia). In the case of my upcoming shower, there will be too many guests to get them all up and moving in an action-oriented game!

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Karen

I hosted my daughter-in-law's baby shower last year and everyone there said they hadn't had so much fun, which made me feel really good because I'd never planned a baby shower before. We all had a blast, even all the dads and the father to be had fun!

I made custom laminated bookmarks as a part of the little favors in the goodie bags that I handed out and everyone loved them. Bookmarks really do make cute and practical favors for baby showers because you can customize them in so many ways!

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Guest

Hi Karen,

What did you do that made it so much fun? I'm helping my BF's sister out with the baby shower and I'm looking for some really good games/activities. Thanks :-)