How to Have a UK Baby Shower by Ally Atkins

The word ‘baby shower’ generates a fairly specific set of images to many people.  To some it involves an afternoon filled with over-the-top themed decorations, themed food, themed games and baby-talk. This is the legacy of the stereotypical American baby shower.

My own insight and one that suits us rather self-aware Brits is to curb the over-the-top themed décor – we all know less is more. Get a gaggle of girlfriends together and indulge in an afternoon of delicious finger foods, champagne, alcohol free cocktails, laughter in abundance and plenty of advice for mummy-to-be.

My personal notion of what a baby shower should be about came after the birth of my first daughter. I’d always had the American stereotype in mind and didn’t consider organising such an event for myself.

However, after having my daughter and finding my life turned upside down and back-to-front, I did feel there should be a more ‘British’ way for ladies to celebrate such a life-changing event. A baby shower is, after all, a celebration – of the mother as much as the baby. It’s akin to a hen night but with less alcohol – a rallying of the troops, all the girls together with tips and advice about what is in store.

Becoming pregnant has to be the most life-changing event of all. While we’re familiar with celebrating the key birthdays, engagements, marriages, retirements and even divorces, pregnancy isn’t usually on the radar. In Britain we have gatherings once the baby arrives so all friends and relatives have the chance to have a peek and pass on messages of congratulations. However, this focus is on the arrival of the baby. What about the mum?

Baby showers are fun! They all have that in common but, rather than focusing on over-the-top themes and embarrassing games, move the emphasis to showing mummy-to-be she has a support network and give all the tips and advice you can think of!  Make a fuss of her, it’s all going to be about the child(ren) from here on in! Perhaps we should call it a ‘Mummy Shower!’

So, how do you go about it? Decorations are important but think about the pregnant mother’s tastes – vintage tableware is becoming very popular along with a few baby themed balloons and the odd banner or pieces of bunting adorning the walls. Mix flowers, butterflies, pastel colours and shabby chic in with the baby theme. This breaks it up and creates a well-designed party space to get the girls together. The Ultimate Baby Shower doesn’t just focus on the well-known baby themes, I’ve purposefully sourced a wide range of elegant girlie themes to mix and match to create a stylish room(s).

Games don’t need to be the sole focus and they certainly don’t need to be woefully embarrassing – as so many are. Baby trivia is a great ice breaker to encourage guests to mingle and laugh together; another popular one we have sourced involves baby scan photos and a list of baby parts to identify – much harder than you may imagine. Perhaps the most important is the advice cards. Every new mummy should have a set of advice cards from her close friends / relatives. They are there to look at at any time and some favours to call in would never go amiss….

Delicious food – canapés, a buffet or the ever-popular afternoon tea – is important and provides a natural break. Champagne and / or alcohol free cocktails create a refined table setting. Put out all the favours (thank you gifts) for guests to see and admire before they take them home. We have a huge range of beautifully designed favours and receive fabulous feedback regarding their impact – definitely worth a look.

What about the gifts? A stereotypical baby shower does tend to have too much emphasis on the gifts, which can be off-putting. Many people prefer to give the gifts after baby has arrived and this tends to suit us more superstitious Brits. If this is preferred then put a note on the invitation that you’re having a ‘mummy shower’ and gifts are not necessary. Saying that though, some parents-to-be do need help preparing for a new baby. In this case it may be a good idea to create a gift list, which we offer at The Ultimate Baby Shower. It doesn’t need to involve hugely expensive items but getting the essentials together before baby arrives can be a great start. We offer a wealth of advice to help putting these lists together.

Finally, to the guests – I’ve read a number of articles lately about men being invited to baby showers and the fact that couples baby showers are becoming the in-thing. I have to say I disagree with that, and judging by the comments on Twitter I’d say the men are not too keen either. It is customary for the new dad to wet the baby’s head after the birth and celebrate with his friends in that way. The baby shower is about celebrating the mum and nobody can do this better than her girlfriends.  It’s about creating a support network, which will be there long after the little addition arrives.

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Filed under: How to Have a Baby Shower

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