How to Host a Hip and Affordable Baby Shower

So you have decided to host a  shower for your preggo friend(s). First, trust me, it will be awesome. Second, below are some tips for you to make it a hip and affordable baby shower.

1. Commit to hosting said shower before consulting with your roommate/significant other/partner, what have you. Honestly, that is my advice for anything when it comes to your honey-love. Also, commit to (co)organizing large events multiple weekends in a row. That is my key to keeping the passion (i.e., rage) alive.

2. Start planning months before, but don't actually do anything until the few days leading up to it. For us, this translated to cleaning, weeding, cooking, purchasing and not sleeping Thursday and Friday.

3. In terms of Pinterest, that site can suck it. But still look at it for ideas and then feel like a failure when they don't work out. Below are our additions to the Pinterest-world if i figure out how to upload the images to that damn site.

Mason jars with chalkboard paint and tiny babies hot glued to them. Obviously.

Mason jars with chalkboard paint and tiny babies hot glued to them. Obviously.

Guess what the baby will look like by cutting up pictures of the mom and dad to make your own. We used chalkboard paint for the frame and instructions.

Guess what the baby will look like by cutting up pictures of the mom and dad to make your own. We used chalkboard paint for the frame and instructions.

The (somewhat terrifying) results

The (somewhat terrifying) results. The mom and dad to be chose the winner at the end of the party

4. When it comes to decorations, beg, borrow and steal from anyone. We needed tables, chairs, table cloths, etc. I strapped my kid on top of the car and was able to gather enough items to seat our friends. Now I have to get them back...next year.

I hit up the huge new Salvation Army on Clybourn and picked up some shabby-chic sheets. Threw those babies in the washer and used some hem tape to make a few tablecloths. Or fold them in half and use the whole sheet. We tied the cloths to the table legs with some twine to keep them from blowing around and it seemed to work nicely with the overall theme. My only other piece of advice is to actually take the bag of sheets with you when you exit the resale shop vs. leaving them on the counter.  Obvious, yet I neglected to walk out with a damn thing after paying.

And there are of course the random Craigslist people you meet out in an empty parking lot near O'Hare to pick up 20 paper lanterns. Alone. Good decisions all around.

I also recommend raiding your grandma's china cabinet and/or resale shops/flea markets for cute little vases, cups, bric-a-brac. While somewhat feminine, these items don't aut0matically turn the co-ed party into a gabfest about the latest dude on the cover of TigerBeat.

And spend lots of quality time with your co-planners making cute things out of paper instead of cleaning or doing whatever boring crap you should be doing, like working.

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5. Shower games. I know people are divided on these and they most often are used for groups  of partygoers that might not know each other. Since the mom-to-be specifically requested that we NOT play  games, we clearly had to orchestrate something. Cue graphic designer friends and pop culture aficionados and you end up with these beauties.

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Everyone graded each others quizzes and cursed the winner.

Everyone graded each others quizzes and cursed the winner.

Game on!

Game on!

Basically, you want one game that proves how crappy of friends everyone else is with the mom/dad to be (baby trivia), a game that your one crazy pop-culture obsessed friend will dominate (match babies with their celebrity parents), and one that everyone can enjoy (babygories...pick letters and fill in the spaces). Three rounds of the latter was definitely enough for the crowd. For prizes, we moved away from the dollar store crap we bought for our friends' "Fetus Fiesta" a few years back, and picked up a few plants. They are still sitting outside. Ungrateful bastards. Our friends, not the plants.

Skip the gross games, people. No one wants to eat a chocolate bar out of a diaper. NO ONE.

6. Food. Have lots of it. The woman is pregnant for God's sakes. And why organize a whole party if you don't have lots of food? We prepped most of it the night before (marinades, etc) and skewered things day of.  Friends also brought lots of dishes to share which was wonderful. I of course visited four grocery stores to pick up items, and am enjoying the left overs like the gluttonous beast that I am.

7. Invite my friend Gretchen over. Guaranteed good time (get your mind out of the gutter). Or find yourself your own Gretchen (good luck!) Seriously, your friends aren't as great. It's OK though. You can make up for it by providing activities for the little ones so their parents can enjoy the party. We had tents (10 bucks), kid picnic table, art supplies, water table, etc. And a gated yard. That probably is the most important thing to keep the party under control.

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8. We expected people to stay late so we had candles ready to go to keep the momentum going. And wine. Lots of both.

Baby loves fire.

Baby loves fire.

9. And give lots of presents. Because babies are the best thing in the whole world. Even better than Gretchen.

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10. Let me know if you need any help. I am totally free this weekend except for a block party and serving as a matron of honor in a wedding. AND SERBFEST! OK, I am exaggerating. The wedding is next weekend.

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    Annie Swingen

    Chicago-based hyperbole enthusiast. Mom to a kid and sometimes my mom. Overboard (1987) obsessed weirdo. I like the funnies in life.

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