Nicole Gazal O’Neil of Prêt-a-Party reveals her expert tips on planning a stylish soiree for a mother-to-be
Throwing a baby shower can be a huge undertaking – especially if the guest of honour has certain expectations about how it should be done! My advice? Ensure you are organised with your planning, and remember, it’s all in the details…
If the mother-to-be and her friends work, it is best to plan a time in the late afternoon or on the weekend. I prefer a morning tea or brunch shower because guests tend to consume fewer alcoholic beverages in the morning. There is nothing worse for the mother-to-be than sitting at her own shower with everyone around her tipsy on cocktails and champagne!
Invitations are extremely important, as they set the tone for the whole shower. I like to send ‘onesies’ with a tag attached asking each guest to decorate it for the impending arrival (I’ve seen some gorgeous creations). Another idea for involving all the guests is to ask everyone to bring a book inscribed by them to build the baby’s library. You can even send a personalised bookplate with each invitation. So many mothers have said how they have loved opening the books to read to their children throughout the years, and be reminded of how special their friends are. For last-minute showers, Paperless Post is my go-to. They have a huge array of designs, and it allows the hostess to see who has received the invitation, who’s coming and any additional messages.
Whether or not the sex of the baby is known, a theme is central to tying the event together. For gender-neutral showers the animals of Noah’s Ark or Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit are always gorgeous. Consider other colours than just pink or blue. Lilac and mint green are a beautiful choice for a baby girl shower, especially if the mother-to-be already has a daughter.
Don’t go overboard! A beautifully set table decorated with fresh, scented flowers, along with candles and a sprinkling of decorations is more than enough for a chic shower. Just ensure that everything is colour coordinated and in theme – even if that means hiring a table cloth and some cutlery and crockery. These days everything can be hired with a click of a button – from the most delicate of tea sets to white Louis chairs.
To play or not to play? That is the question. The term ‘Chic Baby Shower’ and ‘Games’ don’t usually appear together but I believe it’s totally possible to have both. Games are traditional to any shower and are a fun way to keep guests entertained while they get to know each other. I like handing out little cards so guests can write words of advice. While not quite a game – it’s a lovely souvenir for the mother-to-be to take home. Other games include estimating the number of dummies in the jar and passing around ribbons to guess how big the expectant mother’s belly is. Don’t forget the prizes – it’s amazing how involved and competitive people become when there is a gorgeous bag of Chanel beauty products or a bottle of vintage champagne to be won!
Another baby-shower tradition is the ‘take-home’ gift given to each guest as they leave. While this can be a very expensive exercise (I’ve organised forty five Hermés plates before) it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Some of my favourite ideas are plants in decorated pots, personalised note books, hand-bag umbrellas, lip gloss and my favourite – bottles of champagne with a note asking the guests to pop the cork when they receive news about the birth to toast the baby. (Who doesn’t like champagne?!)
Nicole Gazal O’Neil is the founder of Pret-a-party.com
Images courtesy of Ella Edwards (@dreammonstar)