A couple of weeks ago I threw the most beautiful baby shower for my girlfriend Amanda. It was by far one of the easiest and chicest events I have ever planned. When you are planning a baby shower it doesn’t have to be all the traditional things that you think of – if it’s a girl it doesn’t have to be pink, if it’s a boy it doesn’t have to be blue and you do not need to play cheesy shower games. Additionally, the mama-to-be does not need to open every gift she receives in front of everyone. Make the shower a representation of who you are throwing it for.
Tip #1: Ask the mom-to-be what she likes.
Tell her to be honest with you. Are there any colors she dislikes? What food doesn’t she want on the menu? Who does she want to invite? Does she want to play shower games? Does she want to open gifts? These are all important questions to ask because the day should be all about her and she should be comfortable. This seems obvious, but when you are planning for someone else make sure it is planned around what they like.
For my mom-to-be, she did not want pink. I was inspired by a Bon Vivant Cake to create a unique palette of colors and I ran with it. I wanted to do non-traditional décor and I didn’t want there to be a lot of stuff in the room.
Tip #2: Select non-traditional décor and choose a focal point.
Pick a focal point for the room. Whether it be the dessert table or an empty wall that you fill, there needs to be a spot where guest’s eyes naturally gravitate. Afterall, this is the spot that will be used for photo opps! For this I had Luft Balloons build an epic wall installation. They offer custom balloon colors so they matched our color palette perfectly. It was the first thing guests saw when they walked into the room. We also decided against flower centerpieces because Amanda loves balloons! We had Luft create a stunning centerpiece for the table and it was another wonderful way to include something that our mama-to-be loves.
Tip #3: Find a place to throw your shower that is already aesthetically beautiful.
The more beautiful the venue, the less work it takes. I chose Brique, which is owned and catered by Boutique Bites. The self-proclaimed, Napa Valley meets Nantucket West Loop space can accommodate 150 guests seated or 200 guests cocktail style. It was founded in 2008 by Elaina Vazquez with the goal of creating a restaurant style experience at catered events. Amanda had expressed that she loved this space so it was first on my list of places to check out.
It’s the perfect venue if you live in Chicago. It is well lit, has high ceilings and is a stunning blank canvas that can be decorated however you want. It was a beautiful space and it didn’t take a lot to fill out. The bonus is that the venue caters, which kills two birds with one stone. If you haven’t seen their catering before, you need to check it out – it is amazing and so delicious.
Tip #4: Ditch the games.
It’s okay to ditch those cheesy baby shower games. However, if your mom-to-be wants them, go for it! No matter what, it is important to have an activity. Entertainment is a must to fill the time. Otherwise, what does a shower really consist of? Gifts and eating, and there needs to be something a little more. We chose Crowning Event and I cannot say enough good things about this amazing company. They offer two options: they can make guests flower crowns or they can teach guests how to make them. You never know how a group is going to take to an activity. They might be super into it or they might not want to do it at all.
When our guests learned that these florals could be turned into flower crowns, they jumped out of their seats and surrounded the table. We created some of the most beautiful flower crowns (literally Beyonce-worthy), our guests learned something and went home with a gorgeous takeaway. It is so fun, provided countless photo opps and was an awesome bonding activity. You could do this at any event – bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, you name it.
Tip #5: It’s all about the food.
Food makes people happy and Boutique Bites creates perfect, beautiful little bites. We also had an action station where everyone could select their toppings and watch chefs create custom grilled cheese sandwiches. It went over really well, created movement within the room and amplified our focal point.
Another wildly popular element to our food set up was the deconstructed salad table. This is something that is super easy to recreate at home and I did it on a much smaller scale for a dinner party. It featured all the delicious items you would see in a salad but was spread out on butcher’s paper so guests could create their own salad. This would be easy to do with prosciutto and cheese, and sweets too. It was another fun action station that got people involved!
Photo Credit: Hallie Duesenberg