Congratulations! Someone close to you is going to be a parent, and you have the honor of throwing the baby shower. You are probably excited to come up with some great ideas for the food, the decor, the party favors, and more, and need to sort out the guest list. But along with these organizing responsibilities can come a steep price tag.
The truth is, though, with a bit of planning and creativity, you can host a very fun, very memorable party for the parents-to-be, their friends, and their family without breaking the bank. You might be able to find a venue that’s totally free, create the centerpieces yourself, and otherwise keep costs under control and on budget.
Read on for some inspiration.
Tips for Throwing a Great Baby Shower on a Budget
These inexpensive baby shower ideas can help you throw a memorable celebration for a mom-to-be and help her become better financially prepared for a baby.
Coming up with a Baby Shower Budget
Before you begin the planning process, it can help to determine the total you can spend on the event and then create a budget. You may also want to find out if family members from either side are willing to chip in financially or by offering to help make something for the party. When setting up your baby shower budget, you’ll likely want to include: the venue, invitations, decorations, food and drinks, entertainment and/or games, prizes and party favors.
Finding a Free (or Low-Cost) Venue
A baby shower doesn’t have to be at a fancy restaurant, hotel, or banquet hall to be festive. It could take place at your, or someone else’s, home. If you’re hosting a baby shower in warm weather. You might consider having it outdoors, such as in your backyard. You could even host a more casual shower with an outdoor barbeque or even a poolside party.
Other low-cost locales options include: a nearby park, the clubhouse of your (or someone else’s) apartment complex, or the meeting room at someone’s place of business.
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Limiting the Baby Shower Guest List
Generally, the more people you invite to the shower, the more money you will spend. To keep costs in check, you may want to consider limiting the invite list to the parent-to-be’s closest family and friends.
A smaller group not only cuts down on costs, but can also help to create a more intimate gathering that allows the guest of honor to spend time with each guest. It can be a good idea, however, to run the invite list by the expectant mom to be sure that you don’t exclude any important people.
Going Digital With Invitations
You can save money on baby shower invitations by using a digital service, such as Evite, Punchbowl, or Paperless Post. These sites and apps typically allow you to choose from a range of free baby shower invitation templates or, for a small fee, upgrade to a more elaborate design.
These sites also make it easy to keep track of responses. And, guests will likely appreciate the ability to RSVP with the click of a button. You may, however, want to send paper invites to older guests, particularly if they don’t use an email address often.
Ditching the Caterer
Feeding guests typically takes up the biggest portion of a baby shower budget. One way to help keep the cost of food down is to forgo the caterer and head to your local warehouse club (like Costco or Sam’s Club). You’ll likely be able to create a delicious spread of appetizers, finger foods, and desserts for a lot less than ordering trays from a catering company or restaurant.
Timing It Right
You can also cut down on food costs by not holding the shower right at lunch or dinner time. That way, guests won’t arrive expecting a full meal, and you’ll be able to serve a lighter menu that includes simple appetizers and snacks. A late-morning party can be particularly wallet-friendly. You might simply offer coffee, juice, fruit, and pastries. Or, you might opt for an afternoon tea and serve sweets and finger sandwiches.
Keeping the Cake Simple
Here’s another way to save money on food: A gourmet bakery cake can look beautiful, but it could easily bust your budget. To cut costs without sacrificing on taste, you might consider ordering a cake at your local grocery store’s bakery or the bakery at a wholesale club, then having it personalized (which the store will often do free of charge).
It’s a basic rule of personal finance that you’ll pay more when you farm tasks out versus doing them yourself, whether that means doing car maintenance or decorating for a party.
Fresh flowers look lovely, but they can get expensive if you order arrangements from a professional florist. Instead, you may want to head to your local farmers market, grocery store, or warehouse club to find flowers at reasonable prices that fit your color scheme, then make your own centerpieces.
A simple way to get great results is to use flowers in the same color family (like shades of pink or all white). You can pick up vases at the dollar store, or go with Mason jars, which look trendy and can be used for other purposes after the shower is over.
Printing Decor and Games for Free
Instead of racking up a big bill at the party store, you may want to comb the web for free baby shower printables. You can likely find food signs, games (like baby shower bingo), decorations, and favor tags that you can simply print right from your computer.
Making Edible Favors
Another baby shower budgeting tip for beginners: Sweets can make great favors, and you can easily bake them yourself without spending a lot. You may also find that there is a family member who would be delighted to take on this task. Edible favors can be as simple as iced sugar cookies (in your color scheme) or as elaborate as cake pops that look like baby rattles.
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Considering a Virtual Baby Shower
If the guest of honor’s family and friends are spread out all over the country, having a virtual baby shower is one way to include everyone that’s important, and also keep costs down. You can set a celebratory mood by choosing a Zoom background that fits the theme of your shower, and also include a link so guests can download the background as well.
Friends and family can watch the mom-to-be open gifts that were sent to her ahead of time. (In fact, you might save so much by doing a virtual shower that you can be more lavish with gifts. That might help your guests of honor save for the new baby.)
You can also organize games throughout the virtual baby shower and create a digital guest book that attendees can sign and share their words of wisdom for the expecting parents.
You can plan a memorable baby shower even on a limited budget. And, spending less doesn’t mean the event will be any less special.
Some easy ways to trim the cost of having a baby shower include: hosting the shower in your home or backyard, heading to your local warehouse club (for food, flowers, and even the cake), using free printables for decor and games, and giving homemade sweets as favors.
You can also make a baby shower more affordable by setting a budget and saving up enough money to cover it in advance (so you don’t end up relying on credit cards). Looking for a good place to build your party fund? Look for a bank account with low or no fees and a high interest rate.
Photo credit: iStock/vejaa
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