Successfully Planning an Office Baby Shower
This can be both fun and challenging as you may be planning for your best friend or a casual acquaintance. You may have volunteered to be the planner and I am sure there are some of you who have been assigned the duty. You are likely to encounter all types of restrictions and guidelines when it comes to decorating and selecting a location but if you follow these steps and tips you may be surprised at how much fun it can be!
First you definitely would benefit from having some help so I would suggest that you ask other members on your team or friends of the expectant mother if they would be willing to give you a hand. If you already have help then you are good to go! It would be nice if you had someone to be the caterer, someone to be the decorator, a photographer and a host. If it is not possible to have four people then you could probably divide the duties of the host and photographer between two persons. If you can’t find help or if you are not comfortable asking for it then you can definitely handle it all on your own but since you are likely to be doing some of that planning in the workplace, be sure to give your self plenty of time so that it will not interfere with your normal work load.
Once you have all the help you can find, you should go on and set a date and make the necessary reservations! This date should be approximately one month before the expectant mother’s last day of work. Be sure that you do not plan on having the Baby Shower on a day that there is a company meeting or event. Check with the expectant mother to be sure she does not have any doctor’s appointments or vacation time on that particular day. Also, you may be able to get an idea on how many people will attend from the expectant mommy but be sure to leave room for others to pop up. This is especially the case if you work in an office that houses a lot of employees. Also, there is a list of questions you should ask the expectant mother. To state a few:
- Baby’s gender
- Breastfeeding/Bottle feeding – no need to get a bunch of bottles as gifts if they are not needed
- Will she be inviting any family members or friends that are not employed with the company? – for security purposes, you may need to make special arrangements for them to attend
- What is the Baby’s name
- Is there anything you already have plenty of – if some of your co-workers call asking for gift ideas, the information the expectant mommy gives here could come in hand. You should also consider that this may be her second, or third, baby shower.
- What is the theme of your nursery? – Same as above, some of your guest may want to know.
For a complete list of questions, check out the Baby shower Questionnaire.
Next you need to decide on your theme and this may revolve around color, (neutral if gender is unknown), cartoon characters or gender, (Princess, Little Sport), if it is known. As long as for gift purposes, the nursery theme is known it is not important that the theme of the Baby Shower at work match it. You are likely to be on a budget and some themes are more expensive than others. The baby showers at work I have attended and helped plan usually had “It’s a Boy” or “Congratulations” themes! They were rarely Winnie the Pooh or Loony Tunes. Once you have decided on a theme, let other people who are helping you know so that they can execute their duties appropriately.
Send out your invitations via email, memos, or you could post them on bulletin boards. For a Baby Shower in the workplace, you should send the invitations out one month, two weeks, one week and the day before the shower. Since there are so many events going on in the workplace, maybe even other Baby Showers, you want to be sure that people have plenty of reminders so they can plan accordingly.
Next you will need to determine whether you will be buying a gift from the entire unit/company, if there will be any diaper cakes or diaper wreaths, menu items, etc. You need to determine all of this so that you can come up with an estimated budget and divide the total among the members of your unit or company. When determining this amount you may want to consider the following:
- Time of year – if it is during the Holidays you are likely to get a lot of moans and groans if you ask for anything over $15- $20.00 because there are usually a lot of other functions going around at this time like pot-luck lunches and gift exchanges.
- How much does everyone usually give in these events? If the last shower was pulled off with only $10.00 per person, you might want to start there!
- Does this money include a gift from the entire department? If you are also going to buy the mother-to-be a gift from everyone you may want to ask for more. However, if do not plan to buy a huge gift from all, make for certain you do not ask for too much and cause other members of your department to buy cheap gifts.
If you have a predetermined budget that can make things a little easier because you do not have to worry about collecting the money but it could put further restraints on the planning as well. Hang in there!
Collect all the monies due at least three weeks prior to the Baby Shower and distribute to your helpers as needed. During this time, you should also go on and order any items that will need to be delivered via the mail and mail out any invitations to people you plan on inviting who do not work inside your company. This should give them plenty of time to arrange for any time off from their employer and this should also be ample time for your mail to be delivered.
Be sure to do all your shopping at least two weeks before the big event. This gives you time to assemble any diaper cakes, diaper wreaths, and/or gift baskets. It also leaves plenty of room for error, if you forget something or make something incorrectly, you have time to make it right.
Since most Showers in the workplace occur during lunch, you can keep the menu simple! I would suggest fruit and/or veggie trays, cheese balls, pasta dish or meat tray, cake, mints, chips and punch! Pre-cut the cake so that you can control the serving size and make for sure you or someone else fixed the expectant mother’s plate!
For decorations I would suggest taking advantage of everything in the room from dry erase boards to Presentation Display Boards. Tie balloons on chairs and use Removable Foaming Mounting Squares on the walls! If you cannot use balloons, make them out of construction paper and be sure to use any Gift Baskets, Diaper Cakes, etc, as your centerpieces.
The main thing is to remain calm and keep it simple, everyone in the workplace is going to know that you have restraints and restrictions. Just do the best you can and have fun!