Planning a baby shower, even on a budget, is an exciting and fun time! There’s just something really special about celebrating the arrival of a new little life into the world. However, it can also be a strain on your wallet if you don’t plan carefully. Luckily, it’s totally possible to throw an amazing baby shower without breaking the bank, and it all comes down to four things: setting expectations, going digital, focusing on the necessities and getting personal.
I know we all see the extravagant celebrity baby shower photos on our Instagram feeds, so I’m going to emphasize how important it is to not make comparisons. This day is really just about pampering and celebrating the mom-to-be. You can do that without going overboard or spending a ridiculous amount, I promise!
If you are planning a Virtual Shower, head to our Virtual Baby Shower Guide.
Set Expectations When Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget
Perhaps the most important thing when you volunteer to host a baby shower (or you are asked to) is to be clear about expectations. If there are limited funds available to make this shower happen, be upfront about this with the mom-to-be. This might be as simple as making the decision to accommodate no more than 30 guests, for instance. Maybe you save money by doing a homemade cake or getting crafty with decor.
As hard as the conversation might be, just talk it out! You will probably find there are only a few things the mom really cares about and you can focus on those and cut corners on other decisions.
Most importantly, if you don’t think you can fulfill the vision the mom-to-be has for her special day with the budget you have available, gently let her know that she may need to ask someone else. Just because you are doing the planning doesn’t mean all the costs should fall on you. Reach out to other family members and close friends to pitch in.
Failing to do so can lead to a disappointed (and hormonal) guest of honor and a depleted bank account for you. Open communication upfront is the best way to avoid both!
Go Digital for Your On-a-Budget Baby Shower
The classic, printed baby shower invitations are adorable, but they’re definitely not cost-effective. Stationary, printing, and postage add up quickly. Luckily, we live in the digital age! Most people won’t think twice about getting a digital invitation through Evite or Paperless Post.
Even simple Facebook invitations get the job done, and they’re quick, easy and free.
Focus on Necessities
Extravagant baby showers feature all sorts of unique and expensive details, but those things don’t necessarily make the shower any more memorable for the mama-to-be. Focus on the necessities of venue, food, decorations, and favors. Then, execute them in ways that are cheap without looking like it. Here are a few tips:
Right now, you are probably planning on going virtual. This is a great way to get everyone together safely. Not to mention, it is completely free! Check out all our tips for hosting a virtual baby shower here.
When hosting a baby shower on a budget, the venue is one thing you shouldn’t worry about too much. There are dozens of options for free venues! This is a necessity you shouldn’t have to pay for at all if you think creatively and use other shower guests as resources. If you can’t throw the shower in your own home, ask family and friends if you can use their digs.
Other options for free space are clubhouses at apartment complexes when you know someone who lives there, church halls that are free for members of the congregation, or restaurants that offer free space if you use their catering. If you’re willing to pay a small fee for space, you can also find great options at public libraries and community centers. When the weather is nice, you can look into reserving a space at a park.
Any of these cost-effective options can make for a fantastic soiree!
As with most parties, food can make or break a guest’s experience at a baby shower. Still, this doesn’t mean spending big bucks on the fanciest caterer in town. Get creative with your menu instead! If you can persuade a few other guests to help you, it’s totally possible to buy ingredients in bulk and prepare the food yourselves.
Baby showers typically don’t feature anything heavy. So, a healthy spread of items like finger sandwiches, salads, and light snacks might be all you need. Plus, all these grazing items can be purchased inexpensively.
Complement this cost-effective menu with a cake, cupcakes or cookies that are personalized for the baby & mom-to-be. Check out our favorite cake ideas, including some hilarious options, here!
Another cost-effective way to think about food is to also use it as decor. Your personalized cake or sweets will look adorable on the tables, but there’s a way to make snacking adorable too; charcuterie boards! They are super popular right now, and a fun way to tie in some blue or pink touches.
Just lie some butcher paper across a table and then fill the space with veggies, cheese, meats, candies, fruits, crackers, and sauces. Below is a gorgeous example from our Rookie Mom Squad mama, Chrissy Powers!
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Speaking of decor, less is more when you’re planning a baby shower on a budget. A few bunches of well-placed balloons can go a long way, and centerpieces made from plants you pot and wrap yourself are both gorgeous and cheap. Call your local farmer’s market and ask if there are discounts for buying in bulk. If live plants won’t work based on time of year or the mom’s decor preferences, craft paper flowers in simple vases are beautiful, too.
When it comes to balloons, keep in mind, the more you do yourself the cheaper it will be! Here is an amazing tutorial on glitter balloons and here is one on balloon garland (no helium required!).
If you’re planning an activity, like having guests decorate onesies for baby, you could also consider arranging the materials in baskets in the center of each table so that they can double as centerpieces, too. I recently made headbands at a baby shower for a sweet baby girl. It was a super fun baby shower activity and the materials were budget-friendly!
Keep in mind that most guests will also bring along gifts in beautiful wrapping paper. Their colorful paper and ribbons will add to the decor in the venue, too. Just set up a nice table for everyone to set their gifts on and you’re set!
Most baby showers feature a small parting gift for each guest and, though they aren’t a strict necessity, most guests will expect them. There are hundreds of DIY ideas on Pinterest, but most budget-friendly favors tend to be the edible variety.
Cellophane bags of blue, pink or gender-neutral Jordan almonds are easy to assemble, as are tea bags, Hershey kisses or popcorn (“Ready to Pop” theme, anyone?). For non-edible ideas, try to think of ways to make your decor double as party favors!
Tailor the Baby Shower to the Parents-To-Be
When you’re planning all the above details, it’s important to focus on what’s most important: making the parents-to-be feel happy and supported on their special day. So, use their favorite things as inspiration in order to create a memorable experience.
Here are some thoughtful baby shower themes!
- If they’re outdoorsy, your venue can be a local park and your decor can include the natural elements around you.
- If the expectant mom loves music, add special details like paper flower centerpieces made from old sheet music.
- Maybe the vibe is supposed to be less formal, so you opt for a donut tower in lieu of a traditional baby shower cake.
At the end of the day, the shower should reflect the personality of the expectant family. Don’t forget to plan with them in mind!
Tips from the Rookie Mom Squad
Karissa, from our Rookie Mom Squad, has some awesome tips for keeping your baby shower on a budget.
- Keep the guest list small (check out her tips for how to make the tough decisions on who to cut here!)
- Use affordable decorations, you never know what you might find at the dollar store or your local thrift shop!
- Download free, easy to play games
- Keep the Thank You’s simple with things like candy or cookies
Throwing a baby shower on a budget doesn’t mean a sub-par celebration. In fact, some of the most special and meaningful showers are those that are less about party frills and more about meaningful connections and support for the expectant parents. With a bit of thoughtful planning, DIY creativity and a willingness to set expectations upfront, you can plan an unforgettable baby shower without sacrificing your financial health.
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