Having a baby gives you countless reasons to celebrate with loved ones. Couples throw parties to announce their pregnancy and “gender reveal” gatherings to divulge their baby’s sex. Families host showers to prepare for the baby’s practical needs and other parties to introduce the baby to his or her community of friends and relatives and vice versa.
Baby naming parties are an age-old tradition in some cultures and are gaining steam among modern parents, too. Brainstorming your baby’s name with people you love can be a fun way to get family and friends excited before or after your little one’s arrives. Even if you have a name picked out already, you may have a blast hearing what others would pick for you.
Who to Invite
Consider keeping the party small. Four to 10 guests, for example, makes for an intimate group and lets you all interact meaningfully together.
If you’ll be hosting the party after your baby arrives, you might be tempted to have a large group to meet the baby in one fell swoop. But this might feel overwhelming, so consider paring down your guest list to those nearest and dearest and holding individual visits later.
What to Serve
No one will know what to expect at a unique party like this, so any fare goes! Classic party food—sandwiches, savory finger foods, chips and dips, cake, cookies, etc.—is fine, as is anything your family especially enjoys.
Of course, you could get crafty and set out letter-shaped cookies or crackers (which are readily available in grocery stores).
Also, consider hosting the party potluck-style: Ask guests to bring a dish inspired by a certain person in their life whose name they share upon arrival at your party.
What to Do
• Pass around baby naming books and have a tablet or laptop available to access naming websites
• Set up easels with large pads of paper (or tape oversized paper to the walls)
• Give guests your name criteria: Are you aiming for certain first letters or sounds? Are names from specific nationalities high on your list? Let everyone know.
• Have guests research and present their favorite first and middle name contenders to the group. Ask them to present:
o What they like about the name (Is there a significance the parents might not know about?)
o What the name means
o If anyone famous has the name
o The name’s popularity
• Ask for final arguments from the guests for name contenders (This is guaranteed to cause lots of laughter: Try to take guests’ suggestions lightheartedly!)
What to Keep in Mind
Names are an especially subjective (and emotional) topic! If you and your partner have name contenders you’re already fixed on, you might keep them to yourselves during the party.
If nothing your guests come up with trumps your favorite names, you can always say later, “We were inspired by what you all thought of, but loved our name best."