How To Plan a Baby Shower: Your Ultimate Baby Shower Checklist


If you’ve offered to host a baby shower, you may be wondering how to plan a baby shower and even searching for a baby shower checklist. We've prepared both a guide and a checklist to steer your through the planning process, ensuring you don’t overlook any of the numerous details. These tools can help you throw a shower that runs so smoothly that even you, the host, can relax and enjoy it! From when and where to have a baby shower to details like baby shower decorations and venues, our guide and checklist have it all.

What Is a Baby Shower?

If you’re completely new to this type of celebration, your first question could be this: what exactly is a baby shower? The event dates back to the nineteenth century and is thought to follow the custom of a bridal shower, where the guest of honor is “showered” with gifts. Essentially, it’s a party to welcome the new baby and support the parents with gifts and love. Food is typically served, which can range from a dessert table or light snacks to a more substantial meal. And sometimes, the event includes activities such as games.

Baby showers can happen before or after the baby is born. If celebrating before, you’ll want to consult the parents-to-be to pick a date when they would feel comfortable and enjoy the festivities, such as one or two months before the due date. If the shower will be held after the baby is born, again, it's best to ask the parents what works for them!

The type of party you plan is up to you and the guest of honor, the parent(s)-to-be. A lot will depend on their personal style and preference, but you can use this article as a handy baby shower planner and planning checklist.

Who Plans the Baby Shower?

Most often, a friend or family member of the expectant parent(s) plans and hosts a baby shower. One or both of the parents are the guests of honor, and they can relax and enjoy the party while being showered with love, support, and gifts. But can you throw your own baby shower? Anything goes these days, and you’re more than welcome to throw your own party. Just know that friends or family members are the ones who traditionally plan the celebration.

A related question that could arise is who pays for the baby shower. The same person who hosts the baby shower also pays for it. Oftentimes, family members, colleagues, or close friends get together, plan the party, and then share the cost.

What Happens at a Baby Shower?

Baby showers can be very individual and reflect the parent(s)-to-be. So, if you’re looking for a baby shower agenda or itinerary, keep in mind that everything is flexible, and nothing is set in stone. Still, a few things that tend to happen at most baby showers. Consider the sample baby shower timeline below for an idea of what your party could look like:

Of course, you might have a baby shower that’s later in the day, earlier in the morning, or longer or shorter. But regardless, many or most baby showers will include

  • eating snacks or light meals

  • playing games

  • giving gifts.

How long are baby showers? Again, that’s flexible, but given that the parent(s)-to-be have a lot going on and are probably tired, you don’t want the party to last too long. At the same time, you want to allow enough time for guests to enjoy themselves and hang out with the guest of honor. With those considerations, anywhere from three to four hours is a good time frame for a baby shower, with about a half hour at the beginning and end for guests to arrive and leave.

Baby Shower Venues

Have you entered “baby shower venue near me” in your search engine yet? You might be surprised to discover that the list of places to have a baby shower is almost endless. You have plenty of choices, including your own home or the home of a friend, family member, or even the parent(s)-to-be.

The first step is to channel your guest of honor or even ask them what they prefer. A cozy home? A favorite café or restaurant? Perhaps a nice park or event space, like a hall for the baby shower?

Here’s a list of ideas for where to have a baby shower:

  • Home (of the host or the parent(s)-to-be). There are a few perks of hosting a baby shower in someone’s home. For one, it’s private and comfortable, and for another, it’s usually free to use. You also have access to the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and other common areas.

  • Restaurant or café. If you want the baby shower venue to have a particular meaning, maybe a favorite restaurant is a good idea. Plus, all you have to do is book a table or room, and you’re set.

  • Party venue. Baby shower venue rentals are a good idea if you’re looking for more ease, as the venue staff can help arrange almost everything you’ll need, but you can also personalize the space with decorations.

  • Outdoors. If you have a scenic outdoor location nearby, that could be a great option. For example, consider a picnic at a beautiful park or a barbecue on the beach. You can still provide the food or keep it casual and ask guests to bring a dish to share. Set up picnic tables or lounge chairs, and make sure it’s a comfy place for the pregnant parent!

  • Destination. Just like destination weddings, you could also host a destination baby shower! Just remember that this could be a costly option for your guests. That said, you could select a pampering session at a spa or consider the parent(s)-to-be’s hobbies. If they love art, you could host the baby shower at a crafts workshop; if they’re into sports, consider reserving private seating at a baseball game.

Whichever way you go, if you keep the guest of honor’s personality in mind, you can’t go wrong.

How to Throw a Baby Shower With a Theme

When planning a baby shower, it might help to decide on a theme. Of course, you don’t necessarily need one, but a specific theme could help when choosing a venue or deciding on baby shower decorations. For example, if you want to have a diaper cake, you could choose one of our cute baby shower themes for boys or our cool baby shower themes for girls and go from there, crafting a diaper cake to match.

If you’re throwing a baby shower specifically for dads, one option is a daddy diaper party, where the father-to-be and his friends get together for some fun, showering dad with attention and helping him stock up on diapers.

Baby Shower Decorations and Refreshments

Having a theme can also help you choose what to serve at a baby shower, decide how to decorate for a baby shower, and arrange your table setup. If you’re going with the princess theme, for example, you could have a baby shower candy table or cupcakes with magic wand candles. For a train theme, you could present your snacks in different cargo cars, or everyone could have a conductor’s hat. For something more neutral, you could have a stroller theme with candy pacifiers and a diaper game.

What’s great about planning a baby shower is that the ideas and options are truly endless! Plus, baby shower refreshments need not be elaborate. For example, you could bake or purchase a simple spread of desserts or ask each guest to bring a dish to share. If you’re preparing snacks for the party, check out some quick baby shower food ideas and thank yourself later.

Don’t forget drinks! Ask guests to let you know about any special dietary needs ahead of time. If the baby shower is to be held at a party venue, the staff can help you select food and beverages. If you’re hosting the shower at a restaurant or café, they might create a special meal for you—or guests can just select from the menu.

Games and Activities

What to do at a baby shower depends on what the guests of honor like, so it's a great idea to ask them whether they’d like to have some baby shower games as part of the celebrations. Then consider the guests. Do they all know each other well? If so, you can plan for fun, active games from the start. If the group is from all stages of the soon-to-be-parents’ life, you might want to begin with something calmer yet interactive, so guests can get to know one another.

Once you’ve decided on how many games to have, you can start gathering ideas for baby shower games, of which there are plenty! Just make sure you have the supplies you’ll need for each game and prizes for the winners. And don’t forget to plan virtual baby shower games if any guests will be logging into your party!

Guest Lists and Invitations

A common question when planning a baby shower is how many guests to invite. This will likely depend on the space available at the venue, your budget, and, of course, who the parent(s)-to-be would like to have at the party.

Work closely with your guest of honor to finalize the guest list and date of the shower. Some baby showers are held before birth, so the parent-to-be has time to relax and enjoy much-needed emotional support. Other baby showers are scheduled after the birth so that the shower can double as a meet-the-baby party.

You can also have the baby shower invitations match the theme, if there is one, and include details about the baby registry. Depending on whether you pick printed invites or send electronic ones, you’ll either need the street address or the email address of each invitee, plus the guest's full name, from the parent(s)-to-be. It’s a good idea to get each guest’s phone number, too, so you can follow up the invitation with a call.

If you’re creating an “event” on social media, you might not have all the guests on your own “friend” list, so make the parent-to-be an “admin” as well so they can add people to the event. Send the invitations about four to six weeks before the shower, and create a list of RSVPs as they come in.

Planning a Baby Shower: Gift Giving

A baby registry will help guests know what to bring to a baby shower and give the guest of honor something they’ll really appreciate. The parent(s)-to-be usually put together the registry, but it’s important that you, as the host, have the details of the registry so you can add them to the invitations. There are plenty of other baby shower gift ideas your guests could consider, too.

All babies need lots of diapers, and a way to make diaper gifting easier is to use Pampers Diaper Stash. The parents-to-be can create a Diaper Stash, and you can share the link to your baby shower invitations. Then family and friends can contribute to the Diaper Stash, from which parents can order Pampers diapers in whatever size they need at any given time!

As a “thank you for coming” gift for each of your guests at the end of the shower, consider offering party favors, such as a framed photo of the parents-to-be, a scented candle, or a special, baby-themed soap.

After the shower, the guest of honor will want to thank those who gave them a gift. As the shower organizer, you can help them write and send short thank-you notes. For more guidance on planning a precious baby shower, read up on baby shower etiquette to learn the dos and don’ts.

Baby Shower Checklist

There’s a lot to think about when planning a baby shower, and having a handy list helps. Below you’ll find our printable baby shower checklist to help you plan your baby shower schedule, including things to do at a baby shower and baby shower must-haves.

The Bottom Line

A baby shower checklist is a handy way for hosts to stay organized and on schedule. And a baby shower to-do list can help you plan the event and set up for the party so you don’t miss any of the little details. Plus, when planning a baby shower on a low budget, checklists are your best friend. You can go through each step and calculate the cost, so you don’t spend too much.

But remember, at the end of the day, planning a baby shower is a fun, loving, and memorable thing to do for someone who means a lot to you. Whatever theme you choose, whatever food you serve, and any game you play will make it a party that your guest of honor will cherish forever.

And if you’re still looking for some cake inspiration, take a look at our baby shower cakes for girls and cakes for boys. For additional ideas to make your celebration truly special, don't forget to check out our comprehensive guide on planning the perfect party, full of creative baby shower ideas.

If you plan to encourage guests to give diapers, remind the parent(s)-to-be to download the Pampers Club app. When they scan diaper pack codes, they can earn discounts—which might help them get through all those future diaper changes!

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

About Madeline Johnson

As an Executive Editor, Madeline oversaw health, development, and parenting content for the Pampers brand and She worked closely with editorial teams and medical experts around the globe to ensure that new and expectant parents received ...

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