couples baby shower: toasting and hosting

Bebe One of my best friends had a baby not that long ago. She’s in New York, and there’s a "sip & see" for her this Saturday. The closest I’ll get… is there in spirit.

Another of my closest friends is pregnant, with a New York baby shower mid-May. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it.

Instead of wallowing, I’ll be toasting… And I’ll be hosting. A much newer friend is pregnant, here in Texas, with a baby boy. Perfect. I offered to host a baby shower because I love to entertain, love bringing people together, and mostly because I want the parents-to-be to feel special and know they’re loved. And now, the (self-inflicted) pressure is on to throw the most darling French Country Baby Shower (she was born and raised in France). There will be no "taste-test your way through which melted candy bar is in the seat of this diaper," game. It’s a coed shower, at 2pm (so it’s not a brunch), and really, that game sounds foul given any number of circumstances. Mixed company or not, it’s usually all about the pitcher cocktails, table settings, and tea sandwiches. At the last baby shower I attended, there was an empty scrapbook, where each guest created a page (where the new parents would insert photos once they had them)… I naturally loved this, as it gave people something to do as the mother-to-be opened her gifts. I also loved the mix-CD of bedtime lullabies (one we still use today when the sprouts go down for a siesta).

Chocolat Blanc In particular, I am loving the idea I found on Martha Stewart’s site, where guests leave with a white bar of chocolate and a recipe on how to melt it… as if one wouldn’t do so on her dashboard here in Texas.

So please, I welcome any ideas, any centerpieces, any unique tea sandwich combinations, any parting favor ideas, or games (kinda lame, no?) you’ve got. Here are some I’ve found so far. I’m sure whatever I do toile de jouy will be involved. We have a long sunken dining room with a 10′ 3" dining room table (I think a runner is in order). I’m also all about the small touches: the Tiffany blue satin ribbon tied around the stem of each (plastic) champagne flute. Is that bad? We’re expecting about 40 people, and I don’t–if you can believe it–own 40 champagne flutes and am not about to rent silverware, stemware, or any other ware. Sturdy paper plates are in order.

A YEAR AGO: Seeping With the Enemy
3 YEARS AGO: Leaving on a Jet Plane
4 YEARS AGO: Jimmy Olsen’s Blues



  1. Co-ed baby showers are the way to go. And while games may be hokey, they do provide entertainment during the endless unwrapping of gifts (which I think is as stressful for the mother-to-be, who is forced to provide appropriate comment, as it is for the guests to be adequately enthralled).

    At the last shower I went to, the hostess had plain white onesies for each guest, along with a variety of markers-for-cloth (no idea what they're actually called), iron-on patterns, etc. The onesies were in a variety of sizes, and each of us decorated one for the baby. There was a prize at the end for best outfit. It may sound like a lot of work, but none took more than 20 minutes and the whole thing proved really fun. There were about 30 guests at this shower, so our friend had a LOT of onesies, but hey – don't kids go through a lot of them?

  2. At family showers we always play Bridal/ Baby Bingo… everyone gets a blank 'bingo' card to fill out with gifts they think the mom-to-be will receive… and then you get to cross off the spot when she opens a gift you have written down. First to Bingo wins a prize! Its easy & keeps everyone entertained during the present-opening portion! :)

  3. How about a tower of macaroons as a centerpiece? Put "macaroon tower" into flickr, you can see some done in a stacking style and some in a more elaborate conical style. I'd skip the games (unless mom has her heart set on them). Does anyone actually enjoy the games? Just curious…

  4. Those two pictures you posted are adorable! I want to go to a fabulous baby shower like that. Most of the ones I go to consist of horrid Chinese food in a foil tin, paper plates, and miserable games like guess-the-candy-bar-smooshed-in-the-diaper.

  5. The only game I liked at my baby showers was the one where you get a bunch of string, yarn, ribbon — whatever and have everyone guess how big the mom and baby are. They pull out as much ribbon as they think it will take to go around the mom and baby and cut it. Then the one who is the closest wins. The only reason I like this is because at the end of the game I had a string as long as it took to go around me and the babe — something for me to put in my scrap book. Hey kid — this is how big I got carrying your heavy butt — YOU OWE ME! :O)

  6. In the same vein as the scrapbook idea in your post, some showers have a little hardbound memo book where mothers can write their best bits of advice or something people never tell you about pregnancy and babies. It's a nice keepsake.

  7. The only thing worse than enduring the endless unwrapping of the gifts and the forced oohs and ahs are the people who insist that the gifts actually be passed around from guest to guest.

  8. Pffffffffffff it´s funny to watch you americans being all french countryside fancy – or, rather what your american-style-kitsch´d-up-idea is of that.

    sigh. but. i guess stephanie is a true "connoisseur".

    (the french spell it connAisseur)

    ah. little chocolate bars with cute ribbons and cards that title them "chocolat blanc". very french.

  9. I've been to a shower that had the guests make scrapbook pages and it was a lot of fun. It was a small shower, so we did it after gifts, but I think it is a great idea to do during gifts.

    I'm not really a fan of the usual games, but I remember seeing a shower game somewhere that had to do with matching baby pictures to the guests, or something like that. It would require the guests to send you the photos ahead of time, though. Sorry I can't be more specific… hopefully Google can help with that one.

  10. French Country is very – rustic. It is fabulous in it's un-fanciness. And it is not so pretty, as Martha would have us believe. Get to a thrift store to buy up champagne flutes of all styles, and mis-matched plates. Keep the background white – linens, etc. and let the colors of the plates be your splash.

    Save empty wine bottles, scrub the labels, and use them for water instead of pitchers.

    Serve cheese, and bread, and mini vegetable quiche, and put crab salad in endive leave. Make a ratatouille style gazpacho and serve it in shot glasses, or demitasse cups.

    Simple, rustic, fun.

  11. I just have a suggestion about the champagne flutes. My roommate and I host a lot of parties (in Austin too!) and we almost always have champagne cause she loves it. I always have had the hardest time finding plastic champagne flutes for cheap. So instead – I suggest buying some from Ikea. They have a 6 pack for $5. Obviously you would need a place to store them, and if you don't want to do the clean up, then go the plastic route. But otherwise… sort of fun, especially if you like to entertain!

    Also, I always have fun with the scrapbooking games, but I agree that most games are awful.

  12. I have been to a shower where everyone brought their favorite childhood book instead of a card to accompany the gift. Everyone wrote notes to Baby inside the cover of the book they brought. I thought it was such a cool idea and was surprised to find that there were no duplicates.

  13. For the love of God, no games! There is nothing I hate more than being handed a blank bingo sheet and a baby themed word jumble. Paula Deen (I think) had a really cute baby shower idea for a mimosa or bellini bar, where you prepare pitchers with all different fruit juices and purees and then bottles of champagne (along with one of sparkling cider for the guest of honor). Another best idea I've heard… clear wrapping paper, the colored cellophane kind. No unwrapping! Or go the enviro-friendly route and just use festive bows. I don't think anybody enjoys the 2.5 solid hours of gift unwrapping, not even the mother to be. I know at my own (couple's) wedding shower, I started to feel a little guilty after a while making everybody sit there while I opened all my gifts and I wish I could have spent more time with the guests instead.

  14. Please don't do plastic champagne flutes. Much better to drink out of a glass, even if it a wine glass.

  15. Ali E, thanks for enlightening us rubes on the French spelling. Now maybe you can drink some French wine and take the edge off of that bitchiness. Then go choke on some french fries. LOL! LOL! ROFL! LMAO! LULZ!

    Ah, that was fun.

  16. Given all the lovely touches it sounds like you're dreaming up for this gathering, ditch the idea of plastic flutes – I can attest that IKEA champagne flutes are perfect for a crowd.

  17. At Tiffany coloured ribbon wouldn't sway it for me on a plastic vessel; any wine tastes horrible drunk out of plastic, and you know how bad that is! It would be a real shame amongst all the other loveliness, I'm with people who suggest looking for discount glasses.

  18. It's official: I've been swayed. I'm officially heading off to Ikea tomorrow in search of champagne flutes. I totally agree. Nothing tastes good out of plastic… unless it's fried or tented in cheese.

  19. I'm curious to know if you are french. The way I read "you americans" seems to set yourself apart, as though you are from somewhere else. But, then it seems like you have a native's grip on american slang, the way you use "being all" and "lol". Given that you are Greek Tragedy's self appointed arbiter of french culture, I, and I'm sure others, are eager to hear how you would style this shower. I can only hope that fellow readers will be softer with your ideas than you were with Stephanie's, who isn't trying to pass her living room off as Versailles, as much as she is trying to extend a thoughtful gesture to a friend.

  20. I hate paper plates, but like you, don't have matching plates for 40. So….I often set up food stations around the party area, and put real plates at each station. A dozen here. A dozen there. Pretty soon you have enough plates out and it doesn't matter that they don't all match. Same with silverware and glasses.

    Also, at the last shower I hosted, we strung a clothes line from the columns that separate the dining room from the living room and hung baby clothes. Super cute, and the clothes were gifts for the mother-to-be.

    If you decorate onesies–which can be really fun–get a variety of sizes, starting with 6 months or so. Lots of people give newborn clothes. If you start with bigger sizes, it's not all feast-or-famine in the onesie department.

  21. My baby shower was over the weekend and we had a unique favor idea. We bought 50 or so child sized WOODEN coat hangers at ikea. Then in the weeks leading up to the shower we spray painted them to match the nursery (in my case silver, black, hot pink and light pink.) Then we bought a bunch of scrapbooking do-dads…lots of rhinestones and sparklies. (all of which already had adhesive on them). Then each guest was able to go to the craft table during gift opening and decorate a coat hanger for the baby. We had black and silver sharpie markers for guests to write their names down the arms of the coat hangers or to write the baby little messages. This was such a huge hit…the guests loved it and I cannot wait for my baby to be old enough to read the little messages on her hangers when she gets dressed. Instead of a closet full of mismatched hangers from kids clothing stores, the closet looks like a million bucks.

  22. I'm with Kris. Keep it simple and fresh.

    Do have fresh flowers. A few large bowls of 'antique' roses (the full heavy kind). Or single full blown roses in clear sparkling glass bottles or jars (yes, the ones you usually have recycled).

    Don't use paper serviettes – please use fabric table napkins.

    I would never drink champagne out of a plastic anything. In that case I would rather drink it straight from the glass bottle (seriously). A considerate touch would be to provide the best quality sparkling apple or grape juice for teetotallers.

    Games – no comment. Oh wait, here's a thought. Have a large plain cake and get mommy and daddy-to-be to decorate it. Another thought -traditional french games for the kids (whatever they are).

  23. My drink recommendation: Pimm's lemonade. And as for the glassware: Go to a thrift store and collect mismatched tumblers, goblets, flutes and wine glasses. They'll look awesome together.

  24. My sister-in-law and I were sitting around trying to find some decent baby shower games last week. She told me about a game that her aunt brought over from Mexico where the women have a 'race'. They all line up in the backyard and tie panty hose around their waist with one leg of the hose hanging free between their legs. Inside the leg are two potatoes. The race is to have the women hit a lemon across the yard using only their hips and swinging potatoes! Awesome ;)

  25. As far as favors go, I'm a big fan of the plantable papers. I was at a wedding a few years ago and there was a sort of daisy theme. The favors were tuille pouches with 3 or 4 of these little paper mache daisies filled with wildflower seeds. I think something like that would also fit in well with the French Country theme and it also represents new life.

  26. Check out party planner Mindy Weiss's site – she did some amazing baby showers! Also is a good reference. How fun for you! Can you say project?!

  27. Whenever I need to make finger food for a lot of people and am not enthused about a lot of work, I make little smoked salmon sandwiches. I get the little square pumpernickel cocktail bread, and on each slice I spread some cream cheese, a slice of cucumber, a bit of smoked salmon, and a tiny sprig of fresh dill. As a final touch I squeeze a tiny amount of fresh lime. Guests gobble them up like nothing else.

    Also, tying little bows around tiny flute stems may be more of a pain than it's worth. Something along those lines though, but still simpler is tying blue ribbon around folded white napkins. I did this at my wedding:

  28. At both my baby showers the hostess did the scrapbook page thing and I loved it! Also the "mommy advice cards" where people write thoughts and advice about babies and parenting — I really loved reading the cards afterwards.

    As far as decor, check out diaper cakes like this one —

    And some fun baby showers I've been to –

  29. For my bridal shower, my hostess bought glass champagne flutes at Ikea. Super cheap and you'll be surprised at the number of times you can use champagne flues en mass.

    I loved the bebe sign out of twigs.

  30. Was very happy to find this website.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely glad every little bit of it and I have bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

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