Most babies are born between the months of July and October, so it is safe to say, we are in prime baby shower throwing season! I have yet to plan any life event without enlisting the help of luxury event planner and owner of Clink, Jackie Maculaitis. Her impeccable style and attention to detail is second to none and you will never want to attend another party without her planning it. She let me in on all her best planning tips and how to get the most for your money when planning a baby shower.
What are the most important questions to ask when looking for a venue to host your event?
There are several location options to host a baby shower: a favorite restaurant, a banquet hall, a home and depending on where you choose, there are different questions to ask. If you plan on hosting at a restaurant, be sure to ask how they would handle the food; is it buffet style or a sit down meal? Is open bar included or what bar packages do they offer if open bar is not an option? How large is the room and how many guests can it accommodate? Do they have extra tables for gifts and cake? If you choose a banquet hall, you should ask what is included in their package-food, beverage, tables, chairs, and linens? How many guests can the venue accommodate? Is there someone at the venue to help with the setup of your personal items and décor? If hosting it at a home, you will need to hire a caterer, bar service and you will need rentals unless guests or a host is taking care of this for you. There are great do-it-yourself ways to throw an intimate home shower while still looking just as polished as a venue.
Should the venue be the most expensive cost in your planning?
Yes, it should and likely will be unless you are planning a simple backyard shower. With a simple backyard shower, you will most likely need a caterer and in turn, the food and beverage will be the biggest costs for the event. Most guests walk away from an event remembering that the food and cocktails were delicious in a pretty setting. This is where most of your money should go.
Within your overall budget, how much should you spend on the venue, food, alcohol, and decorations?
Is the daytime the only time to host a baby shower?
No, not at all. An evening cocktail hour is a great time to host a shower especially in a busy season like spring and summer, where Sundays become a busy day for families and difficult for women to escape.
Food & Alcohol
Should it be a full meal with a main course or should it be more appetizers and lighter food?
This decision completely depends on the shower; where it is and the time of day drives this decision. Overall, appetizers and lighter food are more suited for a baby shower and might be easier to do if you are hosting an at-home shower. Sunday showers at 11am often should be filling with lighter food and a cake.
Do you suggest having a full bar or just a signature drink for the event?
Both are nice if you can afford it of course. If you are hosting your shower at home, do a DIY Mom-osa bar and have some wine for those who want something different.
How important are decorations?
Decorations are important and a lovely touch to such a sweet celebration. They can be as simple as handpicked wild flowers in recycled jars, balloons, printed and strung signs and clotheslines with clothespins to pin up the gifts you collect.
If you were on a budget, what are your top décor pieces that you must have at a baby shower? And what can you do without or what do you think is too over the top?
Keep it simple. Centerpieces are a must. Some sweet signs labeling where gifts go, and signature drinks are nice touches and easy to do. Centerpieces should not be over the top; nothing high and elaborate blocking guests’ view. If having a mom-osa bar, some sweet signs or pretty jars to fill with fruit or whatever you are serving with the champagne is an added touch to the décor.
If you use decorations, should you rent or buy them?
For themed showers, it might be hard to find rentals that you love. I think purchasing or making your own works best. With websites such as Etsy and Pinterest, there are so many options that you can do yourself. Etsy has great customizable printables to make your own signage. You can find lettered balloons that you can inflate and string yourself in many sayings. You can always reuse these items for a photo shoot or in the nursery for the time being.
Are favors worth the money or should you forego giving out favors?
I personally think if I was going to forgo something, favors might be it! They are often times left behind and overlooked. I think offering a great meal and a signature drink is a nice enough outing where guests will be grateful they shared in your special day.
If your budget allowed for a luxurious favor, what is your go-to right now when you are planning?
A small bottle of champagne to pop once the mom pops!
While we are on the subject of champagne, Clink will be my absolute go to splurge when planning my own events this summer. It is the perfect luxurious touch to any type of event!
Meet Clink! She’s a three wheeled
mini-truck that was converted into a vintage mobile prosecco bar serving
up bubbly in Connecticut.
Started and created by husband and wife duo, Jackie and Wayne. Clink is what happens when an event planner and a car guy put their heads together. It all started with a water color Jackie painted of a sweet blue Prosecco truck with sparkly white subway tile, just a dream. Wayne being the car genius he is and after months of searching, found an old Piaggio ape for sale in upstate New York. He drove 5 hours to bring her home and made the water color a reality at his family car dealership. She was in need of some major TLC, but with their design & mechanical background were able to complete the plans in six months. Clink is small enough to drive through a set of double doors, this bar is comfortable inside or out. She’s the perfect compliment to any event; weddings, private & corporate functions, backyards or in a venue! She has 3 taps and can serve a mixture of your choice of wines and or bubbly!
What is trending or “in” right now for baby showers?
Balloons! Tropical and animal themed showers are also in as well as wrapping gifts in clear wrapping.
What would you personally splurge on?
Guests will always remember good food and alcohol. Beautiful centerpieces will also always be impressive to guests. Everyone loves a cake, which would be an item to splurge on and make a focal point of the shower. A photographer is another worthy splurge for capturing these incredibly special moments.
What would you personally NOT splurge on?
Fancy invitations are something I would not splurge on; you can do a simple invitation or evite. An expensive favor, as I mentioned previously, often gets left behind. I would skip the fancy plates and tableware as you can get nice plastic and paper goods for a great price without renting glassware. For entertainment and games, pop in an IPod for music and make DIY games. Delegate this task to a crafty friend or print some from the Internet.
What is your best planning advice?
Create a budget prior to planning and list your priorities. What is most important to you? Delegate tasks to family and friends so you do not become overwhelmed with planning while thinking about your new baby on the way.
What is your best planning advice for people on a budget?
A budget shower is just as nice as an expensive one if you are organized and plan it right. Pick your favorite restaurant and have the restaurant suggest the most cost effective way to serve food – maybe it is a buffet. You can explore hosting the shower on an off night, which saves money. For example, a Thursday mom’s night out which your guests might appreciate rather than losing a Sunday may work perfectly. You can host the shower at your home instead of renting a location, as well as elect to make some food items and a cake yourself.
Keep it simple! Less is more, select a simple theme and don’t over do it. Be sure to delegate tasks to friends and family and send an evite instead of a paper invitation to save money.
What can you absolutely skip when planning and not spend the money on?
You can absolutely skip paper invitations and open bar!
What is your go to luxe baby gift to give?
A basket filled with some of my favorite items listed below:
- Solly Baby Wrap https://shop.sollybaby.com/collections/wraps
- Dockatot https://dockatot.com/
- Freshly Picked moccasins https://freshlypicked.com/
- Aden & Anais swaddles https://www.adenandanais.com/
- Jellycat stuffed animals https://www.jellycat.com/us/
- Boon baby care kit https://tomy.com/boon
- BabyLit books https://www.babylit.com/
Should you open your gifts in front of your guests?
Yes! But if you can, elect a great team to help move this along quickly.
A lot of moms are requesting gifts to be wrapped in clear cellophane for those that are completely against opening gifts.
No matter what your budget or how simple or extravagant your event may be, celebrating a baby is a magical time that should be enjoyed by all.
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