Many of today’s fathers find themselves taking a much more active role in parenthood than their own father did. Cultural attitudes and expectations have changed so much that baby showers, almost exclusively reserved for women just a generation ago, now increasingly include both parents-to-be. Although they might not admit it to everyone, men often love for friends to include them in this way. It also helps to build excitement about the upcoming birth of their child.
Despite the growing acceptance of baby showers for couples, you may feel slightly overwhelmed if you have offered to or agreed to host one for a friend. It’s a fun and rewarding undertaking, but it involves a lot of work and creativity as well. Your first step is to get together with the future mother and father for some basic planning steps. You might also consider asking your partner or another male friend to co-host the shower with you to help both guests of honor feel most comfortable.
Have Both Future Parents Helps Make the Guest List
When you meet with the expectant couple, make sure that each provides several names of friends or family members to invite. This sends the message that each is equally important. If you need to limit the guest list for space, budget, or any other reasons, let them know upfront to avoid having to cut people from the list later. After you have confirmed all names and addresses, plan to send the invitations approximately two to three weeks before the shower. Including a telephone number or email address to RSVP will help you get an accurate headcount for planning.
Consider Your Wording on the Invitations Carefully
For a couple’s baby shower, try to keep the words you choose as gender neutral as possible. That might mean using the term celebration instead of shower since the latter still has a strong connotation with bridal and baby showers. The invitation should make it clear that you consider both expectant parents your guests of honor for the event.
Depending on how well you know the people you’re sending invitations to and how much explanation you think they might need, you might also consider specifically stating that the celebration event is for both men and women. Let guests know that the party is to help the mother and father-to-be celebrate and prepare for the new baby by including information about any registries they have completed. The best way to get your message across that the invitation is for both members of a couple is to place both full names on the outside of the envelope.
Choose a Theme
It can make decorating for a baby shower a lot more fun when you’re doing it around a theme. This should go beyond just pink for a girl or blue for a boy if the couple already knows the baby’s gender. Maybe the couple has a strong shared common interest such as hiking or dancing. The type of interest doesn’t matter so much as the idea that it’s joint and would represent the couple well. Otherwise, see if the mom-to-be or dad-to-be has a fun interest that the other supports but doesn’t necessarily participate in. A general baby theme also works well.
Much of the Focus Will Be on Food
While your party might feature some games as well, you can expect guests to sit and visit over food much of the time. Since men tend to have heartier appetites than women, think beyond the typical baby shower menu of salad and finger sandwiches. In fact, you don’t need to go with that style of food at all. You can order pizza, have someone cook hamburgers on the grill, have a taco bar, or offer any other type of food that you think most of your guests will like. Some other popular choices for a couple’s baby shower include:
- Chicken wings
- Club sandwiches
- Sausage rolls
- Skewers of fruits and vegetables or meats
- Make your own omelets for co-ed baby showers held in the morning
Don’t forget to offer your guests a variety of beverages as well. It can help foot traffic flow more smoothly to set up a bar as close to the food as possible. Here are some drinks you may wish to include:
- Fruit juice
- Non-alcoholic punch, which you can make quickly by mixing ginger ale, raspberry juice, lemonade, and orange juice in a punch bowl and adding fruit and chunks of ice
- Variety of soft drinks to include regular and diet options
If you plan to have a cake, ask the couple for their favorite flavors and colors and try to incorporate them as much as possible. Another variation on a typical baby shower cake is to have one small cake in the center surrounded by cupcakes of different flavors. Whichever option you choose, be sure to make a big deal out of the parents-to-be cutting into the cake and being the first ones to try a bite.
Games and Prizes for Couple’s Showers
Some couples like to have games at their baby showers while others prefer to spend most of the time visiting with guests and getting advice from more experienced parents. If you do decide to include games, consider that men often prefer games more physical in nature. The Baby Shower Nascar Race is just one such example.
To prepare for this game, set up flags, cones, and yard objects such as rakes and lawn chairs around your yard in some type of pattern before the guests arrive. When it’s time to play Nascar, walk through the course yourself to show your guests where it starts and ends. Guests will then take turns pushing a baby stroller with a doll in it through the course as fast as they can. Add to their time for penalties such as hitting an object or the doll falling out of the stroller.
If you prefer tamer games, filling a baby bottle with M & M candies and having each guest guess the number will do the trick. Some other traditional baby shower games include:
- Baby pictures: Each guest brings a picture of themselves as a baby and attaches it to the wall. During the game, give each guest a piece of paper and have them rotate around the room, view each photo, and write down their best guess for who it is.
- Tasting baby food: Buy several jars of different flavors of baby food and remove the labels. Guests will take a small taste of each one with a spoon and write down what they think it is.
- Full diaper: Melt several different varieties of chocolate into diapers and have guests guess the type just by looking at it.
Food packaged individually can make a great prize or party favor. Customized cookies or candy bars, Rice Krispy bars, or brownie favor pops are just three examples. T-shirts related to the theme of the party, movie or restaurant gift certificates, and pocket-sized safety equipment such as a flashlight can work just as well.
Encourage Gifts for Everyone in the New Family
While the couple no doubt needs supplies for their first baby, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging some guests to bring small gifts for the parents-to-be as well. Gift cards for any help they can get during those hectic first few months, such as a cleaning service or takeout food, would surely be something the couple should appreciate. The same is true of family-oriented gifts like a baby backpack for a couple who loves to hike.
Be Ready to Run Conversation Interference
Sometimes the talk turns toward labor and delivery, the contents of diapers, or a child’s tantrum or other embarrassing behavior when groups of pregnant women or those with young children get together. Unfortunately, these topics can send men running from the room in a hurry. To keep everyone together and the topics more neutral, be prepared to step in to redirect when necessary with a few pre-planned changes of subject.
It Will All Be Worth It
Time will pass quickly for the expectant couple and it will soon be difficult for them to remember life without their baby. Hosting an expectant parent’s celebration can create a wonderful memory for them to look back on and share with their child one day.