Checklist: Planning the Perfect Shower

Hosting a shower? Get organized with this step-by-step print-out guide.

Seven Weeks in Advance

Consult with the guest of honor.

    • Set a date and time.
    • Prepare a guest list, complete with full names and addresses.

      Choose a location.

        • Decide whose home the party will be held in, or reserve a restaurant or party room.

          If catering is an option, choose a caterer or other food provider, unless you plan to do the Make or buy the invitations.

          Decide if you want a particular theme or motif (see our list of 10 wonderful shower ideas). Keep the guest of honor’s tastes foremost in your mind!

            Six Weeks in Advance

            Prepare invitations for mailing.

            Ask the guest of honor if she has registered for gifts — if so, then you might include a small card along with the invitation listing where she is registered.

            Five Weeks in Advance

            Mail the invitations.

            Plan the menu.

              • Consider making it a group effort with each guest assigned a different dish.
              • Try to rule out anything that requires last-minute attention — if you’re having a brunch, for example, consider quiche rather than omelettes.
              • Check with the mom-to-be to see if anyone has any food allergies.

                Check tableware, tables, and chairs to make sure you have enough. Investigate rental options if you need extras.

                Decide what kind of decorations and/or flowers you’ll have.

                Make a list of any props, prizes, or party favors you may need.

                Begin thinking about the gift you want to give.

                  Three Weeks in Advance

                  Buy or make non-floral decorations.

                  Write out place cards, if desired.

                  Prepare a shopping list for the food and beverages you’ll need.

                  Purchase your gift for the guest of honor.

                  Purchase whatever props, prizes, or party favors you’ll need.

                  Wrap all favors and gifts.

                  Designate a person to pick up the guest of honor and bring her to the shower.

                    Two Weeks in Advance

                    If you’re using a restaurant or party space, confirm the reservation.

                    If the party is at your home, decide which serving dishes, utensils, table linens, and napkins you’ll use.

                      • Clean or iron table linens if necessary.
                      • Reserve rental supplies if needed.

                        Order flowers

                          • Order a corsage for the mother-to-be (a charming, old-fashioned touch).
                          • Order table centerpieces.

                            Re-confirm your plans with the caterer, if you are using one.

                              One Week in Advance

                              Phone anyone who has not called to RSVP.

                              Shop for pantry items and ingredients for freeze-ahead dishes.

                              Prepare freeze-ahead dishes.

                              Re-confirm with guests who’ve been asked to bring food or special items.

                              Empty a part of your coat closet for guests to hang their coats.

                                2 Days in Advance

                                Shop for perishables, ice, and other remaining supplies.

                                Prepare food that can be made in advance.

                                Put decorations into place.

                                Set the table(s).

                                Check with the guest of honor to see how she’s feeling.

                                Have a comfortable chair, with a pillow, for her to use at the shower, especially if she’s in her third trimester.


                                    1 Day in Advance

                                    Finish preparing food.

                                    Pick up prepared foods, if you’re not cooking, or touch base with caterer.

                                    Pick up flowers, or make sure they get delivered.

                                    Buy balloons, if you’re using them (if you buy them earlier, they may deflate before party time).

                                    Vacuum, clean guest bathroom.

                                    Set up extra chairs for guests.

                                    Set up a small table or basket — or, if you have one, a bassinet or baby carriage — for holding baby gifts.

                                      The Morning of the Shower

                                      Give a wake-up call to the guest of honor.

                                      Have all hosts congregate at the party site an hour or two ahead of time.

                                      Chill some refreshments to be ready at party time.

                                      Set out food, except items that need to stay warm or cold.

                                        Party Time!

                                        Introduce the guests to each other.



                                        Take pictures.

                                        Play games.

                                        Open gifts.

                                          • Designate someone to record who gave which gift.
                                          • Designate someone to collect all wrapping paper for trash.
                                          • Designate someone to repackage all the gifts for the guest of honor to take home.

                                            Make sure the guest of honor is well-fed, comfortable, and happy — which she probably will be, thanks to great friends like you!

                                              Related Links:

                                              • 10 Wonderful Shower Ideas