We've covered the guest list, date & budget
, the location
and the invitations
. Let's dive into the tasty parts.
If you are hosting the shower at your home or a location where you will provide the food, determine how much your budget allows. If you’re working with a tight budget, it makes the most sense to hold the shower at an “off” meal time. If you hold it at noon, it’s perfectly reasonable for guests to assume you will serve lunch. So, if you don’t plan to serve a meal, it’s wise to have the shower a little later in the afternoon, perhaps around 2 or 3 p.m. You can make a note in the invitation that “light refreshments,” “tea and finger sandwiches” or something similar will be served. If you’re planning a meal, assess your strengths…and your weaknesses! For me, I’m not a chef. Okay, I’m not a cook. All right, fine, I’ll be honest: I’m not even that great of a re-heater! Therefore, if I were hosting at home, I’d have to consider the order-out option or the beg-someone-with-skills-to-help-me option. Purchasing food doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. Check warehouse stores like Costco that offer various party platters – they serve a lot of guests for a very reasonable price – such as sandwich wraps or meat and cheese platters. One of the great advantages to this type of food is that you can pick it up the day before the event and you don’t have to worry about heating it. You can add crackers, mixed fruit or even a nice strawberry platter with whip cream in the center. Alternatively, if you’re crafty in the kitchen and you enjoy baking and cooking, now is your time to shine! You can create a food theme and go to town. Time and your budget are your only limitations, but if you’re a Kitchen Goddess, you probably already know how to make the most of your grocery funds. When planning your menu, keep in mind that some guests might have more “standard” taste and be sure to offer a basic or two. If you’re hosting at a restaurant, take a look at the menu and determine how that lines up with your budget. I wanted to offer guests choices, but my budget required me to restrict those choices. I simply created my own menu, comprised of a handful of the restaurant’s offerings, and had the servers present my modified menu to our shower guests.
For restaurant showers, also consider alcohol – just because the mom-to-be can’t enjoy a cocktail doesn’t mean other guests can’t. To avoid being hit with a bar bill, or any awkwardness in the event a guest wanted to order but was unsure of whether alcohol was part of the menu, I simply listed the standard drinks – coffee, tea and soft drinks – on the menu and put a note on the bottom: “Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. Please inquire with your server.”
Did you read the part above? Where I admit I can barely boil water? Well, that lack of kitchen talent extends to baking. I’m lucky to make a boxed cake once a year without burning it. Baking a cake was out of the question for me and instead of purchasing a pre-made cake for the shower, I decided to offer shower guests the restaurant’s dessert options. Cakes at showers are still very popular and lovely, but don’t be constrained by this idea for dessert. Many hosts offer fun and cute desserts, from cupcake trees to petit fours to gourmet cookies. Again, this is an area where your creativity and baking abilities can carry you far. If you want to make a cake, use your imagination and your decorating skills. Simply googling “baby shower cakes” will show you how clever and cute a cake can be. In fact, browsing through all of those images makes me want to learn to decorate a cake…almost Tomorrow's post will be the final in this series. We'll wrap up with decorations, games and prizes. Don't miss it. And please, add your ideas here, too!