Like so many modern celebrations, Baby Showers have arrived in the UK from North America. It’s a real tradition over there and, like High School Proms, Halloween and Black Friday, one of those exciting social events that is catching on big time over here.
The idea is simple but universally appealing. Throw a party for the pregnant mother and her soon-to-be-born child and shower them with gifts and good wishes. Whether the celebration centers on the baby itself or the transformation from womanhood to motherhood is a moot point, and many cultures have different interpretations of the ritual.
History of the Baby Shower
Not many people know that the origins of the Baby Shower go back much further than the 20th century. Since ancient times, a seemantha takes place in India in the 6th or 8th month of pregnancy. As part of the ritual to pray for the safe delivery of the baby and a happy motherhood, the mother is presented with dried fruits, sweetmeats and other gifts while music is played to encourage the baby’s growth. Hindu baby shower rituals vary greatly on the Indian subcontinent.
Different versions of the event are celebrated around the world, with many of them being women-only occasions including the Brazilian cha de bebe (Baby Tea), te de canastilla (Basket Tea) in Costa Rica and the Stork Party in South Africa.
After World War II during the baby boom era, the modern Baby Shower emerged with as a more consumer focused event, and with good reason. There’s no denying that it’s a great opportunity to provide the mother-to-be with baby clothes and gifts, and all manner of useful things to equip her for the first stages of motherhood.
Organizing a Baby Shower
These days, a Baby Shower can be anything you want it to be. It’s a great excuse to get together with your (girl)friends for an indulgent afternoon or evening, cooing over all things baby related and basking in the positive energy that’s coming your way. Treat it as a beautiful send-off into motherhood and enjoy every minute.
If you’re concerned about proper etiquette, please note that you shouldn’t throw your own Baby Shower. The event is usually held around the 7th or 8th month well before the final stages and, ideally, the expecting mother shouldn’t have to carry any of the burden of organising a party so late in pregnancy. Much better to ask a close friend or relative to send out invitations and make arrangements, though you can, of course, be fully involved in the preparations if you want to.
You don’t need a special venue for a Baby Shower but it helps! Depending on your budget, a friend’s or relative’s home may do nicely, or you could splash out on a posh Function Room in an upmarket hotel, restaurant or café to make the occasion extra special.
Decorating the room is de rigueur – the more baby related, the better. Balloons and bunting, garlands and flowers, toys and teddy bears will all add to the overall ambience. What about choosing a favourite theme for your Baby Shower? From All White to Vintage Dolls’ House, Alphabet or Fairy Tales, use a coordinating theme to really personalize your event.
If you know the gender of the unborn child, you can go to town with pink or blue. Some couples even use the occasion of their Baby Shower to reveal the sex of the baby to their friends and family.
A Baby Shower is not a formal event, but some degree of catering is sure to be expected. A finger food buffet may provide just the right amount of nibbles to satisfy your guests while not taking attention away from the main event. To add a touch of decadence but without the debauchery, why not serve non-alcoholic ‘mock’tails and give them quirky names such as Preggie Punch, Maternitini or Mamarita?
For a more indulgent girls’ daytime treat, how about taking your party for a classic Afternoon Tea? Imagine dainty sandwiches and savory treats, freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries all beautifully presented and served with a proper pot of English tea – what could be more civilized? Check the luxury Afternoon Tea experiences on offer from Into The Blue or similar companies and book online.
Many Baby Showers include an element of entertainment as well as hospitality. Communal crafting projects like quilting, knitting or pottery painting are lovely way to get everyone involved in an effort to create a precious keepsake for the parents-to-be.
Pamper parties are always popular, allowing the mum-to-be and her posse to indulge in a choice of face or body treatments at a luxury beauty salon. You can also arrange for a mobile spa service to come to the Baby Shower venue instead.
US Baby Showers tend to have party games, often with baby related themes and silly names like Teat Bobbing, Pin The Sperm On The Egg or Delectable Dirty Nappies. Not sure whether this will catch on in the same way on this side of the pond though…