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Baby showers are a great way to share in the excitement of a friend or family member about the imminent arrival of their precious baby. It gives loved-ones the chance to spoil the mom-to-be and helps her begin to gather the things she'll need once her baby arrives. If you're the one tasked with planning this important event, it can seem like there's a huge amount to think about.

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Compile a Guest List

While a surprise baby shower may seem like a great idea, the most important thing is to make sure that the mom-to-be can share this special day with all the people she loves most. For this reason, it's a good idea to ask for her input to make sure no one important is forgotten.

If the element of surprise is important, it's a wise idea to consult her partner or someone else who knows her well so that everyone she would want there receives an invite.

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Choose a Time and Date

Ideally, consult with the mom-to-be about whether she would prefer her shower before or after her baby is born. Many moms prefer to have their shower pre-baby because they can enjoy spending time with family and friends and sorting through their gifts without having to worry about caring for and nursing their baby. It's worth bearing in mind that they're likely to be sleep deprived after the birth.

However, there are some upsides to showers after the baby is born. It allows loved-ones to shower the mom and meet the baby in just one trip. Additionally, post-baby showers allow guests to know the name and sex of the baby and choose more personalized gifts.

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Pick the Location

Some moms-to-be prefer to have a baby shower at their home. It's more private and allows mom to be comfortable if her baby has already arrived. However, it's important to check that she is comfortable with this option before inviting all her friends and family over! Alternatively, booking an event room or large table at a restaurant can be very convenient as various aspects such as catering and clearing up will be taken care of. If the weather is warm, hosting the shower outside with a picnic in the park can be a lovely option.

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Provide Food and Drink

Just like any celebration, it's important to make sure that baby shower guests have plenty to eat and drink. This is easy to arrange if the shower is to be held at a venue. Ask the event organizers if they can provide drinks and a special meal based around foods the mom-to-be loves.

If you need to organize catering yourself, buffet-style food is often the simplest to lay on. If the budget is large enough, hiring in outside caterers can tick this off the to-do list. If money is tight, ask guests to contribute a dish to create a potluck lunch.

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Create a Registry

Guests often like to purchase gifts for a mom-to-be from a registry to make sure they are buying her items she wants and needs and that there are no duplicates. If she hasn't created one already, now is the time to remind her to do so. However, it's important to let guests know that they can feel free to deviate from the registry. Sometimes, the most meaningful gifts at a baby shower are those given from the heart, reflecting the person's individual relationship with mom.

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Plan Some Games

A few well-chosen games can really help a baby shower go off with a bang. They're also a great way to break the ice if some of the guests don't know each other.

There are plenty of fun baby shower game ideas. An old favorite is for each guest to bring a baby photo of themselves and for everyone to guess who is who - guaranteed to spark conversation and revive old memories.

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Don't Forget Daddy

In all the excitement, it can be easy for dads-to-be to end up feeling a little left out. It's important to remember that he's anticipating the arrival of his baby just as much as the mom is.

To help him feel included, it's a great idea to invite him and some of his buddies to the shower as well and to make sure there are gifts for him as well as for mommy. Alternatively, approach one of his friends and ask them to arrange a get-together just for him.

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Choose Perfect Decorations

Beautiful baby shower decorations don't have to be expensive. Kits are available online with everything required to throw a gorgeously-decorated baby shower for a boy or girl, or in neutral colors if the sex of the baby isn't yet known.

Alternatively, fresh flowers or handmade tissue paper pompoms make cheap and attractive baby shower decorations.

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Pamper Mom-to-Be

The arrival of a new baby can be an overwhelming and exhausting time as well as a joyful one. As well as gifts for the new baby, a few treats for the new mommy are a lovely idea to help her pamper herself before her new arrival. A goody bag containing some scented bath products, an aromatherapy candle and some small edible treats that she's been craving are perfect to help her get some last-minute relaxation in.

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Give Out Thoughtful Favors

To show appreciation for the guests' generosity, giving out small gifts at the end of the shower is a much-appreciated gesture. These needn't be expensive-it's the thought that counts. Some pretty candies, bath salts or a small box of chocolates are all great ideas, along with a slice of the baby shower cake.

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