There are numerous ways that you can cut costs when planning a shower. Perhaps the easiest way is to split the hostess duties among several friends. Homemade
food, favors, and invitations are another way to make things less expensive. The time of day you have the shower may also influence the cost. A mid-afternoon party with cake, punch, and light snacks is much less expensive than a dinner or a spa afternoon. Having the party at a restaurant may be less expensive if the guests all know each other and are willing to pay for their own meals. This may be somewhat awkward, though, so it definitely is a plan that will only fit certain situations.
Handmade invitations are a very easy way to cut corners. With a computer, a printer, and cardstock or specialty paper, you can make invitations that will look practically professional. Or you can choose to make a crafty invitation that perfectly complements your theme. Another option for invitations is to email invitations. Sites like sendomatic allow you to send invitations and maps, track responses, and even send weather reports for the big day for less than $15 dollars for 100 invitations. Sending email invitations saves on the purchase of invitations, as well as the postage.
Food for a shower can be very simple. If you have an early afternoon party that falls after lunch but before dinner, you can serve cake, punch, mints, nuts, and perhaps a fruit tray very inexpensively. The presentation is often more important than the actual food that is served. Use nice bowls and silver for a formal atmosphere. If you do not have crystal or silver, you can usually get plastic that looks like crystal and silver and will still look nice. Finger sandwiches also add an elegant touch and are inexpensive and easy to prepare. If you want a more casual feel to the shower, a vegetable platter and chips and dips are always welcome. Or get everyone in on the act and ask each person attending to bring a snack. You might want to have a sign up sheet, though, so that you don't end up with 5 bags of chips.
Believe it or not, even if you don't consider yourself a baker, there are several alternatives to expensive bakery cakes. Cupcakes are very easy, and sugar or plastic decorations in baby themes are fairly easy to find. You can also use frosting to "glue" small plastic baby decorations to the tops of Little Debbie snack cakes. These are precious, and they look like you spent a lot of time. Another option is to skip the traditional decorated cake, altogether, and go for individual cheesecakes (easy to make in muffin tins) or a delicious chocolate cake (make sure that the mom-to-be isn't avoiding chocolate first). Cookies can make a great sweet treat also, and there are some really cute cookie cutters readily available. Finally, if you think you can make and frost a rectangular cake but are concerned about trying to do fancy decorations, you can find edible cake art images online. These are easy to apply to the top of the cake, and they are the same images used by bakeries.
Many of the games and activities for a baby shower are free. There are printouts available online if you want to play games like bingo. While party favors are a nice touch for a shower, they certainly are not necessary. A personal thank you, in person or written, is all that is necessary to thank the guests for attending.
Throwing a baby shower is a wonderfully generous thing to do. It does not, however, have to break the bank. Remember, the most important thing when hosting a shower is to create wonderful memories for your friend. Years from now she will remember the laughter and the thoughtfulness of her friends more than she will remember fancy favors or expensive cakes.
About the Author
Jill Manty is a stay at home and co-owner of www.delightfulchild.com, an online business dedicated to providing information about baby showers, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.