We’ll help you plan a baby shower that’s full of photo ops (aka extra memorable).
What will make your guests go ooh! and awww? Planning a baby shower that will get a lot of likes (IRL, of course) takes, well, inspiration. That’s why we combed Instagram for all the picture-perfect ideas you need to throw a memorable baby shower. From the food to the favors and all the games in between, these are the details that transform a baby shower from fun to fabulous. Choose a few favorites so the parents-to-be have plenty of special memories to look back on!
fancy balloon arches
Nothing captures the joy and whimsy of an impending little one quite like balloons. Instead of old school bunches, the latest trend is to string ‘em together into a beautiful balloon arch. No matter if it’s over the party entrance, over a dessert table or behind the gifts, a balloon arch really makes baby shower photos, well, pop! Have a blank wall or less-spectacular corner you need to decorate? Consider putting a balloon arch wherever you think it’s best for guests to snap photos (because they will) without getting in the way of the festivities.
You can order a balloon arch from your local party store, but it’s an easy-ish DIY if you want to save money. Before you get started, consider your budget, creative abilities, and (let’s be honest) patience. A mid-sized arch requires 100+ balloons of varying size and finishes (think: clear with confetti, metallic, transparent hues–a mix of styles and sizes always looks great), plus a balloon arch strip, which is a plastic strip with evenly-spaced holes for you to push the knotted balloon ends through, like this. You don’t need helium to inflate your balloons, just your breath. It helps to blow up 20 or so balloons at a time, then attach them to the strip so you’re working in batches. (If you’re pregnant, leave this job to your party planning partner(s) please!) When your arch is filled, use string or adhesive-backed hooks to hang it in place as an arch.
giant letter boxes
Moving right along to another baby shower design riff that doubles as decor and photo opportunity: Giant letter boxes. Tired of light boxes? Over chalkboards? Not diggin’ the easel? This is a fresh spin. Keep the message simple with “Baby,” “Love,” or “Awww,” or spell out the little one’s name or gender, if known. Whether you stack the boxes vertically or horizontally, make them accessible so baby shower guests can pick ‘em up and play in front of the camera. Incorporating a gender reveal or name? Boxes are a bold way to do it.
sprawling dessert tables
Let’s face it, the thing most guests remember after a celebration ends is the dessert table. (Photo evidence helps, too.) These days, the vibe is less sheet cake and more something-for-everyone. Straight from the bakery or your bf’s kitchen, dessert tables are a great way to inject some visually delicious lightheartedness into your baby shower–and they play well off a party theme. Some of our fave options include colorful donuts, dainty cupcakes, jam-filled muffins, mini-sorbets, tiny ice cream cones, bite-sized petit fours (so, really, anything that fits in the palm of one’s hand) and fruity parfaits.
The key to creating a photo-worthy spread? Presentation! Elevate store-bought cookies or basic brownies on a tiered cake stand, pile sugary confessions in clear jars, and arrange cupcakes on sweet platters. Vary high and low elements so guests have something to browse (and share with their followers). Hashtag yummmm?
crowd-pleasing grazing tables
Borrowing a foodie favorite from weddings, the grazing table is the cool-yet-yummy way to serve brunch, lunch, or dinner at your baby shower. Like the dessert table, it’s all about presenting an abundance of options (not to be confused with volume). The great thing about a grazing table is that it’s meant to look a little unkempt, and totally mouth-watering. Plus, there’s minimal cleanup, so everyone can focus on having fun. And no one, we mean no one, leaves hungry–promise.
Start with cheese, mixing hard, soft, and slightly smelly. Next come the crackers, which can be arranged like dominos–easy for picking–alongside bowls of olives, cherry tomatoes, pistachios, and almonds, great for snacking while chatting. Sandwiches and wraps can be cut into narrow sections–good for stacking and nice for nibbling. From there, it’s a good idea to fill in with the mom-to-be’s favorites. She’ll need fuel to make it through presents!
place cards that are keepsakes
Hands up if you’ve ever kept a place card… or two? There’s something about seeing your name in elegant cursive that really makes these seat-finders hard to part with. In baby shower-land where the trend is fashion meets function, even the place settings do double-duty. Going for a botanical theme? Set the table with flowers in jam jars or succulents (which are super-easy to care for) with guests’ names scrawled across the vessels. Origami storks, rounded skipping stones, sea glass, seashells, magnets, and candles all make for special keepsakes guests that will want to hold onto well after the little one is born.
super-cute edible favors
And on that note, give ‘em something truly tasty to take with them when they leave. There is no prettier, yummier trend in baby shower favors right now than flooded cookies. Usually made with shortbread or sugar cookies, flooded cookies are so ubiquitous you may think of them simply as baby shower cookies. Flooding is actually an icing technique, where the edge of the cookie is lined then filled with a thin, smooth layer of icing to create a photo-fresh finish. There are plenty of easy-to-follow (and surprisingly soothing) videos of amateur bakers illustrating the method on Youtube, or, leave the baking to a pro cake maker and continue on with other prep. Beyond flooded cookies, cake-pops are a tried-and-true fave, as are tiny pouches filled with treats that either skew salty (popcorn) or sweet (family-branded M&M’s, anyone?).
If you’ve planned the food, desserts, and favors, there’s one thing left to consider: the entertainment. Baby Bingo may have gone the way of sheet cakes, but we’ve got some ideas for upgrading baby shower games (and for some fun candid snaps).
Give guests mini marker boards and something to write with and figure out who knows mommy best with a quiz only your nearest and dearest will be able to answer. If the momma-to-be isn’t into being center stage the whole day (it’s…a lot), ask guests to bring their own baby pictures to hang on a cork board. Then let everyone guess who’s who–the person who gets the most correct wins.
Want a game that helps guests get to know each other? Hand out signs with pre-written answers. The party host can ask either/or questions (steering clear of parenting-related topics, like breastfed or formula–no one wants a debate to spoil the cheer), and separate guests into groups based on their answers. The last question is always the kicker: boy or girl?