Here’s our most complete and easy-to-follow baby shower checklist and timeline.
It’s updated for 2021, and includes helpful ideas for planning a virtual or safe socially distanced baby shower.
Plus, you get a free printable with a week-by-week breakdown – download and print it to keep you organized.
Let’s start baby shower planning!
In this Post:
- When to start planning a baby shower
- Printable Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline (FREE PDF)
- Consider these 9 things before you start
- 5 Weeks Before
- 4 Weeks Before
- 3 Weeks Before
- 2 Weeks Before
- 1 Week Before
- 2 Days Before
- 1 Day Before
- Party Time
This post may contain affiliate links. Our disclosure policy is a snooze fest, but feel free to check it out here.
When should you start planning a baby shower?
You’ll want to start planning your baby shower about 5-6 weeks ahead of time.
Keep in mind, that the most common window to throw a baby shower is when mom is between 6 – 8 months pregnant (22 weeks – 34 weeks).
The baby shower checklist and timeline below breaks down exactly what you need to do and when you should to do it by.
Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline Printable
First things first, let’s get you started with your free baby shower planning checklist PDF.
Print it and use it to get organized.
(Just use the button underneath the image to download it.)
Staying organized and breaking up your tasks is the secret to making planning super simple.
I promise, planning a baby shower doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful.
So go ahead and download your printable, then meet me below and we’ll walk through the details of each section.
Before You Start Baby Shower Planning
Okay before you start planning, there are a few things that you wanna consider.
Your answers to these questions will set the stage for a spectacular shower.
#1. Who’s hosting the shower?
Are you hosting the baby shower alone, or will someone be assisting you?
Baby showers are a huge occasion, especially for first-time moms.
She may have family members or friends who she wants to co-host the shower.
And, it is her big day, so check with her first.
Also, planning a baby shower is a lot of work, so having a few extra hands on deck will be super helpful.
#2. Will it be an in-person or alternative shower?
2020 and being in quarantine has changed the way we do, well, a lot of things.
Including how we have baby showers.
Big in-person parties may not be feasible for many reasons, but there are still some pretty cool options available.
You can do a virtual shower, drive-by shower, socially distanced shower, or a combination of the options that work best for mom-to-be.
You’ll want to decide on the type of shower you’re having pretty early on since it’ll affect the rest of your planning.
#3. What will the weather be?
What’s the climate where you live during the month you’re having the shower?
Keep the weather in mind as it’ll determine a lot.
For starters, it’ll help you decide whether the shower should be indoors or outdoors.
The weather may also determine any specific measures you take to make sure guests are comfortable. For example…
If it’s during a very cold month, you may consider serving a nice variety of hot beverages to help guests stay toasty.
If it’s rainy season, you may consider having an umbrella station at the front so folks aren’t trekking water into your living room.
#4. Do you want to hire professional services?
The shower can be sweet and simple or a soiree of epic proportions.
It’s totally your call.
When you’re deciding, one thing to consider is whether you want to hire professional services like a DJ, Caterer, Photographer, Videographer, etc…
All of these things will affect your budget, so knowing what you want ahead of time can help you set a realistic budget for the shower.
#5. Do you want to rent any furniture or equipment?
If you’ve fallen in love with some of the picture-perfect Instagram worthy baby shower photos you’ve seen online, and want to throw one of your own, you may want to consider renting furniture or equipment.
On a larger scale you could be looking at renting a venue, or an outdoor tent.
Smaller rental items can include statement pieces like a nice chair for the mom-to-be, tables, chairs, and decorations.
#6. Cooking or Catering?
Before you start working on the menu for the shower, think about whether you want to cook or cater the event.
If you’re eager to show off your culinary skills, there are tons of great baby shower menu ideas to get you started.
If you are culinarily challenged, like me (lol), or just don’t want the hassle of cooking, then it’s best to delegate that task.
You can cater the event or you can solicit the help of family and friends who love to cook.
One of my cousins had a huge shower (100+ guests), and all of the aunties on both sides of the family shared the responsibility of cooking for the shower.
That’s definitely an easy way to get delicious food without breaking your budget.
#7. Sharing baby registry?
Some couples want to include registry information with their invitations, while others choose not to.
Some may opt to ask for books or diapers instead of traditional gifts.
Talk to mom-to-be about her preference as early as possible.
Giving her a head start will mean she has enough time to finish her registry if necessary.
#8. Doing a diaper raffle?
Diaper raffles are pretty common and are an amazing way to help the parents-to-be with what’s easily one of the most expensive parts of having a new baby.
But before you start working on your diaper raffle poem, check with mom to be and find out whether she wants to do one.
The pros of doing a diaper raffle are obvious, but there are many reasons she may opt out.
For example, I’m planning on using a diaper subscription service once my baby girl arrives, so a diaper raffle wouldn’t be ideal for me.
Also if mom-to-be isn’t doing an in-person baby shower, she may opt to forgo it.
So be sure to find out what will work best for her.
#9. What’s your budget?
Ah, this is the most important question.
Throwing a party can easily get expensive even if you’re doing a small one at home.
Between decorations, food, and games, things can add up quickly.
Setting a budget upfront can keep you from getting ahead of yourself.
Once you’ve set your budget, you may have to prioritize your spending.
Look at what’s most important to you – decor, catering, having the shower at a particular venue?
Once you’ve nailed down your must-haves, you can adjust your spending in other areas as needed so that you can stay in budget.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to dive into your baby shower checklist.
☑️ Set date, time, and venue
5 Weeks before the baby shower, you’ll want to nail down the logistics.
Decide on a venue
You’re going to need to include the venue on your shower invitations, so it has to be one of the first things you decide.
If you’re having the shower somewhere other than your home, you’re going to want to make any necessary reservations ASAP.
Still trying to figure out where you should have the baby shower?
Here are some popular options based on the type of shower you’re having.
Traditional In-Person Shower
OPTION 1: Your house or someone else’s house.
Just keep in mind how many people you’re inviting to the shower. You don’t want guests sitting on top of each other, so you’ll want to choose somewhere with enough space.
Also, depending on where you live, and again your guest count, you’ll want to choose a location with enough parking for guests.
OPTION 2: Rent a venue.
You can rent a nice hall, restaurant, or other venue to host your shower.
This takes away some of the hassle of setting up and cleaning up. However, it’ll obviously be more expensive than hosting it at your home.
OPTION 3: Outdoors at a park.
An outdoor shower at a park is another popular option.
Just keep the weather in mind. You’ll also want to have a Plan B in case it rains.
In larger parks, you’ll want to make your meeting spot as obvious as possible to arriving guests.
Also, find out if the park requires you to get a permit or if they have any other rules you’ll need to know about.
There are several online platforms you can go with to host your shower. Here are some popular free options:
WebBabyShower is another option and unlike the others, it’s designed specifically to make planning virtual showers easy.
It is a paid platform, but offers specific features for hosting a baby shower including tools to customize the look and feel of your virtual shower, matching virtual invitations, and Facebook invites.
Mom-to-be can also upload sonogram pictures and pregnancy updates to keep guests involved both before and after the shower.
Drive By Shower
You can host a drive by shower anywhere you feel comfortable.
A friend of mine is doing hers at a park, while my cousin did hers at her home.
Just make sure that if you’re doing it somewhere other than home, that you have enough space in your car to help transport the gifts that mom-to-be will receive.
Choose the date and time
The most common time to throw a baby shower is when mom-to-be is between 6-8 months pregnant.
Early or late afternoon are common times to host a baby shower, but the absolute best time, is the time of day that’s convenient for mom-to be.
If you have a certain theme in mind, that may determine what time the shower starts.
For example, if you want to do a baby shower brunch, late morning / early afternoon will work best for you. Or, if you’re doing an outdoor shower and want to create a little more ambiance, you may opt to do a shower at sunset.
You’ll also want to keep in mind how long you want the shower to be. If you plan a lot of games, the shower will be longer and you’ll have to plan accordingly.
☑️ Choose a Theme
A theme isn’t mandatory for throwing a baby shower, however having one can make a lot of your decor decisions easier.
You can tie your theme in with your decorations, food selection, games, prizes, etc…
Need some help choosing a theme?
☑️ Make your Guest List
Deciding who to invite to the baby shower can easily feel overwhelming, especially if mom-to-be has a large family or friend group.
The important thing to remember is that this is her big day. Invite people who will celebrate with her, not stress her out.
Before you start working on the guest list, find out if she wants a girls only shower, or co-ed shower.
Also, assuming it’s not a surprise shower, ask her who she wants to invite. Let her take the lead on this.
If it is a surprise, work with someone really close to her to come up with the guest list.
☑️ Make a list of supplies needed
Now’s the perfect time to start making a list of the supplies you’ll need to pull this baby shower off!
Start a running tab of everything you’ll need to buy from decorations and food, to smaller items like pens and tape.
Once you’re about a month out from the shower date, here are the 4 most important tasks to tackle:
☑️ Create and send invitations
Now that you have your theme and your guest list, it’s time to get those invitations out.
If you’re sending paper invitations, you can buy some like these from Amazon, but keep in mind they’ll be generic.
Or, you can create more personalized invitations by ordering from a shop on Etsy.
You can also snag invitations at your local party store or craft store.
☑️ Buy Decorations
Keep your theme front of mind when picking out your decorations.
If you need some inspiration, a few minutes on Pinterest is bound to get those creative juices flowing.
You can buy decorations from local party stores and craft stores, or you can shop online – whichever is most convenient for you.
On Amazon you can often find theme-based party packs which include several decorations like balloons, garland, and cake toppers, all in one sweet bundle.
Etsy has more variety and gives you the option to personalize some of your decorations. For example, you can do a personalized welcome sign, favors, or thank you cards.
☑️ Make Menu / Order Catering
By now you know whether you’re ordering food, cooking yourself, or doing a mix of both.
Now’s the time to nail down your baby shower menu and order any catering.
When planning your menu, keep your baby shower theme in mind.
Pinterest is one of the easiest ways to find some theme inspired menu ideas.
Later on, you’ll also want to make sure you set aside time before the shower to pick up the food, or delegate that task to someone else.
☑️ Order Cake / Cupcakes
Now’s a good time to order your cake for the shower.
For a more quarantine / socially-distanced friendly ideas, you may choose to forgo a traditional cake and go with individually wrapped cupcakes instead.
3 Weeks before the shower is the best time to purchase a lot of your supplies. By now, you have a pretty solid idea of what you’re gonna need.
Shopping 3 weeks out gives you enough wiggle room in case you’re dealing with any shipping delays or mistakes.
When shopping keep 2 things in mind:
- Your budget – you don’t have to, nor should you, break the bank to get what you need.
- Your RSVPs – By now, you have guests who have RSVPD for the shower, so you can start getting an accurate headcount. If you’re still waiting on a large number of responses, or you want to get a final count before you buy anything, you can still take this time to choose and price out your favorite choices.
That being said, here are 5 things from your baby shower checklist to tackle this week:
☑️ Decide on Baby Shower Games
Now’s a good time to choose the games you’re going to play at the shower.
When choosing games, consider how much time you want to allot to playing games. Choose too many games and the shower could end up being longer than expected, which may be a big problem if you’re renting a venue.
If you’re doing a virtual shower, you won’t be able to play some of the popular baby shower games, but don’t let that discourage you.
The trick with a virtual shower is to choose a variety of digital games, or games that don’t require your guests to use any props.
Although, if the shower is small enough, or your budget is big enough, you can create and mail out party packs to guests. Party packs can include any props needed for the games, a shower favor, and anything else you want to include.
☑️ Buy Game and Raffle Prizes
Now that you have your games figured out, decide how many prizes you wanna award for each game.
Then, it’s time to go shopping.
Oh and don’t forget to include a prize for the diaper raffle if you’re doing one.
PRO TIP: If doing a diaper raffle, don’t forget to buy the raffle cards. You can send them out with your invites or create a diaper raffle station at the shower. You’ll want to leave extra pens at the diaper raffle station so guests can complete their raffle cards. Learn how to pull off an easy and tasteful diaper raffle.
☑️ Buy baby shower favors
Guests who don’t win a game prize, won’t be going home empty handed.
You have so many options to choose from when picking out baby shower favors.
Your final decision will probably be based on budget, so choose a couple of ideas you like and price it out.
Some popular and affordable ideas fall under the dessert category like individually wrapped cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, or candies.
You can also get a little fancier with favors like small champagne or wine bottles, or scented candles.
Or, you can give something practical like mini hand sanitizers, which guests are sure to appreciate and use.
☑️ Buy thank you cards for guests
Again, Amazon, Etsy, or your favorite party store to rescue.
You can go with generic or personalized thank you cards.
Mom-to-be can send these out to all her guests, and anyone who didn’t come, but sent a gift.
PRO TIP: Assign someone to keep track of the gift each guest brought. This will help mom-to-be write personalized thank you notes.
☑️ Buy a gift for mom
Now’s also a good time to start thinking about what you want to get mom-to-be.
You can get something sentimental that will help her create lasting memories of her shower.
Or, you can use her registry as a guide and get something you know she needs.
With just 2 weeks left before party time, we’re getting down to the wire.
Fortunately, you’ve done a lot of the work so far and this week you can focus on follow up. Here’s what’s on your baby shower checklist this week:
☑️ Follow up with RSVPS
Now’s the time you want to get an accurate headcount for the shower.
Reach out to anyone who hasn’t yet responded to the baby shower invitation.
Once you have a final guest count, or very close to final, you can make any last minute tweaks to the menu, or the favors.
PRO TIP: If you have a lot of folks to follow up with, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can split the list with someone, or delegate this entire task to someone else.
☑️ Finalize Menu
With your guest count finalized, it’s time to finalize the menu. If you need to make any adjustments to your catering order, now’s the time to do it.
Make sure you’ve thought of what you’re serving for both food (including any desserts) and drinks.
PRO TIP: Make sure you know exactly what your caterer is providing you with. You may need to bring, borrow, or purchase extra serving dishes, cake stands, serving utensils, etc. Now’s also a good time to make sure you get enough plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery for your guests.
There’s just 1 week left before the big day, and now’s the time to shift gears to preparing all the things you’ll need for the day of.
This week can require a lot of hands-on activity, so don’t be afraid to ask others to help.
Here’s what you’re tackling from your baby shower checklist this week:
☑️ Finalize Guest Count
Follow up with any stragglers who haven’t yet responded.
If you don’t hear anything back, keep in mind that there’s always a chance that they show up to the shower anyway. You may want to make enough favors for them just in case.
☑️ Create Agenda for Day Of
Create your timeline for the day of the baby shower.
By now you know how long you want the shower to be, so set aside a specific amount of time for activities like:
- Mingling / Eating
- Opening Gifts
PRO TIP: If you’re doing the shower at a venue, make sure you set aside time for breaking down and cleaning up after the shower.
☑️ Prepare Games
If you purchased games that require props or assembly, prepare those this week.
If you purchased printable games that you’re going to hand out to guests, now’s a good time to get those printed and cut, if needed.
Doing games that involve props like a baby bottle? Clean the bottles this week.
PRO TIP: Organize everything you need for the games in one box. This will make it easier for you to stay organized on the day of.
☑️ Wrap Prizes and Gifts
If you prefer to conceal the prizes and gifts, go ahead and wrap them.
An easy option is to put them in a gift bags and add some tissue paper to the top.
☑️ Confirm with vendors and venue
Do your due diligence and follow up with your vendors and venue to confirm that everyone is on the same page.
For vendors delivering services, make sure you confirm the time of their arrival and where exactly they should meet you.
If you’re renting a venue, make sure you know exactly who your point of contact will be that day, and how to get in touch with them.
PRO TIP: You’ll be running around and handling any last minute tasks on the day of the shower. Give your vendors and the venue the cell phone number of your co-host, in case they can’t reach you. Of course, get that person’s permission before giving out their phone number.
☑️ Delegate tasks
To preserve your sanity, I highly encourage you to delegate tasks for the day of.
Ask a few people you trust to arrive early and help you with things like:
- Picking up the cakes, cupcakes
- Picking up food from the caterer
- Hanging decorations
- Setting up the different stations (food station, gifts table, diaper raffle table)
- Hanging decorations outside and making the venue stand out
- Picking up mom-to-be and driving her to the shower
- Cleaning up after the shower
- Transporting any gifts to mom-to-be’s house after the shower
- Taking care of mom-to-be (bringing her food and drinks)
- Keeping track of what gifts each guest brought
- Managing the games
There’s so much to do on the day of and you’re gonna want help.
PRO TIP: Use your agenda to help you make a list of all that tasks you’ll need to get done during each part of the shower. Also include all the supplies each task requires. Use that list to help you delegate responsibilities.
☑️ Get last minute supplies
Now that you’ve looked at every detail of what will be happening on the day of the shower, it’s likely that you’ve realized you need a few extra items.
Use the list that you created above, to create an exhaustive list of the supplies you need.
Think about things like Sharpies, tape, extra pens, scissors, boxes or bags to transport decorations and supplies, anything you’ll need to hang decorations, serving dishes and utensils, cutlery, bags of ice, food warmers, and table cloths.
Remember, it never hurts to have a few more supplies than you think you’ll need. Being over prepared means you can breathe easy in case something unexpected happens.
PRO TIP: Organize your supplies by task/station. For example, keep the decorations and anything you’ll need to hang the decorations in a box labeled “Decorations.” You can hand that box off to whoever’s responsible for decorating the venue and they’ll have everything they need in one spot. Easy, breezy.
It’s almost time to party!
Most of the work is behind you, there’s only a few loose ends to tie up now.
Here’s what on your baby shower checklist for 2 days before the shower:
☑️ Send reminders to helpers
Send a short friendly reminder to anyone who’s helping you on the day of the shower.
Remind them what time they need to be at the venue and what you need them to do.
Be sure to provide them with any contact details they’ll need. For example, the person picking up the food should have the name and phone number of the caterer.
If you used a name other than yours to make any reservations, make sure to communicate that as well.
And lastly, if there’s a remaining balance on the food or other items that must be paid at the time of pick-up, communicate that and make proper arrangements with the person doing the pick-up.
If you’re hosting the shower at your house, now’s a good time to clean up and get the place in order.
It’ll give you one less thing to do on the day of the shower.
PRO TIP: Make sure you have extra garbage bags handy. You’ll have a lot of people emptying garbage at the shower and garbage bags will be the last thing you want to run out of.
☑️ Chill Beverages
The last thing guests want on a hot summer day is a warm drink.
Chill your beverages ahead of time so they’re nice and cool in time for the shower.
☑️ Create a baby shower playlist
If you’re hosting the shower at a venue, be sure to confirm that you can hook your iPhone or laptop up to their speaker system.
Otherwise, be sure to bring your own speakers (and extra batteries, or the power chord, just in case!).
Need help putting together your baby shower playlist?
Check out these sweet baby shower songs.
Wow, the baby shower is tomorrow and all of your hard work is about to pay off!
There are just a few more items on your baby shower checklist to make sure tomorrow goes off without a hitch.
☑️ Buy and prep food
If you’re doing any cooking, now’s the time to get a head start.
If there’s anything you can cook ahead of time, you may want to go ahead and do that.
Otherwise, prep as much of the food as you can to cut down on cooking time tomorrow.
☑️ Prep gift station and other stations
If you’re hosting the baby shower at home, or someplace you can access today, get a head start on preparing the gift station, diaper raffle station, and food stations.
You can put down table cloths, put up signs, and lay out the supplies.
☑️ Decorate as much as possible
Again, this may not be possible if you’re renting a venue, but if you can, do as much of the decorating as possible.
And even if you’re hosting at another venue, there may still be things you can get done like blowing up balloons, ironing table cloths, framing any table signs, etc.
Woohoo, you did it!
It’s finally the day of the baby shower and it’s time to party.
Soon you’ll be enjoying the fruit of your labor, but first you’ll want to knock these last minute things off your baby shower checklist:
☑️ Finish Decorating
Give yourself enough time to finish decorating.
If for any reason you find yourself running behind schedule, make sure you get someone to help you decorate so you can finish before the shower starts.
☑️ Make venue easy to spot
Make the baby shower venue as conspicuous as possible.
You can use balloons and signs to make it super obvious where party central is.
The last thing you want is for your guests to be wandering around in circles looking for the venue.
☑️ Set out food and beverages
Set up your food, beverages, plates, cups, serving utensils, cutlery, and napkins.
To make sure you’re not missing anything, pretend you’re a guest grabbing a bite to eat and something to drink.
Got your can of soda, your cup, but don’t see any ice? Uh-oh. Better fix that.
Pretending to experience the party like a guest will help you spot anything you’ve missed.
☑️ Add finishing touches
Now’s the time to put your finishing touches on everything!
Now that everything’s set up, you have a bird’s eye view of the shower, and can make any last minute adjustments.
Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to welcome your guests and have some fun as you celebrate mom-to-be and her sweet bundle of joy!
Using your Baby Shower Checklist and Timeline
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download and print your baby shower checklist and timeline.
Make any adjustments to the timeline as needed and feel free to ignore/add items to the checklist based on your specific needs.
I hope this helps you.
Happy baby shower planning!