I have to admit: I love everything about this concept. It caters for those who are pressed for time, without rushing things or compromising on any of the traditional 'fanfare' that one looks forward to at these things.
So, here's how to do it:
Save The Date
Naturally, the first thing is to choose a date. We opted for a late Sunday afternoon affair. It worked well for us because many of us had prior engagements over a number of consecutive weekends, and none of us had whole days to set aside for this event.
Location, Location, Location
The ideal for me would be an outdoor location, particularly if you're going the sunset/sun-downer route like we were. However, any spacious indoor location works well too (for a bit of a cocktail party feel).
There are plenty template ideas all over the net. I preferred a more sophisticated and elegant feel compared to the usual baby-themed options, and made this one from a concept I found on www.zazzle.com and mailed or text it to all the guests (as is the norm these days). We stuck with the late afternoon idea, and settled on a time of two hours - much like a real happy hour.
Our budget, time and interests had us sticking to a minimalist approach all the way into the decor as well. We simply put up some pink patterned bunting, used pink accents in the serviettes and plates, and got a few helium filled pink and gold balloons. It gave a very grown up and girly feel, without needing to cover the room in baby paraphernalia.
Food and Refreshments
This was my favourite part. We decided to plan everything around a central theme: what is more happy hour than cocktails, and more celebratory than champagne? We chose to serve only punch and sparkling wine (non-alcoholic, of course). I bought a couple pretty bottles of pink bubbly, and made our own punch with fruit juices, frozen berries and sparkling water. We served the drinks in champagne flutes with fresh strawberry garnish, and chose not to have other juice, soft drinks or tea options which also helped keep the event brief.
It was all such a hit with the guests. Not only was it really tasty, it was also light enough to fill a gap without replacing dinner.
I'm not particularly big on all the traditional baby shower games, although I admit some of them are really fun. So in keeping with a low-key and more subdued atmosphere, we decided to do just three activities:
Nursery Rhyme Time allowed guests to test their nursery knowledge and identify common nursery rhymes by cryptic clues, no lyrics. We allowed guests to work in pairs in an attempt to finish the task first. We then went through the clues and had the mom-to-be sing the ones she could.
The other activity we did was something we started even before the guest of honour arrived. I had printed several copies of colour-in pages for each letter of the alphabet, and asked everyone to colour them in. The idea was that, at the end, we would have something that we could put together and give to the mom-to-be as Baby's first ABC book. Having all these adults colouring in was very entertaining (who knew it was so difficult to stay inside the lines?) - and also surprisingly therapeutic.
Our final activity Guess Who allowed the mom-to-be to guess the gift giver by listening to a story about their childhood. This was such a hit! It allowed the guests to really get to know something about each other, and encouraged conversation, even with those who'd never met each other before. And in our case, the mom-to-be was such a poor and funny guesser, we were in stitches most of the time!
All in all, from an unlikely beginning, it was a really successful party for the hosts, the guests and mom-to-be, with relatively easy preparation and planning, and apart from the dishes, nearly no cleaning afterwards. I would definitely do this type of thing again!