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What do you serve at a baby shower?

I am just curious about different conventions. I recently offered to host a baby shower at my house for an old friend, imagining that it would be an afternoon gathering of 15 - 20 women, some cucumber tea sandwiches, scones, and tea. Now I am informed that the guest list is 50+ and people won't come unless we rent a banquette hall and serve a full, formal meal with flower arrangements and favors. Is the baby shower morphing into a second wedding? I think this is nuts...am I out of date? What kind of showers have you seen lately?

asked by lloreen about 3 years ago
20 answers 13355 views
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Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added about 3 years ago

Whoa! The last baby shower I went to was 15-20 people sitting around in a friend's living room chatting and eating frittata and salad. There was probably something sweet too. Haven't heard any reports of the kind of shower you're describing, but maybe I'm out of touch?

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added about 3 years ago

Sounds like the Bachelorette party from Bridesmaids. I suggest you rent it for some comic relief while you consider your options. :)

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added about 3 years ago

oops, I mean the Bridal shower from...

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added about 3 years ago

Sounds way over the top to me. The only baby showers I've been to are mostly composed of little old churchgoing ladies, non-alcoholic fruit punch, and deviled eggs. But I grew up in a Baptist community, so I'm probably not the person to ask ;)

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

I think they run the gamut. I've been to showers like the one you're describing, and in those cases the mother-to-be and/or hostess was more the "keeping up with the Joneses" type. On the other hand, a lot of people (myself included) are happy with a more intimate, homespun affair, My baby shower was a lovely picnic with pasta salad, green salad, and good Italian cold cuts.

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aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 3 years ago

50 people? A banquet? Good grief! I have hosted several baby showers and this is what I have learned:

Folks like the option of coffee, tea or a glass of wine (I have always scheduled them in the afternoon)
They also like a nice snack (a grainy salad, hummus, little sandwiches, deviled eggs, etc), and cupcakes
The DO like to watch the mother to be open gifts
they DO NOT want to play any of those dreaded games

BUT that's just me - we tend to lean towards the casual around here. I think maybe talking directly to the honoree rather than whomever is pushing for the extravagant is a good idea?

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

The baby showers I've attended have been of the more intimate, close friends and relatives in someone's home or garden, drinking wine or mimosas (or ice tea, lemonade, whatever for the mom to be,) and simple food. I threw one years back, that was a brunch - quiches, smoked salmon, salads, cut fruit, etc. (This banquet hall thing sounds like a baby shower on the Surreal Housewives...I'd much prefer your more personal, less glitzy approach!)

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 3 years ago

Forgot to mention that the last baby shower I co-hosted with two other friends b/c we invited 22 people, was a luncheon at private home where we served a rice salad and cold Thai noodle salad along with some desserts and punch....

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added about 3 years ago

I agree with June -- she who kindly and graciously offers to throw someone a party gets to define the parameters of "I'll throw you a party." My friends and I have hosted and attended a lot of baby showers...I've been to two that were luncheons at restaurants and both were small, intimate events, hosted by out-of-town relatives of the mother-to-be. I've never been to a banquet for 50....we usually have 20-30 people, at someone's house, generally around brunch or lunch time, and we either do the assortment of goodies outlined above (quiche or frittata, finger sandwiches, smoked salmon, salads....) along with a wide selection of beverages (including mimosas and wine) and desserts, or "theme" the food around the guest-of-honor's favorite cuisine. We structure it so the hostess provides the space and hosting necessities (plates, utensils, etc.), and chooses one or two dishes to prepare. Everyone else gets "assigned" something to bring. We've catered them a couple of times, when the shower coincided with another event (i.e., the mother-to-be is in town for someone's wedding, for example, so we decide to have a little celebration that same weekend). I don't think anyone has ever suggested much beyond what I outlined, and I don't think that anyone of us would feel comfortable suggesting something else....

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

Never been to a formal sit-down,with formal flower arrangements, baby shower EVER. The last baby shower was last year. My cousin's 3rd and final baby, extra special because she's having a girl after 2 boys. It was at her sister-in-law's home. There were a buffet of hot & cold finger food, lots of candy (part of the favor bag), cupcakes, and Jello shots. Yes, we played those stupid games, but it's such a permanent fixture of all the baby showers that I've been to that I just grin and bear it. @lloreen, you're not out of date. But clearly someone has mistaken a tradition of giving the baby gifts with a need to extract more expensive gifts out of friends and family. As the host, you get to do all the planning. This party is not for the guests so they can't demand a banquet hall. I call BS on any person who doesn't come to a baby shower simply because it's not a formal sit-down meal at a banquet hall with formal flower arrangements.

BTW, I've been to baby showers on the East Coast, West Coast, with Asians, Caucasians, Latinos, and African Americans. I've hosted 2. The showers have been as small as 6 and as large as 50 people. I was once invited to an event at a restaurant with 100 people, but that was a Red Egg & Ginger party and the baby's grandparents planned and paid for the whole thing.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

I'd just politely bow out. No need to express distaste or judgement to them - I'd just explain that the event they have in mind isn't the kind of thing you're comfortable planning, and you want them to have whatever party will make them happy.

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added about 3 years ago

The formal baby shower event you describe sounds like a nightmare! I do know personally of a baby shower like that. Fortunately I was not able to attend, but the feedback I received was "informal, not cozy, run like a game show," etc. The showers I have helped out with were cozy, with all the fixings Abbie describes, and either cupcakes, cookies, or even a cake for dessert. A few years ago, one of my god daughters was given a baby shower and she was expecting twins; hence the cake, which was copied from the shower invitation that we all received.

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added about 3 years ago

Thanks for your confirmation that this is not a harbinger of things to come! I was afraid that the wedding industrial complex was getting their hooks into the baby shower and convincing everyone that "tradition" says you have to bankrupt yourself for a party. I've heard about "gender reveal" parties....what is next, destination conception parties? The showers you have hosted sound lovely. You are right that there is family involvement dictating this....the actual mother to be isn't involved. I'm afraid my tea party idea has been vetoed, but I'm trying to limit the extravagance.

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ATL
added about 3 years ago

I like your tea party idea. I agree with the above comments: come with a gracious spirit and engage in the event. Don't criticize, set conditions, and carp about the generosity of the hostess. So rude but unfortunately I do see a trend toward grandiosity and narcissism on the part if some. It's all about that ever-fascinating person: Me.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

"... and people won't come unless we rent a banquette hall and serve a full, formal meal with flower arrangements and favors."

Who made those changes? You offered to host a baby shower at your house for a much smaller group. If someone changed the requirements to a rented venue for triple the number, they should be hosting the party - not you.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

... or at the very least, the costs should be proportionally divided between an appropriate number of people for the new (rented) location and fancier decorations, etc. Please let us know how it turns out. (Or if you do wind up needing recipes?) And good luck! No doubt it will be lovely.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

p.s. And what kind of friends "wouldn't come" if it's in someone's home and not a rented space? They are not friends.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 3 years ago

Bacon wrapped new potatoes. Par-boil new or baby potatoes...let cool slightly. Toss in and pepper, wrap in half piece of bacon and secure with toothpick. Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft and bacon is crisp). Serve with sour cream/chives. I always have to make about 5 lbs of these

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

Wow. Where I come from, we call that chutzpah.