The Party Planner

Baby Shower: Bottles and Blankies 

This baby shower will help you leave the mom-to-be with not only happy memories, but lots of practical goodies. 

Send your guests baby bottle invitations. Write party details on note cards that include the caption, “We can’t keep it bottled up any longer. We’re having a baby shower for [mom-to-be’s name].” Encourage guests to fill the bottles with coupons for baby products and bring the bottles to the shower. Secure the bottle tops with clear packing tape and the bottles can act as mailing tubes.  You can also turn this idea into a party game by awarding a prize to the guest who collects the most valuable savings 

Your decorations could include flower bouquets in baby bottles filled with sand. You could also use the baby bottles as candleholders. Fill the bottles with colored sand and insert taper candles in the sand (candles that don’t drip wax work best).

Substitute baby blankets for tablecloths, use pacifiers as napkin rings, and serve drinks from baby bottles with straws. Wash the items following the shower and pack up all the baby items used for decorations for mom-to-be to take home.

Bridal Shower: Pick a Room, Any Room 

Get out of the kitchen and into the bedroom, living room, library, or even home office, with a party that will provide the bride-to-be with plenty of new products for everything but the kitchen.  The invitations could request that guests bring a gift related to different rooms in a house, or, if you prefer, all guest would bring a gift related to only one room. Make your invitation correspond with the specified room, for example, in the shape of a television for an “entertainment room” theme.  

Your decorations can also correspond to your themed room. For a “bedroom shower,” move a twin bed into a corner of the party room (complete with matching linens, pretty stuffed pillows, and a duvet cover) and use that to hold the guests’ gifts or even buffet foods.

For a “library” themed shower, use stacks of old books as your centerpieces and have guests bring an unwrapped copy of their favorite novel to place as a gift for the bride on a decorated bookshelf. For game time, place an unusual item from the various rooms of the house (or your one specific room) such as an alarm clock or a candle holder into a pillowcase. Have guests try to guess what each item is only by feeling it through the fabric.  As party favors, you could provide satin pillowcases (bedroom), brightly colored bunches of pencils (home office), DVDs or videos (entertainment room), bath salts (bathroom), or any number of gifts related to your theme room(s).  Even your menu can correspond. For example, try a dessert buffet of “foods you’d eat in bed” for a bedroom theme including things like ice cream, cookies, and chocolate cake.

Kid Party: A Safari Adventure

This party will bring out the animal in your kids and their friends—in a good way. 

For decorations, draw animal tracks with chalk on the sidewalk and driveway to lead your guests to the entrance.

You can also make a pool of quicksand by filling up a wading pool with sand and adding a sign that reads, “Danger: Quick Sand!”

For inside the house, make vines out of green and brown crepe paper to decorate the main room. You can also add to the motif by arranging some of your children’s stuffed animals.  To keep your party goers active and laughing away, try an elephant race. All you need is a broomstick (or other long stick) for each of the two teams.  

Once you’ve divided the group into two teams, mark a starting line and turnaround point for the race. Both teams line up behind the starting line.

Next, the first two members of each team stand back to back, straddling the broomstick. Finally, on a signal, players race to the designated spot and back. The player facing forward on the way down should be facing backward on the way back. The first team to have each of its pairs complete the race is the winner. A small bag of peanuts is an appropriate prize.

For refreshments, create a crocodile hoagie. Make a ham sandwich using a full loaf of French bread, cutting the bread lengthwise between the top and bottom. Do not cut to serving size until you are ready to serve.

Take one end of the French bread and hold up the top piece of break with a toothpick for the mouth of the crocodile. Make sure the lunch meat is showing so it looks like the tongue of the crocodile. Stick whole blanched almonds around the bottom and top edges of the mouth as teeth.

Finally, use two olives (green or black) as the eye of the crocodile, putting them in place by sticking a toothpick through the olive and into the bread.

Comments and feedback can be sent to