How to Host a Memorable Baby Shower for Less

While I never understood the purpose of wedding showers, I've always loved baby showers. The little arrival legitimately needs a host of gadgets, clothing, and sleeping tools that friends and family love to bestow upon the expectant family. My biggest problem with them is the expected cost of these parties--upwards of $450. Not to mention your personal gift for the mom-to-be.


This expenditure is outrageous in my book. Junior won't benefit one iota from fancy teacakes and pink M&M party favors. If you are going to spend money on a shower, put as much as you can toward actual baby gifts and not so much on professional invitations.

By following these tips you can host a baby shower for under $120.

  • Decorations are easy to display for cheap. Try to make as many of them double as gifts. Buy two packs of onesies in bright colors and hang along a clothesline. To add some flair, print gender appropriate designs to stick on the clothespins. Diaper cakes are not only expected at a shower, but also make useful gifts. How to Make Stuff has specific instructions on making an attractive diaper cake. Ask your guests to bring a small toy, pacifier, or bottle to place on the cake when they arrive. Use butcher paper to cover tables and criss-cross clearance ribbon on the top for an inexpensive and eye-catching display. Sprinkle tiny, flower shaped sugar sprinkles on the butcher paper to add flair.
    Total cost for decorations: $60
  • Opt for an Evite rather than traditional invitations. Before you balk, think about RSVPs. People don't call ahead now. If you send an electronic invite guests are forced to respond and you can plan the party better. The host can also include links to registry items and any other instructions for the shower...for free!
  • A quick stroll down the baby shower aisle leaves you wanting more in the favor department. Most people don't even eat the pillow mints anyway. Make your own personalized cookies for cheap. Mix the dough with a rolled sugar cookie recipe and roll out to cut with a onesie t-shirt cutter. Ice the cookies in blue, pink, or neutral colors with royal icing (a mixture of powdered sugar and water), then bag in cellophane. Bake two days before the party and ice them one day before. Your guests will love the extra TLC touch and they'll be far tastier than those stinky mini lotions.
    Total cost: $7
  • Games are a huge hit in my book. They bring a group of people who may or may not be acquainted with each other together for a laugh. My favorite baby shower games are:

    1. Tummy Time--Pass out several rolls of toilet paper and have guests guess the measurement of mommy. Measure up the estimates and share a giggle.

    2. Baby Food Taste Testing--Buy six jars of baby food and a box of mini spoons. Pass out a card with the jar numbers and remove the labels of baby food. Guests guess the food on their card. Stick with sweet vegetables and fruits to avoid killing appetites.

    3. Bottle Race--Three or four guests try to drink the contents of a baby bottle. Make sure to get stage two or three nipples or you'll be there all day! This game works well with guests who know each other and aren't afraid of the spotlight.

    4. No babies allowed!--Announce at the beginning of the shower that the word baby (or cute/adorable/precious) is not allowed. Give each guest a safety pin with their name tag. If they hear another guest say the word, they can ask for their safety pin. Whoever collects the most pins at the end of the morning wins.
    Total Cost: $20

    *A note on baby shower prizes. I don't agree with giving prizes to guests. The shower is to help out the mother-to-be in preparing for baby, not spend money on useless gifts they won't use. Plus it puts guests in an awkward position leaving them to wonder if they should give the gift to the honoree. Print out funny awards on photo paper with gold stars or baby stickers to hand out instead.
  • Your biggest cost for this shindig will be the food. Opt to host a brunch gathering for a higher turnout (most folks, no matter how much they love the honoree, want to have some of their weekend left to themselves). By having the party in the morning you'll save big on food costs. Breakfast and brunch are super cheap.

    Egg Casserole
    36 eggs
    4 lbs. breakfast sausage
    3 lbs. shredded cheddar
    20 slices day-old bread
    1 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    salt to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Cook the sausage in a skillet until no longer pink in the center. I like to use reduced fat sausage. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.
    3. Beat eggs, add spices, and pour into two greased 9"X13" glass dishes.
    4. Combine sausage, bread, and 3/4 of the grated cheese in a bowl. Pour into the egg mixture then top with remaining cheese.
    5. Bake covered with foil for 20 min. then uncover until eggs are firm.
    Your guests will love this casserole! It's so easy to throw together and can be assembled the night before. Makes 18 servings for just $15 total.

    Cinnamon Raison Bread
    For about $3.50 you can purchase a loaf of sweet bread from the bakery section. Cut it in half, toast, and serve with butter and jam.

    Lime Pear Salad
    2 large pcks sugar free lime gelatin
    4 cans drained mashed pears (reserve liquid)
    4 cups regular cool whip 12 oz. reduced fat softened cream cheese 1/4 cup milk 1. Boil 4 cups of pear juice. (Add water if you couldn't drain 4 cups of juice.) Dissolve Jello in the juice and stir well.
    2. Blend cream cheese with milk. Add to Jello mix and beat until foamy.
    3. Fold in pears and Cool Whip.
    4. Poor into two bundt molds or 2 9"X11" glass dishes.
    5. Refrigerate until hardened.
    Makes 32 servings for just 72 calories each. A delicious and inexpensive option to fruit.
    Total cost: $9

    Juice and Tea
    Buy juice from concentrate and boil your own tea. Add diet sprite to the orange juice for a kick. For just $5 you can serve beverages without squeezing anything.

The best tip for parties is to keep it under an hour and a half. Plan out the morning so you keep the pace up. Guests hate wondering what's next. And play music during gift opening to avoid dead air. Don't sacrifice on presentation in the name of almighty cheapness. Shower your honoree within a reasonable budget and everyone wins.

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7 Comments

Hi Ashley I really like your idea of giving baby stickers and awards instead of prizes. This would really help to cut the costs down, as we know baby showers can sometimes end up being very expensive. So this idea would really help folks out with their baby shower budget.
Posted by Julie From Baby Shower Themes
hello ashley, i think the best way to throw a baby shower for less is to ask a bunch of your friends to host a party together. pot luck is a preferred suggestion if you have little budget. :)
Posted by Mick for Baby Shower Decoration Ideas
Hey Ashley, Really enjoy the games suggestion. Tummy Time looks like it will be fun. Wounder what they will think when I hand them some toilet paper...
Posted by Crystal Baby Shop Registry
All steps above can really make one baby shower worth remembering, its a memory to look after a year and laugh at how excited everyone to have a baby angel.
Posted by Brown Mirror Gal
Hi Ashley, I agree that you do not have to break the bank when it comes to hosting a baby shower. Keeping it around $120 is ideal given the state of the economy that we are in. I liked your game ideas also. Especially the bottle race game. And the sole purpose of having a baby shower is to help out the mom-to-be in all the things she is going to be needing for the baby.
Posted by personalized candy wrappers
A key fact to remember is that you are throwing the baby shower party for a good friend, sister, daughter, or family member and that being with good friends and family is the biggest value of the party. It does not have to be over the top (unless that is the way the mommy-to-be likes it to be :).
Posted by baby gift basket
Hi Ashley, I tried you Egg Casserole recipe, and it was great! I had to guess a bit with the measuring, as it was a try out for me and my husband, so I scaled-down the amounts from your recipe. My husband liked it too, and he's hard to please! Keira
Posted by Keira Forsyth