Many of you do not know but I moonlight as a Party Planner, probably way before I planned my own wedding. My dad’s surprise 50th party was not the first successful party under my belt as I planned and executed many other surprise birthday’s prior to that in college. And the list continues on with most recently two surprise 60th’s (my mom’s venue had to be changed the day of with that freak snowstorm October 2011 all within a matter of a few hours). I even assisted with planning the ‘renewal of vows’ for my folks, trying to keep individual secrets from both parties was a chore, but it went off without a hitch including flowers and a real wedding cake. (I think I learned from my mistakes when I planned my wedding to make it easier and beautiful for them, get something simple and make it their day, not a day for everyone else. Yes we do learn and yes I’d do it all differently, with a different groom of course if that day ever comes).
Now I get to add “Baby Shower in another state” under my belt. I had no idea how to start this one, but thankfully my sister provided a potential list of venues, along with her list of attendees and bakeries in the area making it a bit easier to just pick up a phone. I like to call it ‘her requirements’, which everyone should take note. I am now a firm believer that surprises should be left to all events except a baby shower – the Mommy-to-be should not be surprised! She even provided ideas for invitations, favors and dessert, my brother in law even said he’d help out if we had questions. The only ‘surprise’ about this one will be the venue and I am taking every precaution to make sure what is on the menu is not part of the ‘pregnancy no-nos’ she’s experiencing. I even asked her what kind of cake she wanted – had she asked for a PB one, I would have gotten her a small personal cake and a regular one for the rest of us.
I’m extremely grateful that her two SIL’s stepped in to help and also one of her good friends, without their help, assistance, suggestions and trust this would be very difficult from afar. I even asked her husband for some thoughts, suggestions and a birds eye view on what she says and hints at. I did want to be very detailed and personal for her shower, especially the cake. Everyone does a twist on “We’re having a baby” cake and I wanted to personalize it with something she said or made reference to, not something the bakery has in their abundance of pictures of cakes they’ve done for others in the past. I almost went with ‘Flutters of Hope” until she said ‘he’s kicking now and it hurts”, so I went with a twist on what she has been referring to her little boy as “little man”. “Welcome to the World Little Man Messia” was written on the cake, thanks to Coccadotts in Albany for the fantastic cake (and the 12 crazy cupcakes we walked away with).
She requested a ‘green’ shower, and by that meant do not wrap anything! Not ‘does she like green?’, ‘does that mean the gifts have to be wrapped green?’ By doing this, all the gifts were on display on the gift table and she went through revealing the gifts and opening the cards (shaving off at least 1 hour and a half and saving the environment at the same time). She then had time to spend with everyone who came to her shower instead of 3 hours opening gifts.
The only thing we did not expect happening was people not showing up who RSVP’d and someone bringing a friend along. My mom said, “that woman was not invited” as if she memorized the RSVP list (see all the more reason to take attendance at the door). This woman did in fact bring a gift and with us having a few less people for the headcount she didn’t cost us any additional money. Had she not brought a gift, I might have gone “Carmela Soprano” on her.
At the end of the event, my sister had a smile on her face, everyone seemed to have a great time (even with a cash bar) and I not only held my first baby shower event, but was hinting at being hired for “Little Man’s” first birthday party (whichever one he’ll remember)!