Have you ever felt honored but also slightly panicked when a close friend or family member asked you to host a baby shower? Of course, you want to celebrate the arrival of this precious new life, but you may also worry about the cost of throwing a big party.
The good news is that you can leave that panic behind! You can absolutely host a budget-friendly baby shower without breaking the bank. Keep reading to find out how to pick an affordable party theme and decorations, select a free or frugal party venue, and even offer favors and prizes you can afford!
Finally, remember that your main goal while planning the party is to ensure the expectant parents feel loved and supported by you and the guests.
Budget Baby Shower Decorations
One of the best budget-friendly moves you can make is to start with the themed decorations as you plan a baby shower. The theme offers a framework you can also use to help you plan food, games, and invitations. Ideally, you should pick a theme that the new parents love, such as the theme for their nursery or a theme that has some significance to them.
Popular baby shower themes can be as simple as a color or as quirky as a Dinosaur or Game of Thrones theme! That said, simple themes often cost the least.
- Color themes cost very little because you can swing by the Dollar Store and pick up streamers, balloons, and tableware in your color of choice. Plus, you can get as creative as you want with the theme. For example, you could use yellow decorations with a “You are My Sunshine” theme! For a fun spin on this idea, ask all the guests to wear clothes in that color.
- You can buy premade baby shower decoration kits on any theme you want quite affordably on Amazon. If you don’t have much time to set up, you may want to go this route. For example, this kit comes with tablecloths and all the dishes you need for a cute dino-themed baby shower.
- If you need to pinch pennies, make your decor! Use a roll of craft or butcher paper as a tablecloth and hand-letter cute messages onto it with a Sharpie. Turn a cheap plastic tablecloth into a photo booth backdrop. If you have a garden or know someone who does, decorate with fresh flowers instead of balloons and streamers.
Once you have a theme in mind, keep an eye on the clearance sections at places like Target, TJ Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less. Also, Hobby Lobby has a large party section that goes on sale for 50% off regularly. You do not need to go to Party City and drop big bucks on themed decor!
For more theme ideas, check out the following sections on affordable baby shower themes for boys and girls.
Cheap Baby Shower Ideas for Boys
- Go with blue decorations and a traditional “It’s a Boy!” theme. You can stock up on blue dishes and decor at the Dollar Store or buy an affordable party kit like this one if you need to save even more time.
- For a summer baby shower, go with a fun “About to Pop!” theme and have popsicles and an ice cream bar instead of cake or cupcakes. For decorations, use balloons like these.
If the new parents love a particular sport, why not host a baseball, basketball, or golf-themed baby shower? This is a brilliant choice for co-ed showers because you can have a pop-up basketball or football game in the backyard as an optional party activity! If you want to buy a decoration kit, try searching for a “sport-themed birthday party,” or use a kit like this one.
Cheap Baby Shower Ideas for Girls
- Use the tried-and-true pink “It’s a Girl!” theme. You can pick and choose your pink supplies from Hobby Lobby or the Dollar Store or order a complete kit like this to make your party venue look pretty in pink in no time.
- You can also use pink decor for other fun themes like “Welcoming a Little Princess” or “Sweet as a Peach.”
- Another classic baby girl theme for a gender-neutral shower is the “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” theme. You can decorate with star decor, glitter, gold, or even silver decor. This is such a popular theme that you can easily find party kits ready to go if you prefer to order your supplies online.
For a baby shower during the fall months, reuse your pumpkins, haybales, and apple cider recipes for a “little pumpkin” themed shower! The great thing about this theme is that you can use seasonal decor items you probably already own or borrow from friends. If you want a leg up on the decor, you can also find fun props like this “A Little Pumpkin is on the Way” photo booth backdrop.
Go Digital with Baby Shower Invitations
A free email invite service is the easiest way to invite guests to your budget-friendly baby shower. Evite is probably the most famous digital invitation tool, but you can find many others, like Canva, Punchbowl, and Minted.
On the other hand, if you worry about older guests struggling with an emailed invitation, you can also get a set of affordable themed invites like these to mail out the old-fashioned way.
Cheapest Food for Baby Shower
One of the most significant cost factors in hosting a party is the food, but you can cut costs on baby shower food by picking the right time for the party and knowing where to shop.
First, think about the time of day you want to host the party.
- A morning baby shower means that you can offer brunch food. Everyone knows that breakfast costs less than dinner! So you could have a stacked donut cake, a make-your-own-parfait station, or whip up a batch of waffle mix and let people cook their waffles on your kitchen counter.
- Skip lunchtime and host an afternoon party. This option is probably the most popular, as it allows you to get away with finger foods and snacks!
- If your crowd can’t get away until after business hours, try holding a post-dinner party with a dessert or coffee bar instead of a meal. This option works best for a small gathering, especially if you can rent a room in a restaurant or host the event at your house.
Second, know where to buy affordable party food. Aldi, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco offer a variety of party platters that work great for any gathering. So put on gloves and transfer those treats to your lovely serving platters at home, and you have food for the shower!
If you have extra time, you can dress up affordable food by giving it a baby shower twist. For example, follow this tutorial from CookingGuide to learn how to turn a watermelon into an adorable shower centerpiece!
Affordable Places to Have a Baby Shower
Besides selecting a frugal theme, the most critical factor in planning a cheap baby shower is to find an affordable party venue.
- Consider hosting the baby shower at your home. If you have enough room to seat your guest list, go for it! This makes setting up and cleaning up so much easier, and you do not have to pay any reservation fees.
- If you have a small home, small children underfoot, or no time to clean up before the party, you might consider community organizations or religious institutions instead. Do the new parents attend a church or a mosque? Call and ask if you can reserve a room at the facility for the party.
- If the baby shower falls during a nice warm time of year, your best bet is to book a pavilion at a local community park. You will have plenty of space, you don’t have to clean up your house, and you can often reserve the location for free or a minimal fee!
- Finally, think about hosting a free virtual baby shower–this option may seem a tad less celebratory than meeting in person, but it works great if your guests live in distant locations. You can use all the sites you got familiar with during the pandemic, like Zoom or Google Hangouts. You can even request that guests have presents shipped to the new parents ahead of time so they can unwrap everything on camera, and you can still play silly shower games together!
Frugal and Fun Baby Shower Games
Frugal and fun party games can bring life to a baby shower, turning a gathering into a celebration.
Cheap classic baby shower games include:
- Fill a baby bottle with skittles, jelly beans, or small candy. Then, have your guests guess how many pieces of candy fit inside, and the winner gets the bottle as a prize!
- Give every guest an old-fashioned diaper pin or a clothespin to attach to their clothes. Anyone who says the word “baby” loses the pin to the person who overhears them. At the end of the party, the guest who collected the most pins wins a small prize! You can also buy a kit for this game if that sounds easier.
- Blindfold your guests and have them taste four or five flavors of baby food. The guest who guesses the most flavors correctly wins! (But check with everyone about food allergies before trying this game).
Modern Baby Shower Game Ideas:
- Create a free trivia or Jeopardy game about the new parents for guests to play. You can use websites like JeopardyLabs to make the game!
- Buy a set of mini baby bottles like these and give one to every guest. Fill it with the drink of your choice–you can go with beer or something even cheaper like orange juice. Say a brief toast and then shout, “bottles up!” The person who gulps the bottle down the fastest wins!
- Hold a timed word scramble competition using baby-themed words or phrases. You can make one free here or buy a set of printed cards for under $20 on Amazon.
Sometimes you need to save time more than you need to save money. In that case, you may want to snag a complete baby shower game kit like this one for just under $20.
Affordable Baby Shower Party Favors and Prizes
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impression, like handing every guest a small party favor as they leave the baby shower. Putting together affordable baby shower party favors or prizes for games does not have to cost a lot, either!
- Use a tasty treat as a party favor. Make your own hot chocolate bombs following this tutorial from British Girl Bakes, dip a Rice Krispie treat in pink or blue chocolate, or dip a caramel apple for each guest!
- If you like to sew, make hand warmers as favors for a winter baby shower. Make a tiny three-inch pillow and fill it with grains or rice before sewing the final side closed. You can even stick with the party theme by using fabric in the color or pattern of the party decor!
- Get a set of bubbles with bubble wands and give one to each guest to blow at each other as they leave!
You can also DIY affordable prizes for baby shower games.
- Use what you have at home. For example, do you have a new-ish, unburnt candle tucked away in a closet? Candles make great prizes!
- Create a “mini mimosa” kit with a travel-sized bottle of orange juice and champagne and a wineglass in a basket or gift bag.
- Wrap anything like a bar of soap, a tube of lotion, or a stack of candy bars in a ribbon that matches the decor.
How Can You Plan a Lowkey Baby Shower?
You can plan a lowkey baby shower by keeping the guest list small, skipping the party games, and setting up an optional craft or activity. Lowkey parties focus on the guests comfortably chatting with each other while nibbling on easy foods like charcuterie boards or cheese trays.
Instead of all the silliness of baby shower games, set up an optional side activity. For example, you can buy blank onesies and fabric markers and let guests go to town decorating an adorable outfit for the new little one. Or have a “build a blessing” station to paint a blessing onto a small card, rock, or picture frame.
When you feel like it’s time to wrap things up, invite all the guests to watch the new parent(s) unwrap presents. This offers a great cut-off point and a chance to start saying goodbyes.
Small, Intimate Baby Shower Ideas
If fewer than ten guests are planning to attend, you can easily host an inexpensive, intimate baby shower.
- Discretely check with guests to see if everyone could pitch in for lunch or visit a local tea or coffee shop. This cozy setting will help everyone relax and have fun. You can skip the games and party decorations and celebrate the new parents with food and presents.
- Host a candlelit potluck dinner at your home. All the guests likely already know each other for an intimate gathering, making a sit-down dinner more comfortable for everyone.
- Host an activity-based party like a painting party, but with a twist: everyone has to paint a canvas based on the shower theme!
The key to hosting a cheap baby shower is to start with a theme and make or buy affordable decorations. Next, choose a free or low-cost venue like your home, church, or community park. Finally, strategically pick a time of day to offer less expensive food, such as brunch treats or finger foods.
You can also offer free or frugal games, favors, and prizes! From classics like “don’t say baby” to modern twists like a round of Jeopardy, you can keep all the guests entertained without spending a dime.
What are your favorite tips for planning a baby shower? Do you have any tried-and-true games you like to play?