I'm going to report on the flow of the international baby shower party I hosted. If you want to know the preparations leading up to the day before, please read the previous article first.
Table of Contents:
Decoration and Meal Preparation
While everyone was busy with the decorations, I prepared the mixed sushi and salad, and ordered pizza. I had set out all the necessary tableware on the party room's tables. We also needed a dedicated table for gifts and a space for the snacks that attendees brought. I had set up several folding tables and laid tablecloths on them.
This mixed sushi is easy to make, and it's always a favorite among both Japanese and foreigners. I will share the recipe, so please give it a try. (Coming soon)
The party venue (my office) is divided into two rooms. The larger room is the dining area for the party, while the other room has been transformed into a photo booth. The decorations are all set up as planned, and it's time for the final check.
It looks incredibly cute! Balloons and flowers have been prepared, keeping in mind that they can be easily transported to the home of the expectant mother, Nene (pseudonym), after the party. There are plenty of floating balloons, not just a large arch, which adds a touch of glamour. I had mentioned that the dark-colored floor might be a distraction during photo shoots, and they even placed many balloons on the floor.
Shannon's Bakery, one of the participants, arrived around the time the balloon and flower decorations were completed. They contributed the diaper cake she made and a real cake with lovely frosting for the decorations. With these additions, the photo booth is now complete."
Since I have some time before the guests arrive, it's a good opportunity to practice photography with my large digital camera. This time is crucial for photographers as finding the right camera position and settings to capture beautiful shots can be quite time-consuming. If you don't have a dedicated photographer, using a smartphone for photography is perfectly fine, of course.
Baby Shower Part 1: Lunchtime
It's time for the lunch part, and guests have started to arrive. The first to arrive were our guests of honor, the mom-to-be Nene and her husband. She was deeply moved and teary-eyed when she saw the gorgeous decorations. We wanted to keep the decoration plans a secret, and it was a heartwarming surprise for them. We took the opportunity to capture some solo and couple photos of Nene while she still had the energy.
As guests arrived, we asked them to place their gifts on the gift table and encouraged them to take photos with the expectant couple. Setting up this photo opportunity ensured that they wouldn't forget to capture these special moments with the guests.
Since I've set up the food, drinks, and tableware on the tables beforehand, I can simply let the guests know it's a buffet-style setup, and they can help themselves. I took a bit of a break from hosting duties, leaving tasks like greeting guests at the door to others, so I could enjoy capturing photographs. With such adorable decorations, I wanted to make the most of it. There were several couples among the guests, and I wanted to ensure they had memorable photos to cherish.
Baby Shower Part 2: Sweet Treat Time
It's sweet treat time, and more guests started arriving. I asked some guests who had joined us for lunch to handle the table turnover. The tables were filled with an amazing variety of sweets! It's better to eat the fresh sweets first, and we'll gather the packaged ones to take to the expectant couple's home later.
The flow for photography remained the same as before – as soon as the guests arrived, I made sure they had a chance to take photos first. I had the chance to greet Nene-chan's parents, whom I had been eagerly looking forward to meeting, and it was so nice.
The party is in full swing. Guests have taken their photos, enjoyed mingling, and relaxed. Now, it's time for gifts. If you have any mini-games planned, it's a good idea to have them before the gift time.
Setting up a table to display the gifts was a great idea. Guests appreciate having the opportunity to hand their gifts directly to the expectant couple. Similar to a birthday party, the parents-to-be opened the gifts one by one. As expected, there were many adorable baby clothes gifts. For those who couldn't attend the party but sent gifts, I handed them over on their behalf. One of Nene-chan's close friends lives in Australia and couldn't attend, so we had a gift time with a Skype video call.
After the gift-giving time, some guests started leaving. At this point, we began to consolidate the gifts and sweets to make them easier to transport. Since the party venue is just a few minutes' walk from the expectant couple's home, we mainly asked the male guests to help with these transfers. If the venue isn't within walking distance, you may need to assist in loading items into cars or arrange for delivery. The balloons were also arranged in clusters to make them more convenient for transport. It's almost like a grand procession. Masako's Flower Design thoughtfully prepared flower arrangements for the expectant mother's home and her parents' home.
Nene-chan and her husband, along with her parents, were giving all the guests thank-you gifts and message cards as an expression of their gratitude at the end of the party. It's a lovely gesture.
The first International Baby Shower party was a great success! Unusually for parties I organize, there was a slightly higher proportion of Japanese guests.
Thanks to the cooperation of many people, I believe it turned out to be a wonderful party that matched the theme. For the sake of my close friends, Nene-chan and her husband, and for my own experience, I went all out with the decorations.
For those considering hosting a baby shower in the future, I recommend organizing it within your means and ensuring it's an enjoyable event for yourself. A host's enjoyment reflects on the guests, so having a good time is essential. Essentially, a baby shower can be a simple yet delightful gathering with just gifts and sweets.
I hope that my experience of hosting a baby shower in Japan can be a useful reference for expectant mothers and their friends who are thinking about having a baby shower.