That moment when you learn your baby's gender for the first time can be magical. As parents, it's hard to resist the urge to imagine walking her down the aisle or pinning on his first corsage. There was a time when that moment came along with the sounds of a startled new baby, but now, the rare few wait for the delivery room. Ultrasounds and genetic testing have allowed for a little more planning before baby is fully baked. More recently couples are opting more and more to venture beyond the traditional baby shower and celebrating the exciting surprise of "boy or girl?" with fun and colorful baby gender reveal parties.
If you're thinking about revealing baby's gender to your friends and family in fun filled celebration, but you're not sure where to start the planning process, we can help!
Before the party planning can begin you have a fairly big decision to make: Do you want to know the gender prior to your party and share the big surprise, or would you rather be surprised yourself? This is a very personal choice every couple must make on their own. Some may choose to be surprised with their guests, some may even choose for one parent to be in the the know while the other is more of a guest of honor waiting on the big news front and center.
Once you've decided when you want to learn the gender the planning can begin:
- Schedule your ultrasound. As soon as your doctor has confirmed your pregnancy, you may want to start looking into imaging options and talk to your doctor about when and where to schedule your ultrasounds. Some medical plans cover all of your imaging, others you may need to plan to visit an imaging center and pay out of pocket. Your doctor is your best resource for planning the when and where, but if you are only having an ultrasound to discern gender, around the 18th week is usually a pretty good time to schedule, as experienced technicians can discern gender at 18 weeks, though sometimes a bit sooner and other times a little later. Of course you can schedule your ultrasound a bit later, especially if you are looking to have a 3-D ultrasound where you can actually see baby's features, but you may want to plan on your appointment being at least 5 to 6 weeks before your party. On the off chance baby is not in an ideal position to view all the necessary "parts."
- Explain your plan to your imaging specialist. Briefly discuss your plan to reveal baby's gender to friends and family. If you are opting to be surprised, be SURE to politely request your technician not disclose the gender and accidentally ruin the surprise. You will want to mention your desire to be surprised at any imaging appointments throughout your pregnancy. Our very first visit to our high risk pregnancy doc resulted in our tech prepping the ultrasound for the doctor and as she scanned over our baby she said with utter delight, "Oh my, isn't HE HUGE?!" When I said in shock, "YOU CAN ALREADY TELL???" Her hands flew to her mouth just prior to a heartfelt apology. Luckily we weren't looking to be surprised! Many technicians are experienced at keeping the secret. You can request they write down the gender and seal it in an envelope to be opened later. You may want to bring the envelope and paper if you would like it to match your theme or to just keep it simple for your imaging specialist. NOTE: If you are only planning to "surprise" your guests, step two is not critical. You get to enjoy the surprise twice!
- Schedule the party date. You will want to send out invitations or e-vites at least two weeks in advance to give your guests time to plan, a month is ideal if you have the time (especially if you are mailing invitations).
- Make a guest list. Knowing how many people and who you are inviting will have a big impact on what theme you choose and how big you want to go. Baby showers were once an all girl affair, but more and more they are becoming couples and family events. Decide which special people you would most like to share the news with and go from there!
- Choose the time of day or possibly a meal to plan around. This will help you decide what type of theme to run with and give you an idea of the types of foods and supplies you'll need. If you are looking to have a fun couples event, maybe with "diapers for drinks" (your guests bring the diapers, you provide the drinks!), you may opt for a barbeque or mocktail/cocktail party. If you would like a more prim event a brunch or afternoon tea may be a homerun.
- Choose a theme. A popular theme is "Team Blue vs. Team Pink" (we just happen to have the perfect buttermints for that one if you're interested), but the possibilities are endless. You could go with a "Wonderland" theme, as in, "I wonder if we'll have a boy or a girl?" You could do up the patio or garden in wild colors and throw a fantastic mad-hatter tea. Another popular theme we've seen is to have everything at the party be yellow until the reveal at which time there is a shift to pink or blue. A precious idea we've seen with this concept is "What will baby BEE?" You could really go all out with all sorts of fun bee ideas, "hunny" jars and classic Pooh Bears are super fun if you go this route, and of course you may have to have a banner spelled out with a bee flight path somewhere in the mix! Have fun with it and tell us all about it! We'd love to feature your fantastic idea in a future blog post!
- Send out invites! Now that you have a date and a theme, it's time to choose invitations. More and more people are opting for digital or e-vites, but it's still fun to send and receive traditional invitations. So you will have to decide which your budget and schedule will allow!
- Time to plan! You've already got a guest list and a theme, now what will you do with your guests? Plan out a 2 to 3 hour block of time and decide, when you will eat, if there are any games you want to play and of course, when to reveal baby's gender! You may choose to have the suspense build with games, bets and fun throughout the party and then end with a big finale. Or you may choose to reveal fairly early on to have games like a baby naming poll, onsie decorating booth or parenting advise book station.
- Buy your supplies. If you are having your party catered you will want to order the catering as far in advance as possible. Most small parties you should be just fine with most establishments, ordering 1 to 2 weeks in advance, and then following up a few days prior. So much is purchased online these days, be sure to give yourself about 2 to 3 weeks lead time on online orders. You never know when you may get the wrong item, or it ends up at the wrong address. This is also the perfect time to buy party favors, of course we always have a few suggestions!
- Buy food and drinks. Most of the time you or your designated party planner will want to tackle this one the two days prior and the day of the event. Anything that can be made ahead and frozen you may want to do during the week prior. Fruit trays, fresh veggies, and platters should generally be purchased the day prior or a few hours before.
- Time to Setup. If you can delegate this... do. You are expecting, you have enough to do! Come up with the general plan, and hand it over to a best friend, sibling or parent. Then sit back and be pampered! Be sure to pass along the sealed reveal envelope to whomever is helping you out. They may need it to give to a baker for a reveal cake or they may choose to make reveal t-shirts or some other fun gear.
- Enjoy! Party it up, make sure to get plenty of pics, and share your fun with us!