It starts with a co-worker letting you know that she’s pregnant or a colleague sharing the joyful news of a long-awaited adoption. Word starts to spread about throwing an office baby shower, but how exactly is that done? Here’s a step-by-step planning guide and office baby shower ideas that will help you create a special party that will be enjoyed and remembered by all.

Is it OK to throw a shower at all?

First things first! Before jumping in, make sure that you’ve cleared it with both the expecting person and your HR department, as well as management. If the expectant parent would feel uncomfortable with a shower being thrown, respect those wishes. At some companies, HR may have some policies on in-office celebrations, so make sure you’re good there, too. And management may have some guidance to provide as well. Be sure to cover all these bases.

Who should be in charge, and who should be enlisted to help?

Who should be in charge, and who should be enlisted to help?

If you’re asking the question . . .  congratulations! You’re the one who should be in charge. Ask the guest of honor’s co-workers and work friends to help. Most importantly, it’s best to keep the guest of honor involved in the whole process, so that they feel good about all the decisions to be made.

When should an office baby shower take place?

Most often, a week or so before the expectant parent goes out on maternity or paternity leave is a good time to schedule the party.

It’s usually best to keep an office baby shower short and sweet, not taking up too many hours of the workday. Lunchtime often works well and keeps the celebration to just an hour. If an even shorter gathering is more appropriate for your workplace, consider a brief afternoon gathering with a gorgeous cheese and charcuterie spread. This option even includes a keepsake for the guest of honor:

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A to Z Cheese & Charcuterie Board

Who should be invited to an office baby shower?

Depending on your company culture, it’s up to you if the party should be co-ed. If the guest of honor is an expectant dad, it will probably make him feel more comfortable to have other men there. Again, keep the guest of honor informed of all the decisions, so that the only surprises will be the presents!

How can we include off-site team members?

You’ll definitely want to include any team members who work from home! Consider having the office baby shower in a conference room already set up for video conferencing. Or assign someone the task of opening a video chat with the off-site guests from their phone. You can even go one step further by sending your off-site team members some goodies to enjoy at home! For example, we love this non-alcoholic sparkler for office celebrations:

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Perfect Little Luxury Tost non-alcoholic

How should we invite everyone to the office baby shower?

An office email is probably best. Add a fun photo or graphic and send it off to the team. Make sure that you have cleared everything—date, time, location—with the guest of honor, your office manager, and HR department. Be sure you list the gift registry and find out if there’s interest in giving one big group gift. And don’t forget to request an RSVP so you know how many will attend.

Finally, with the number of guests in hand, tackle this easy checklist:

Set up: chairs, tables, plates, napkins, and decorations. Consider a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers for a centerpiece the guest of honor can take home:

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Daisy delight bouquet

Drinks: we suggest a festive punch bowl or a non-alcoholic sparkler!

Food: veggies and dip, fresh fruit, pasta salad, and sandwiches are some simple ideas. Have a local restaurant deliver lunch or organize a pot luck.

Dessert: a cake, cupcakes, cookies, or brownies would be great!

Games: If you decide to play any, that is. Clear games with the guest of honor first.

Gift-Opening: Assign one person to jot down each gift and who gave it for thank you notes.

Photos: Be sure to assign one person to take photos too! Try and organize a group photo early in the event—and don’t forget any online guests!

In the end, respect is the operative word—respect for the guest of honor and respect for all workplace guidelines. With great communication and planning, your office baby shower, whether simple or elaborate, will be a fun event for all and create a special memory for the expectant co-worker.

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