When Mindy Weiss came out with her best-selling wedding planner organizer, the next logical step was a baby book. “As the saying goes, ‘first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage!’” says the celebrity event planner, whose latest project, The Baby Keepsake Book and Planner, is a creative and customizable way to track baby’s milestones. And she should know something about helping couples celebrate some of the biggest moments of their lives. After all, she’s planned the baby showers of Jessica Simpson, Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden and many other stars. Read on for her tips on throwing an unforgettable shower (no matter your budget) and top etiquette dos and don’ts, so the day will be memorable for all the right reasons.
The Bump: Your new baby book is so comprehensive. Did you get feedback from friends and clients or did you draw from your own parenting experiences?
Mindy Weiss: I truly loved the baby memory book I used for my children (three sons, one of whom is about to welcome his first child) so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to include and what I thought other parents would find helpful and fun. So much has changed since giving birth to my own that it had to be updated to meet the needs of moms today!
TB: Tell us about some of the high-profile showers you've planned. Any favorites?
MW: I love planning baby showers! Ashlee Simpson had a Winnie the Pooh theme, and we had this amazing beehive at the entrance to the party. For her sister Jessica Simpson's first baby, Maxwell, we did a Charlotte's Web theme. It turned out beautifully: we had a picket fence and carnival tent. With her second baby, Ace, we had a lovely shower at Hotel Bel-Air with a Huckleberry Finn theme.
TB: If you're on a budget, where can you save and where should you splurge?
MW: Have the shower at home, and use your own dishes to save money on a venue and rentals. Splurge on fun decor! Etsy has so many affordable options for adding fun details.
TB: Does the mom-to-be have any input on the shower if family or friends are throwing it on her behalf?
MW: I don't think the mom-to-be should plan it. She should supply the guest list, and leave the rest up to the those who offered to host the shower. If you’re the host, you should design, plan and make the shower with personalized touches for her, rather than a generic baby shower. If the mom doesn't eat meat, you wouldn’t serve hamburgers, right?
TB: What elements make a truly unique baby shower?
MW: It’s always special to incorporate elements from the grandparents and parents-to-be to remember where the baby is coming from, like photos, keepsakes and items passed from generation to generation. I love placing baby pictures of the mom and dad around the room. I like serving drinks in baby bottles. And thank goodness for Pinterest — such a wonderful source of inspiration!
TB: Are there baby shower trends you're seeing that you love?
MW: Baby showers are so much larger (in terms of guests) these days. And lately, we’ve been designing showers without using traditional baby colors, but changing things up a bit with black and white, gray and white.
Mindy’s Baby Shower Dos & Don’ts
Do: Incorporate a gender reveal surprise
This is always a fun idea! For one shower, we had colored balloons placed in a large box. When the mother- and father-to-be were ready to reveal, they opened the box and everyone got to see the blue (or pink!) balloons float up into the air — it makes for a great photo opp, too. Giuliana and Bill Rancic did that at their baby shower.
Don’t: Bring children when the hostess hasn’t made it clear if they are invited
If you are currently nursing, that’s one thing, but toddlers are another. If it wasn’t indicated on the invitation, it’s best to check with the hostess beforehand. Some parents will end up still bringing children, so it’s best to have some backup options for the kids. But let’s hope many of your guests honor your wishes and leave the little ones at home.
Do: Request a book in lieu of a card
It’s always great to start the parents and baby off with books! You can still include a sweet message inside the book which the family will then be able to keep forever (and we know where many cards end up!). I love the beginnings of a library for a new baby. Donations to the parents’ favorite charities in the baby’s honor is also popular.
Don’t: Diaper raffles — or any other raffle themes
Unless it’s a shower for a charity event, raffles aren’t encouraged. It’s more fun to have prizes for games!
Do: Have a shower for a second (or third or fourth) baby
It is different in every case. I had my kids every seven years, so there were so many new products and things available. This one is hard to answer because I'm a party girl and I think you should celebrate everything!