How to Plan a Baby Shower at a Restaurant is your go-to source covering important questions to ask the restaurant so you're not surprised by costs, considerations for seating arrangements, games at a restaurant, gift opening, and more.
By Beth Dunlap, author of "The Ultimate Baby Shower Game Guide" and "Shower Me with Stories: A Pregnancy Keepsake Journal" on January 20, 2024
No matter if this is the first child or expecting the third or fourth child, what better way to share the excitement of the arrival of this little one than by celebrating together at a baby shower. Hosting a baby shower at a restaurant can offer several benefits, providing a convenient and enjoyable experience for both the expectant parents and the guests. There are certain factors to keep in mind during the planning stage for a baby shower at a restaurant that you do not have to consider when having the baby shower at a private home. In this article, you will find out the perfect way to have a baby shower at a restaurant to make this a memorable baby shower with less mess to clean-up and have a great time celebrating the new arrival coming soon.
Here are the benefits of having a baby shower at a restaurant:
- Convenience for Hosts: Restaurants handle many aspects of the event, including catering, setup, and cleanup. This allows the expectant parents to focus on enjoying the celebration without the stress of extensive planning.
- Professional Catering: Restaurants often provide professional catering services with a variety of menu options. This ensures that the guests enjoy high-quality food, and dietary preferences can be accommodated.
- Wide Menu Selection: Restaurants offer a diverse menu, catering to various tastes and preferences. This is beneficial when planning for a diverse group of guests with different dietary needs.
- No Cooking or Cleanup Stress:The hosts don't have to worry about cooking or extensive cleanup. The restaurant staff takes care of food preparation, serving, and cleaning up afterward, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the event.
- Ambiance and Atmosphere: Restaurants often have a pleasant ambiance and atmosphere, providing a comfortable and inviting setting for the baby shower. This can contribute to a more enjoyable and memorable experience.
- Private or Semi-Private Spaces: Many restaurants offer private or semi-private event spaces, allowing the baby shower to have its own designated area. This provides a sense of exclusivity and privacy for the celebration.
- Options to Decorate or Not to Decorate You can easily opt out of elaborate decorations or creating a theme when having the baby shower at a restaurant. With the restaurant's existing decor, there may be less need for a lot of decorations. This can save time and effort in setting up the venue.
- Professional Service: The restaurant staff provides professional service, ensuring that guests are attended to promptly and that the event runs smoothly. This enhances the overall guest experience.
- Time Flexibility: Restaurants often offer flexibility in terms of timing. Whether hosting a brunch, lunch, or dinner event, the restaurant can accommodate different time preferences.
- Entertainment Options: Some restaurants offer entertainment options or can facilitate arrangements for entertainment during the baby shower. This could include live music, a DJ, or other forms of entertainment.
- Alcohol Options: If the hosts choose, many restaurants can provide alcoholic beverage options for guests who wish to celebrate with a toast.
- Ease of RSVP and Seating: Restaurants can handle the RSVP process and seating arrangements efficiently. This ensures that there are no logistical challenges on the day of the event.
- No Home Cleanup: Hosting the baby shower at a restaurant means there is no need for hosts to clean up their home before or after the celebration.
- Accessible Location: Restaurants are often located in easily accessible areas, making it convenient for guests to attend the baby shower without navigating through residential neighborhoods.
- Time-Saving: Having a baby shower at a restaurant can save time on planning and organizing, allowing hosts to enjoy the event without the burden of extensive preparations.
# 1 Guest List Planning
The best way to start is by meeting with the expectant mom or new parents to determine the guest list. Will this be a smaller guest list or include lots of people from various parts of the expecting parents lives ranging from the best friend to work colleague, family, and friends. Knowing approximately the number of guests will help plan for the proper space needed when reserving a restaurant for this special occasion.
#2 Setting a budget
Next, what’s your budget? If you want to reserve a private space at a local restaurant, there is often a room charge or a minimum amount that will be required to be spent per person. Establish a realistic budget for the baby shower, considering restaurant rental fee or minimum order amount, decorations, and any additional costs. If you are not sure about what is a realistic budget, look up phone numbers for local restaurants to ask general information such as cost for the private room and is there a deposit. If there is a deposit, when is that due.
#3 Questions to ask the Restaurant to avoid Surprise Charges
It is important to be aware of potential for unexpected charges or expenses that may arise when reserving a space for the baby shower at a restaurant. To avoid derailing the carefully created budget and any surprises, here are some factors to consider.
- Rental Fee: Restaurant may charge a fee for renting their private or semi-private event spaces. Ask about any rental fees before reserving the location.
- Minimum spending requirement: Restaurants may have a minimum spending requirement for the event. This means you and the guests need to spend a certain amount on food and beverages to use their space with an additional fee.
- Gratuity: Ask if the restaurant adds the gratuity into the final bill. Some venues automatically add a service charge, and additional tips may be expected.
- Corkage Fee: If you plan to bring your own.beverages, check if the restaurant charges a corkage fee. This fee covers the service of opening and serving your outside items.
- Can you bring our own baby shower cake? Is there a fee to bring your own cake. Restaurants may charge a slicing fee, aka a cakeage fee. This fee covers the costs of plates and forks used in the restaurant for food that was not cooked there.
- Do you plan on having a slideshow? If you would like to use their audio-visual equipment, confirm whether there are any charges associated with using the venue's equipment.
- Decorating Fees: Some restaurants may charge a fee for decorating or may have restrictions on the type of decorations allowed. Clarify their policies regarding decorations and any associated fees.
- Know the time frame for the rental as there may be an overtime charge if you stay longer than the reserved time. Be mindful of the time allotted for your event. If your baby shower extends beyond the agreed-upon time, the restaurant may charge overtime fees.
- Menu Options: If you would like to customize the menu,inquire about any fees associated with special requests or changes to the standard offerings.
- Clean-Up Fees: While cleaning up after the baby shower may be included in the overall pricing for reserving the venue, other locations may have an additional charge.
- Is there a deposit? To reserve the location, certain venues may require a security deposit to secure the reservation. Ensure you understand the terms for refunding the deposit after the event.
- Parking Options: Is there plenty of parking close to the venue? If there is limited parking, guests may need to pay for parking. If there is a cost to parking, inform your guests in advance or inquire if the restaurant provides any parking options.
- Taxes: Factor in taxes when estimating costs. Ensure that the quoted prices include all applicable taxes to avoid surprises on the final bill.
- Children's Meals: If children will be attending the baby shower, check whether the restaurant charges for children's meals separately or if they are included in the overall catering cost.
- Vendor Fees: Are you considering having a photographer or entertainers at the baby shower? Confirm whether the restaurant charges any fees or requires vendor insurance.
- Cancellation Fees: Understand the restaurant's cancellation policy. In case of unexpected changes or cancellations, know whether there are fees associated with rescheduling or canceling the event.
While a theme and decorations may not be needed depending on the restaurant's own decorations, you may still want to have a baby shower theme to add a personal touch to the venue. With many options for the kind of showers for these special events, determining a theme early can help with the planning and provide plenty of time to gather the supplies. Will it have a fun theme? Are you looking for more gender-neutral baby shower ideas or creative baby shower ideas when planning? Will there be a color scheme such as soft pastel colors? If you plan on having centerpieces, flower arrangements, or decor on the tables, ensure that they enhance the atmosphere without obstructing views or making it difficult for guests to interact.
#5 Questions to ask the Restaurant
- What is the length of time it can reserved?
- What is the minimum and maximum amount of guests?
- Are you able to arrive early for extra time to set up before the guests arrive?
- Is it a private room or semi-private?
- How is parking at this location?
- What about food ideas? Do you want appetizers or a set menu options?
- Consider asking the venue for options around the best time of day to have the baby shower at their location such as after lunch time or do they offer a sit-down meal if you would like more than finger foods.
#6 Food DetailsWhen planning a baby shower at a restaurant, choosing the right food options is crucial for creating a delightful experience. Here are important questions and details to consider regarding food choices:
- Dietary Restrictions and Preferences: Ask guests about any dietary restrictions or preferences they may have (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free). Communicate these details to the restaurant to ensure they can accommodate everyone.
- Customization Options: Inquire about the restaurant's flexibility in customizing the menu. Can you make adjustments to the dishes based on preferences or dietary needs?
- Menu Variety: Consider offering a variety of dishes to cater to different tastes. Include options for appetizers, main courses, and desserts to provide a well-rounded dining experience.
- Specialty or Signature Dishes: Check if the restaurant has any specialty or signature dishes that can add a unique touch to the baby shower menu.
- Pricing and Packages: Understand the pricing structure and inquire about any special packages the restaurant offers for events. Confirm what is included in the per-person price.
- Tasting Session: If possible, arrange a tasting session with the restaurant to sample the menu items you're considering. This ensures that the selected dishes meet your expectations.
- Service Style: Determine the service style you prefer, such as plated meals, buffet, or family-style service. Some restaurants may have specific options or recommendations for large gatherings.
- Children's Menu: If children will be attending the baby shower, check if the restaurant offers a children's menu or if they can provide smaller portions of selected items.
- Allergen Information: Request information about allergens present in the menu items. This is crucial for guests with allergies, and it helps ensure a safe dining experience.
- Beverage Options: Discuss beverage options, including non-alcoholic choices. Confirm if the restaurant provides drink packages or if beverages are priced separately.
- Timing of Service: Confirm the timing of the food service. Coordinate with the restaurant to ensure that the meal is served at a suitable time during the baby shower event.
- Meal Duration: Discuss the expected duration of the meal service to align with the overall schedule of the baby shower.
- Cake and Dessert Options: If the restaurant provides desserts, inquire about the options available. Alternatively, discuss the possibility of bringing in a cake or other desserts for the celebration.Themed Cake or Dessert Bar: Order a cake that aligns with the baby shower theme, or set up a dessert bar with various sweet treats for guests to enjoy.
- Final Guest Count: Communicate the final guest count to the restaurant well in advance. This helps them prepare the right quantity of food and ensures an efficient dining experience.
- Leftovers Policy: Check the restaurant's policy on leftovers. While most restaurants allow guests to take home uneaten portions, others may have restrictions.
By addressing these questions and details, you can work with the restaurant to create a menu that suits the preferences of the mom-to-be and the guests, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable dining experience at the baby shower.
#7 Baby Shower Invitation Considerations
How do you want to send baby shower invitations? Over email or mail a baby shower invitation.
There are several popular websites that offer customizable templates for creating baby shower invitations. These platforms provide a range of designs and features to help you create personalized and visually appealing invitations. Here are some popular websites for baby shower invitations:
- Evite is a well-known platform for online invitations. It offers a variety of baby shower templates that you can customize and send digitally to guests.
- Paperless Post provides stylish digital invitations for various occasions, including baby showers. You can choose from a wide range of designs and customize them to suit your preferences.
- Punchbowl offers both digital and print invitations with a selection of baby shower designs. The platform also provides tools for managing RSVPs and other event details.
- Canva is a versatile design platform that allows you to create custom invitations from scratch or use pre-designed templates. It provides a user-friendly interface and various customization options.
- Tiny Prints owned by Shutterfly, offers a variety of customizable baby shower invitations. You can choose from different themes and styles to match the tone of your event.
- Zazzle is a marketplace for customizable products, including invitations. You can find a wide range of unique baby shower invitation designs, and many can be personalized.
- Minted is a design marketplace that features independent artists. It offers a selection of stylish baby shower invitations that you can customize to your liking.
- Shutterfly is a popular platform for creating personalized photo products. It also provides customizable baby shower invitations with various themes and style.
Before choosing a platform, consider factors such as the level of customization you need, whether you prefer digital or print invitations, and any budget considerations. Additionally, check if the website offers features like RSVP tracking and guest management to streamline the event planning process.
Arrange for someone to capture photos or consider hiring a photographer. Create a space for a photo booth or backdrop to capture memorable moments. For photo booth ideas click 25 Baby Shower Photo Booth Ideas and 25 MORE Baby Shower Photo Booth Ideas. A fun way to not miss a picture is to create and post a QR Code on each table so guests can easily share their candid moments with the expectant parents. Creating a QR code for pictures is a straightforward process, and there are various online tools available for this purpose.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create a QR code for pictures:
- Select an Online QR Code Generator: Choose a reliable and reputable QR code generator. There are several options available, such as QR Code Generator, QR Stuff, or GoQR.me.
- Access the QR Code Generator Website: Go to the website of your chosen QR code generator.
- Select Content Type: Look for an option to select the content type. In this case, it would be "Image" or "Picture."
- Upload or Provide Image URL: Depending on the generator, you may have the option to either upload the image directly or provide a URL linking to the image. Follow the on-screen instructions to do this.
- Customize QR Code (Optional): Some generators allow you to customize the appearance of the QR code. You can choose colors, add a logo, or adjust the design. Keep in mind that adding too much complexity might affect the QR code's scanning reliability.
- Generate QR Code: Once you've uploaded the image or provided the URL, look for a button that says "Generate" or "Create QR Code." Click on it to generate the QR code.
- Download the QR Code: After generating the QR code, you'll typically be given options to download it. Save the QR code to your computer or device.
- Test the QR Code: Before using the QR code, it's a good practice to test it. Use a QR code scanner app on your smartphone or any QR code reader to ensure it properly links to the image.
- Share or Print the QR Code:Once you've verified that the QR code works correctly, you can share it digitally or print it. If you're printing it, ensure that it's of a size that is easily scannable.
Remember that the QR code will link to the specific image you provided during the creation process. If the image is hosted online, the QR code will lead to that URL. If it's an uploaded image, the QR code will be a direct link to that image.Additionally, consider the privacy implications of sharing images via QR codes, especially if the images contain personal or sensitive information. Ensure you have the right to share the images, and be mindful of who will be scanning the QR code.
Always use reputable QR code generators to ensure the security and reliability of the generated QR codes.
#9 Seating Arrangements
Plan the seating arrangements to promote socializing. Ensure there are enough chairs for all guests and to create an intimate setting. Ask the restaurant what is a good time of day and day of the week for you to come to the restaurant a couple of weeks before the baby shower so the baby shower hosts can familiarize yourselves with the layout of the space at the restaurant.
- Options for style of seating include banquet-style seating, round tables, or a combination of both.
- Consider the preferences of the mom-to-be when planning the seating arrangement. Reserve a special seat for the mom-to-be at a central location where she can easily interact with guests. Consider adding a decorative touch to highlight her seat.
- She may have specific ideas about who she wants to sit with or if she prefers an open and mingling setup.
- Group guests who know each other or have similar interests such as family members, close friends, and work friends. This helps in creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere where guests can engage in conversation.
- Ensure that seating arrangements consider accessibility for all guests, including those with mobility challenges. If needed, reserve spaces for wheelchairs or provide easy access to seating.
- If children are invited, consider setting up a designated area with kid-friendly seating and activities such as coloring pages or age-appropriate toys. This can help parents with young children feel more at ease.
- If there are baby shower games or entertainment, consider the seating arrangement in relation to these elements. Ensure that guests have a good view and can comfortably participate.
#10 Gift Opening
Consider designating a specific area with fresh flowers and a table for guests to place their gifts. Ensure there's enough space for everyone to gather around to share their "oohs" and "ahhhs" as the guest of honor is opening gifts.
Recording gifts at a baby shower is important for expressing gratitude and keeping track of who gave what. Here are some effective ways to record gifts at a baby shower: Both Shower Me with Stories: A Pregnancy Keepsake Journal and the Ultimate Baby Shower Game Guide have designated pages to record the baby shower gifts.
- Enlist a close friend or family member to help record gifts during the baby shower. This person can focus on noting down details while you or the expectant parents interact with guests
- Provide a baby shower guest book and use it as a way for guests to sign in and provide details about their gifts. Include columns for their name and gift description.
- A good idea to easily track the gifts is by providing guests with small gift tags, stickers, or post-in notes upon arrival or have them on the gift table. Have a sign with instructions or ask guests to write their name and attach it to the gift. This makes it easy to match the gift with the giver later.
- Video and photograph as gifts are being opened to easily refer back to when writing thank you notes.
- Online Gift Registry: If the expectant parents have a gift registry, use the online platform to track gifts received. Most registries provide a feature that allows you to see who purchased each item.
Options to utilize apps to help record the gifts. Just remember before using any app, consider its user interface, features, and how well it aligns with your preferences for recording and managing gifts. Choose the one that suits your needs and makes the process of gift tracking during the baby shower convenient and efficient.
- Gifts Planner: Gifts Planner is an app that helps you plan and record gifts for various events. It allows you to create a list of gifts, mark them as received, and keep track of the givers.
- Gift Recorder: Gift Recorder is a straightforward app designed for tracking gifts. You can input details such as the gift, who it's from, and whether a thank-you note has been sent. It helps you maintain a simple list of gifts received.
- Gift Log: Gift Log is a simple app designed for logging gifts. It provides fields for the gift description, giver's name, and additional notes. You can easily refer to the list when sending thank-you messages..
- Gift Recorder - Present Tracker: Gift Recorder - Present Tracker is an app that focuses on helping you record gifts. It includes features for noting down gift details and keeping a comprehensive list
Remember to express gratitude to each guest as the gifts are received, and promptly send thank-you cards after the baby shower. Efficiently recording gifts ensures that the acknowledgments are accurate and heartfelt.
#11 What to consider when planning the Date of the Shower at a Restaurant
The best time to host a baby shower depends on various factors, including the preferences of the expectant parents, cultural norms, and practical considerations. Here are some considerations for determining the best time to host a baby shower at a restaurant: Planning a shower during a peak holiday can also affect the availability of the private space at the restaurant. Also, ensuring the date does not coincide with major holidays or family vacations increases the likelihood of attendance. Many baby showers are on a weekend when most guests are likely to be available. The restaurants private space may get booked quickly on the weekends so planning in advance and reserving the room will ensure you have the space locked in for the perfect baby shower at a great place.
#12 What to consider with playing Baby Shower Games at a Restaurant
Playing baby shower games at a restaurant can be a fun part of the celebration and entertainment. However, there are specific considerations to keep in mind to ensure that the games are enjoyable for everyone and seamlessly integrate into the restaurant setting. Step away from classic games such as guessing the melted candy bar in the diaper and include interactive games featuring music, movies, and TV shows with minimal materials needed by playing the games in the Ultimate Baby Shower Game Guide.
Here are some considerations:
- Space and Layout: Consider the available space and layout of the restaurant. Choose games that can be played within the designated area without causing disruption to other diners or the restaurant staff.
- Noise Level: Be mindful of the noise level associated with the games. Select games that are not overly loud or disruptive, as you're in a public setting where other diners may be present.
- Game Duration: Choose games with a reasonable duration that won't extend beyond the time allocated for the baby shower. Short and interactive games tend to work well in a restaurant setting.
- Privacy and Comfort: If possible, choose games that allow for some privacy or intimacy within your reserved area. Consider the comfort of the guests, and ensure that the games don't make them feel overly exposed to other diners.Guests may not feel comfortable playing guess the baby food game with being blindfolded and being fed baby food at a restaurant.
- Game Materials: Opt for games that require minimal materials and are easy to set up and manage in a restaurant setting. Avoid games that involve elaborate setups or require excessive space.
- Guest Participation: Choose games that encourage active participation from the guests. Games that involve everyone create a more inclusive and enjoyable atmosphere.
- Restaurant Policies: Check with the restaurant about any specific policies regarding games or entertainment. Some restaurants may have restrictions, and it's essential to respect their guidelines.
- Prizes or Favors: If you plan to have prizes or favors for game winners, select items that are easy to distribute in a restaurant setting. Consider items that won't create a mess or disrupt the dining experience.
- Interactive Games: Choose games that involve interaction between guests. This can help break the ice and create a lively and engaging atmosphere.
- Table Games: Games that can be played at the tables without requiring guests to move around too much are ideal for a restaurant setting. Trivia, word games, or bingo can work well in this context.
- Coordination with Staff: Coordinate with the restaurant staff to ensure that they are aware of the planned games and can assist with any necessary arrangements.
Remember to strike a balance between entertainment and the restaurant's ambiance, and choose games that enhance the overall baby shower experience without causing disruption. Communication with the restaurant staff and guests is key to a successful integration of games into the restaurant setting.
#13 Other locations than restaurants
When considering the right place for unique baby shower ideas, you can look beyond restaurants and explore having the baby shower at a local tea room, golf club, or country club. With the lush greenery at a country club, this can create a beautiful backdrop and be the perfect place for the special day. On a side note, you may need to have a member of the country club participating in the planning to reserve the space for you.
Ultimately, hosting a baby shower at a restaurant provides a hassle-free and enjoyable experience, allowing everyone to focus on celebrating the upcoming arrival of the baby.