Have the Portlandia writers already covered this one?
December 22, 2017 4:08 AM   Subscribe

Help a guy help his wife plan a shower on the other side of the country.

Mrs. emelenjr, in Virginia, is planning a baby shower for her sister, in Portland, OR. Portland (or Portland-savvy) Mefites, can you suggest a location and perhaps some catering or decorating options? It will be in the last week or so of April, and my wife knows she'd like to have the shower any place but her sister's home. Sister and her husband live in SE Portland, but the shower doesn't necessarily have to happen in SE Portland. Including my wife, other family/friends will likely be traveling from out of state. At this point, it's undetermined whether the menfolk will be invited, but assume they could be.

All options are on the table as far as activities, themes, aesthetics, etc. Freeform. Go nuts.
posted by emelenjr to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
On place - do you have an invite list yet? If so - I would suggest asking any local friends if they would mind hosting as it'll keep costs down. Food, post-event cleaners etc. can be catered and brought in to lighten the load.
posted by notorious medium at 4:39 AM on December 22, 2017

In my experience, baby showers aren't fancy or big events. They are get togethers for close friends and/or family of the expectant parents. They used to be women only but that has changed a lot. When it is mixed genders it is more like a BBQ.

It isn't unusual for people to have multiple showers. A lot of people have one with their friends in their geographic location and a separate one for family. And then maybe one with work people. This is for a variety of reasons, including Dear Great Aunt Marilyn not being interested in spending time with a bunch of 29 year old strangers and vice versa.

I find it a bit surprising that someone from outside the geographic area is planning this. Typically it would be a local friend with a better sense of who should be invited and good venues that work for the guests. And then maybe a family member might attend but that would be unusual.

Most important is to start with a guest list so that you know a head count. It will be impossible to plan without a sense of the numbers.

These are most often held at someone's home in my experience. Maybe if this isn't possible you can rent a room at a restaurant. I've also been to some at public parks.

2 hours is typical for these events and they don't often feed you a meal, just snacks.

Decorating - go to Party City or even Fred Meyer and buy some baby themed things. There are a lot of materials for such events. Oriental Trading Company is a good online source for party decorating supplies.

Catering - iced tea and some finger sandwiches and snacks if at someone's home. I've never seen a baby shower catered in my life.

Baby showers sometimes have games. This is especially the case when party attendees don't know each other and need something to do. For example, chocolate bars are melted and put into clean diapers and guests have to guess the chocolate bar flavor. Or people guess how big the mother's belly is. Some people hate these games. These games are less common at mixed gender parties. The internet is full of game ideas.

Since the goal is to get baby stuff, some parties makes big deal of opening gifts so everyone can say how cute a little dress is. In my experience this is growing less common, as people find it a little rude.
posted by k8t at 6:29 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I mean, most of this depends on the mom-to be. Some people LOVE the shower games. I loathe them with a fiery passion. If the shower was for me there would be NO GAMES, with the possible exception of like a "guess the birthday" pool. We'd just eat and socialize and open presents.

I can't speak to Portland, but in the South, baby and wedding showers involve light snack party food (veggies, finger sandwiches, cake, punch), games or no games depending, social time, and a time when the honoree opens her presents and everyone admires them. This is ESPECIALLY true for baby showers, where everyone is there to coo over the adorableness of the baby stuff.

I recently attended a shower with a book theme. The food was themed to a book (like, Goodnight Moon Pies, that kind of thing) and everyone brought a baby/toddler book to build the baby's library that they either liked themselves or that their kids had liked.

I have never in my life attended a shower that was not held in one of three places: 1) the home of a friend of the honoree 2) a church fellowship hall 3) a conference room at work, because it's a work shower. That's not to say you can't, but that people won't be expecting this to be a catered fancy affair at a VENUE.

But you know what - you can do whatever the honoree would like! Have it at the bowling alley, have it at a tea shop, have it at a tapas restaurant - fit it to the people it's for.

Just please don't do any kind of "gender reveal" stuff, that trend is awful and needs to die.
posted by oblique red at 8:17 AM on December 22, 2017

For venue, if one of the friends lives in an apartment, you can often rent the clubhouse for cheap.

You can rent out the back room of restaurants and bars, bu those will often come with minimum food/drink costs.

One decent option in SE Portland at a reasonable price is Lucky Lab Brewing. But it really depends on whether your guests and the bride-to-be are comfortable with this. It's pretty normal to me, and to my group of friends, but people outside the area might not be comfortable with a baby shower at a public house.
posted by hydra77 at 11:01 AM on December 22, 2017

A friend of mine had a brunch time shower at the Red Lion if you're really wanting something catered at a place. They did a really nice breakfast spread. It isn't hip and cool but perhaps easier to plan from cross country!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:08 PM on December 22, 2017

« Older Is Durham discontinuous? Are other cities?   |   Make My Daughter Cry (over a good book) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.