This mini-themed shower makes a big statement.
Everything in this slideshow
You'll set the tone for this creative shower with our one-of-a-kind invite, which is made to go with standard-size jewelry boxes measuring 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 by 1 inches (about the size earrings or a pin come in). You can personalize this custom invitation -- just click on the name of the mama-to-be and party details to edit. Then print on a color printer using 8-1/2-x-11-inch card stock or photo paper. Trim using a paper cutter or scissors. Fold the invitation like an accordion (see photo) at the fold lines so it fits inside the box. Then glue the band around the outside of the closed box, with the flap underneath and the words visible on the top of the box. Mail in a small padded envelope.
Echo the theme by giving guests a small package of their own at each place setting. In honor of the best things that babies bring, try filling small metal tins with Hershey's chocolate hugs and kisses, then tying the lids with a bright bow for a pop of color.
Here's a super-simple and inexpensive way to create gorgeous tables: Wrap a few small and extra-small boxes with mod wrapping paper and ribbon, choosing coordinating but not matchy-matchy papers. Stack the mini wrapped packages in little towers and line a few up in a row all the way down the length of the table to create a runner. Add tags with words like "baby", the name of mom-to-be, or phrases like "open in July" -- or whatever the expected birth month is.
Instead of one main dish, serve a variety of hearty finger foods and small bites. Offer a mix of veggie and meaty tastes so it hangs together as a meal. Make life easier by simply heating up your favorite store-bought bites for the majority of your spread. If you want to round out the table with a few homemade things, try the two recipes below -- we love them because you can make them in advance.
Mini Crab Cakes
Makes: 24 mini crab cakes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes per batch
Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Mini Dessert Buffet
Skip the traditional cake and offer guests a buffet of tiny treats, such as mini tarts, cupcakes, cheesecake bites, petits fours, and these easy and elegant baby bundt cakes. Wrap up a few medium-size empty boxes in cool paper to look like gifts, then use them as stand-ins for platters for some of the mini desserts.
Mini Bundt Cakes
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Word Scramble Package Guessing Game
This game works best for parties of 20 or fewer. You'll need the same number of small gift boxes as your total number of guests.
Think of several baby-related products such as "Diaper Genie" or "Baby Bjorn." Scramble up the letters in the name of each item to create a word jumble for guests to solve. (For example, "teething ring" could be "engithet grin") Write each scrambled word on a small piece of paper and pop it into a small gift box (we wrapped ours to make it extra-pretty). Number each of the packages on the bottom, making sure to keep a key of the correct answers as you put the packages together.
To play the game, give each guest a piece of paper with numbers 1 to however many boxes you have in all. Pass all of the boxes out -- one to each person -- but instruct guests to keep them closed until the game begins. Using a timer, give guests 30 seconds to solve each jumble before they have to close the package and pass on to the next person. When the game is over, give prizes to the guest with the most correct answers.
Usually a shower's all about the baby gear. But to truly celebrate the guest of honor, why not surprise her with one of those other things that come in small packages, just for her? This vintage-y locket can be filled with photos once the baby arrives.
Jennifer Sbranti is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of HostessWithTheMostess.com, and author of the HWTM Daily Blog.
Copyright © 2008 Meredith Corporation.
Add these tunes to your iPod for the party: