A drop-in baby shower is when guests are free to come and go as they please during the designated time period.
Open-house baby showers can offer more flexibility for guests and less stress for the mom-to-be and host.
Party expert Alex Alexander reminds us that:
“Nothing spreads faster at a party than the host’s mood. If you, as the host, are casual and relaxed, the guests will follow suit.
Similarly, if you are stressed, flustered, and running around frantically, your guests will pick up on that. Focus on creating a positive + welcoming environment.”
I’ve attended several open-house baby showers, and I thoroughly enjoyed each one.
No awkward games, no huge crowd, no fancy sit-down meal—just a casual party with no pressure. What’s not to love?
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How an Open House Baby Shower Works
Open-house baby showers offer a more casual feel to the gathering than other baby showers.
Your guests can drop by between certain hours, visit, and then go about their day.
They can leave a gift and grab a snack in a low-pressure setting where they don’t have to sit and stay for hours.
Ideally, guests will come and go regularly so that there is not a large crowd present at any one time.
There is no pressure to provide a large meal or plan games and entertainment for a crowd, so the stress level remains low, but everyone will still have a nice time.
Open House Baby Shower Benefits
One major benefit of having an open-house baby shower is that more guests will likely be able to attend.
Not having to give up a number of set hours in the middle of the day means more people can drop by and leave when they need to go.
Open-house baby showers can also be less pressure for the mom and the shower planners.
They tend to have a more casual vibe, and mom won’t have to be the center of attention for hours if that causes her stress.
Cleanup will likely be a piece of cake, especially if you use disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
Open House Baby Shower Disadvantages
Some guests could feel like the come-and-go aspect makes the shower less personal or gives them less time with the mom-to-be.
For a mom who wants a sit-down meal or enjoys the games that come along with regular baby showers, an open-house shower might not be the right choice.
Planning an Open House Baby Shower
Planning an open-house baby shower can be easier on the hosts if done correctly, and it can be great option for those on a budget.
Below, you’ll find all the aspects you’ll need to consider and plan for.
The mom-to-be can decide if she would be more comfortable having the shower at her house or at a different location.
The comforts of home are alluring for some, but other moms may not want to have to prep their house for guests.
Number of Guests
How many guests are invited needs to be decided by the guest of honor.
If the pregnancy has been difficult and the mom is very tired, she may not want a bunch of people coming in and out for hours at a time.
Other women might want to invite more people than they would to a sit-down shower since everyone can come and go and there won’t be a large number of people present all at once.
A standard baby shower tends to last anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.
You may want to extend an open-house baby shower a bit longer so all the guests have time to visit with the mom-to-be before leaving.
Three to four hours is the standard.
How Long To Stay at a Drop-in Baby Shower
How long you stay at a drop-in baby shower is up to you. You want to have time to say hello to the mom-to-be and possibly have a snack.
However, you don’t have to stay as long as you would at a conventional shower.
That makes attending a drop-in shower easier for most people attending.
Open House Baby Shower Invite
The great thing about open-house baby shower invitations is they can be as formal or informal as you choose.
Just make sure to include the essential details.
You should send baby shower invitations out about four weeks in advance to ensure your guests get the date on their calendars.
Make sure to include the words “drop-in,” “open house,” or “come and go” on your invitation so your guests know they don’t have to stay the entire time.
Let guests know whether snacks will be included.
If you don’t want too many people to show up at one time, you can even invite groups of people at certain times by placing their time window on the invitation.
For example, all work friends can drop in between 3 and 4, and college friends can show up between 4 and 5.
Use paper invites or e-vites, or simply send an email to let your guests know they are invited.
You can go big on open-house shower decorations or keep it simple.
You don’t have to decorate an entire table for a sit-down meal, but you can still have balloons, a gift table, and an area for snacks.
Open House Baby Shower Food
Open-house baby shower food should be simple.
Instead of an entire meal or even a huge cake, stick with finger foods, cake pops, and small snacks that can be eaten while your guests mingle.
Open House Baby Shower Activities
Having an open-house shower doesn’t mean you can’t have cool activities.
As long as you plan activities that guests can do before they leave and don’t involve group involvement, you can plan great activities.
Use ink stamps to let your guests create unique burp cloths or onesies for your little one.
Have guests write a story in a book about the mom-to-be, her pregnancy, or some other story for the baby to read when they get older.
My personal favorite activity at a party like this was diaper decorating.
A large box of diapers was set on a table with an assortment of colorful markers.
Guests had a blast writing messages on the diapers for the expectant mom to enjoy later.
Open House Baby Shower Games
You do not have to include games in an open-house shower.
For some moms and guests, that’s a big draw. Not everyone enjoys the game portion of the party event.
Instead of games, set up a few craft stations.
Think onesie and bib decorating, painting baby clothes hangers, hair bow station, rock painting, messages on diapers (e.g., Just 3 more years till potty training! You got this, Mom! Guess what’s inside!), etc.
Cleanup for an open-house baby shower should be fairly simple.
Have guests place paper plates and cups in the trash on the way out, and the rest of the cleanup should be easy.
You can decide in advance who will be responsible for the final cleanup — just as long as it isn’t the expecting mom!
Open House Baby Shower Ideas
- Base your baby shower theme on your favorite childhood book.
- Have a rainbow baby shower with everything in bright colors.
- Have a picture party. Place disposable cameras at the entrance and have guests take pictures. You can also have backdrops for guests to pose.
- Make the shower co-ed.
- Have a dedicated children’s play area to keep younger guests entertained.
- Think outside of the box. Host the shower at a local park, community center, etc. This is a great option if many of the guests have children whom they’ll likely bring to the party.
- Ask guests to bring a baby book in lieu of a greeting card. Have them write a personal message on the inner cover.
- Appoint someone to stand by the door to greet guests upon arrival and thank guests as they leave. That way, each guest feels welcome and appreciated.
Kristy is the mother of four, including identical twins. With a background in education and research, she is constantly learning more about parenting and raising multiples. When she has spare time, she enjoys hiking into the woods with a great book to take a break.