Not all baby showers are the potluck gatherings of a few close friends and family members like they were in days gone past. Many are, but many ohters have escalated with some being closer to a small wedding party than a gathering of friends. In those full blown events is when budgeting skills are most important..
The Host's Gift
Traditionally, all expenses related to the baby shower are paid by the host. The shower is actually considered the host's gift to the mother-to-be. And the more formal the affair, the more it's going to cost.
As with any type of special occasion, it's always a good idea for the host to put together a baby shower budget. It's true that nobody likes to hear the b-word, but even on a budget, a host can throw a baby shower that all will remember. Sure it's important that the guests have fun, but a baby shower is first and foremost about being together with the people who mean the most to the expectant mother.
Sticking to a pre-defined budget, even if it's a big one, is definitely going to help with some of the decision-making. For example, a budget will help keep the guest list from growing out of control. A host might not realize it but the overall cost of the baby shower will increase every time another guest is added onto the list. A budget will also help the host with decisions such whether to order custom-printed invitations or to pick up several packages from the local card store and fill them out by hand.
Benefits of Co-Hosting
Co-hosting, or having several baby shower hosts instead of just one, is becoming a popular option. When a baby shower will be co-hosted by several people, generally they all will share the costs. Together as a group, the co-hosts decide who will cover the different expenses involved with the shower. Another option, but one that's sometimes more difficult to control, is to pool the co-hosts' money together and use it jointly. Each host contributes a mutually-agreed upon amount to the shower fund and the expenditures are deducted from that joint funding.
Asking others to help fund a baby shower is something that must be handled with tact. It's never a good idea to ask the mother-to-be or her partner to help with expenses nor is it appropriate to ask someone who is struggling financially.
It's always much easier when others who are close to the expectant mother volunteer their assistance, rather than having to ask for it. In these situations, the host should not feel bad about accepting money, if she needs it or anything else they're offering.
Besides money, there are other ways people can help. They can bring food and drinks (potlucks are still popular) or they can contribute their time rather than their money, all of which will be a tremendous help to the bridal shower host. Be sure to factor in other people's help, whether financial or otherwise, when planning a baby shower budget.
Let your budget be your guide.