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Lara Shriftman Tells Us How to Throw the Perfect Baby Shower

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Luxury, fashion and lifestyle expert and PR powerhouse to the stars Lara Shriftman, coauthor of "Party Confidential," shares her quick tips for throwing a successful shower.

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Location: You can host the shower in your home or in one of your favorite restaurants.

Time:You can have it in the afternoon as a lunch or tea or in the evening as a cocktail or dinner party. Jack-and-Jill tip: If the shower is for both sexes, have it in the evening to give it more of a cocktail-party feel.

Chic Tip:Throwthe showerone to three months before the mommy-to-be is due. That way, she'll have the time to purchase any items she may still need, and she'll be able to exchange duplicate gifts before the baby is born.

Make Your Own Invitation! I used an old postcard as inspiration and customized it for the shower on my computer. Then I went to my favorite paper place, The Paper Source, to buy the paper and envelopes.

- I went through old notes and cards and found one that inspired me, then styled it and made it my own.
- Always remember to include the four Ws: What, Where, When and Why!
- Feel free to include a list of the activities guests can expect at your party.
- If the mommy-to-be is registered, provide this information on the invite to let guests know where to shop.
- If the shower is coed, put the names of both the mommy- and daddy-to-be on the invite, a la, "A shower in celebration of Jane & Jack." You can also add descriptions such as "Coed Games," to let the men know they are also welcome! Address the invitations to both members of the couple.
- Send a cute Evite, or simply make calls! (If you send out a mass e-mail, remember to always BCC.)

Guest Book:

- Put it in the entryway, soguests can write notes to the parents-to-be as they arrive.I like the white guest book from KOLO, accompanied bypink and/or blue pens.

Wish Tree:

- Make a "wish tree" for the mom- and dad-to-be. Have each guest write down their wish on a piece of pink or blue paper (provide both colors if the baby's sex is unknown) and then hang it on the tree.

- To make your own wish tree, purchase a leafless plant with branches and plant it in a fun pot. Cut up blue and/or pink paper into medium-sized squares, hole-punch them at the top in the center and tie on a small piece of matching ribbon so guests can hang the wish on the tree.

Shower Games:

- Set up a table with pink and blue pens and paper to write on. Guests can write their favorite names on the paper, then place them in a chic glass jar or bowl. The guests of honor can choose to read the suggestions after the party, or, for a bit of fun interaction, have an outgoing friend read off the names and let the guests vote on their favorites.

- The game "Table Topics" is perfect as an icebreaker -- and a great conversation starter.

- You can also buy fun games -- like "Baby Shower Bingo" or "Pin the Bottle on the Baby" -- at your local party-supply store.

Music:

- Have a fun mix of music playing in the background to create an upbeat atmosphere. If you can't put your CDs on "shuffle," make your own mix CD, buy one (I like "The Dirty Martini Mix") or create a playlist on your iPod.

Menu:

- You can use any menu! Pick something the mom-to-be likes.
- Have trays of hors d'oeuvres and dessert.
- Place a cheese plate with nuts, fruit, honey, artisan breads and crackers in the room where guests gather.
- Always have something sweet and something savory for the mom-to-be!

My Menu:

Hors d'oeuvres

- Caviar Baby Booties (toast cutouts in the shape of little booties, with crème fraiche, caviar and snipped chives)

- Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon Bites on a fresh rosemary twig

- Wild Mushroom Risotto Cakes

- Ginger-Shrimp Wonton with fresh cilantro and aioli diablo

- Baby chicken pot pies

Dessert

- Sugar cookies shaped like baby bottles, glazed with pink and/or blue icing

- Vanilla cupcakes frosted in pale pinks and blues from CRUMBS Bake Shop

Drinks

Grey Goose Vodka and mixers
Wine
Champagne
Still and sparkling water

Savvy Serving:

- Make your own paper tray liners to go with the baby shower theme. Select solid colors like pink or blue (or add some flair with baby-themed printed designs), then cut them to fit your serving trays.

- Decorate the table with baby items such as pacifiers, baby bottles or baby booties!DO IT YOURSELF!

- If you host an evening shower, make sure to serve food that will be filling enough to keep the guests from getting hungry.

- Set out little bowls of snack food -- such as nuts or party mix -- in areas where guests are gathered.

- Always remember to provide healthy options for those following a diet. Everyone likes healthy comfort food!

- Provide bite-size indulgences, such as Mini Gourmet Grilled Cheeses with Truffle Cheese and Basil. They're easy and fun to make!

- If you don't want to cook, you can always order in a selection of appetizers from one of your favorite restaurants.

Dessert:

- Buy fun, baby-themed cookie cutters (shaped like bottles or storks) and make sugar cookies.

- Candy, cupcakes, mini cookies and mini brownies are great for creating your own dessert bar!

- Order pink or blue bite-size cupcakes from your local CRUMBS Bake Shop.

- Set out dishes of pink and/or blue jelly beans or M&Ms.

- Order M&Ms in solid colors and customize them online atMy M&Ms. (To be safe, give yourself at least two weeks for printing and shipping.)

Drinks:

- Remember to always have water available for your guests.

- Pick one or two fun signature cocktails to serve, and offer red and white wine or champagne.



next: Shaq's Mom: 'Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go'
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