I love it when I host showers or parties with older ladies. They have planning and delegation down to a fine science! But not everyone knows how to be a good co-host. So I thought I would share a few pointers.
Co-hosting a baby or wedding shower doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. But oftentimes people walk away from the experience irritated by one of the hostesses. (Perhaps she was too bossy about what silver pieces to use or thought her contribution of a Kroger cheese board equaled that of another’s purchase of a case of fine wine!) Make sure you are always mindful of others every step of the way so you don’t end up being that person!
Here are some tips for planning a shower with others, from start to finish:
- Make introductions and get the ball rolling. Once the guest of honor (bride or mother-to-be) has told you who has offered to host the shower, someone from the group should start the process by sending out a group email. (Might as well be you!)
- Determine location and style. If someone has offered to host at their home, thank them for doing so. If no one has offered, toss out some ideas for locations.
- Set a tentative budget. This is particularly helpful if the co-hosts don’t know each other well and aren’t sure of each other’s financial circumstances. It may feel awkward, but if you are thinking of an elaborate affair with a professional florist and someone else is thinking more of DIY setup, then you may have some tension! So get these things sorted out on the front end. Perhaps suggest an estimated per person cost ($50/person $100/person or more like $400/person) and get people’s feedback. And the event planner in me recommends budgeting for each aspect of the event including, but not limited to:
- Food and Beverage (don’t forget to include tax and service charges if you are having it at a restaurant or hotel)
- Entertainment, if any
- Favors, if any
- Guest of Honor’s Gift
- **Note: I think it best to split costs evenly rather than one person paying for the invitations and another for the food, etc. But I’m all for fairness!
- Delegate responsibilities. Outline the tasks that need to be done – invitations, food, dessert, champagne, flowers, gift, favors, RSVPs, etc. And then ask people to respond via email if they would prefer to take any of these tasks; otherwise, just assign. Tip: It is nice for the person hosting in their home not to have to handle the food as those are both duty-laden jobs. Don’t forget to tell everyone to save their receipts.
- Speak up. Don’t be afraid to share your desires and ideas for the occasion, but don’t make any declarations of how things should be either. On the flip side, if you aren’t okay with an aspect, speak now or forever hold your peace! (And don’t get bent out of shape about a detail; it’s a shower for goodness sakes!).
- Consult with other hostesses about big decisions. A friend of mine was so frustrated that a fellow hostess announced that she bought the group gift – a $600 stroller, split up among three women, on top of the cost of the shower. She was not happy about it! So be considerate and ask beforehand. (Again, best to budget/plan these things in the beginning!).
- Let whoever is in charge know how much you spend on your “responsibility.” This will make figuring out how much everyone owes/needs to pay in the end go a lot faster.
- Make sure all hostesses’ names are listed on the invitation. This may be obvious to be some, but you would be surprised…
- Don’t complain to the guest of honor about the other hostesses or about the cost of the shower. Even if she thinks her husband’s cousin is cheap, too, just don’t.
- Arrive early. Usually, 15-30 minutes early is enough time to help set up or do whatever the person who is hosting in her home needs.
- Make proper introductions. Some of the hostesses may not know each other. Always say, “Now, Lisa, have you met Diane before?” If no one introduces you, introduce yourself!
- Greet people. One or two of the hostesses should always stay close to the entrance or front door to welcome guests. It is just good manners and another opportunity to make introductions.
- Be helpful. Does the wine need opening? The gifts need to be arranged prettily? Are their dirty plates sitting on the coffee table? If you aren’t sure how you can help, ask! Remember, you are not a guest, but a host.
After the Shower:
- Stay and help clean up! Don’t rush out like you’ve got better things to do. Plan your day accordingly.
- Wait until the guest of honor departs before you start pulling out the receipts. Ideally, whoever is the lead on the shower will have already figured out how much the final bill is per person and who needs to pay whom.
- Don’t forget your checkbook! Pay up. If you absolutely forgot, do Paypal or Venmo that day, preferably while everyone is writing checks.
- Don’t complain about the cost. Most showers go over budget a little. It happens, just be agreeable and gracious. If you set a budget in the beginning hopefully it won’t be over too much!
- On that note, if someone does not follow the gracious steps to hosting a shower that I listed above, and say takes it upon herself to hire a $500/hour photographer for the event when that was not agreed upon, then she should pay for that herself. How do you handle someone like that who wants to be paid back? Personally, I would say “That was so sweet of you to surprise Kate with that precious detail; I will make sure she knows that was something you personally did for her!” If you have to get more blunt say, “I know you’ll understand but some of us are on tight budgets and we did not budget for this extra $150 expense.”
Have you learned any lessons or tips when co-hosting with other women? Share below! Readers love to learn from each other!
Photo: Christina Brockman