Planning a baby shower is something that falls on friends and loved ones of the mom-to-be, and it can be nerve-wracking to pull together under certain circumstances.
Typically, the host(s) provide food and drinks, but there are lots of reasons you might want to opt for the easier route and make the celebration into a potluck instead.
I see this question a lot when it comes to planning a baby shower, so I wanted to address is today.
Just because potlucks aren’t typical for baby showers doesn’t mean that they’re not allowed!
Let’s go over some of the reasoning behind having one and several reasons why they might be a great idea for your particular situation.
Is It Okay to Have a Potluck Baby Shower?
Like I said, there are many reasons you might want to or NEED to hold a potluck baby shower.
Some may say it is tacky to do this, but it definitely is NOT.
You totally can do a potluck for a baby shower!
Everyone’s situation is different, and any guests who don’t understand this may not be the best ones to invite in the first place.
All of your CLOSE friends and family will understand. If not, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider the guest list. 🙂
After all, the event is all about the guest of honor (the mom-to-be) and her new baby and NOT about what the guests think!
Several Reasons a Potluck Baby Shower Might Be a Good Idea:
1) The host(s) live far away and catering would be expensive & difficult to coordinate.
There’s no reason a well-intentioned host should be out thousands (and yes, it can end up being thousands depending on the area) for a lovely baby shower.
Turning it into a potluck style event could take the financial and mental burden off the host(s). It’s a great option when the host lives a long way away.
2) The host(s) are of modest means and would not be able to throw a shower without financial assistance
In a picture perfect Pinterest world, baby showers can be quite elaborate and costly. However, a thoughtful, fun event does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
If finances are a hurdle the host(s) must face, then help with food is something that should be considered.
A potluck baby shower can be quite delicious AND practical.
3) Many people want to be highly involved
If the mom-to-be has a lot of women who love her in her life, especially a good number of older women, then odds are they are eager to help.
Letting them each make a nice dish to bring to the potluck is a great way to let them help a little bit.
If you want to make sure to have a good selection and you are familiar with their cooking, consider requesting specific dishes from everyone. That is a recipe for a tasty afternoon!
4) The mom-to-be loves potlucks!
Does there really need to be a reason other than the mom-to-be requested one? I think not!
I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE potlucks of any kind and would be so grateful that many people thought enough of me to bring a special dish to my baby shower.
Some Tips for an Amazing Baby Shower Potluck
Once it has been established that the shower will be a potluck, then the host is actually freed up to think of all the extra little details.
1. If the host has their own “food budget,” then she could use that to make a feature item for the food table or some sort of pretty display.
Think: a blue or pink themed dessert tray, a baby-themed cake or grazing tray, a cute photo op station, or a balloon arch behind the food table.
Anything you can think of to bring the theme together will work!
This Grazing Board Kit is creative, yet simple and the best part… It’s a charcuterie board!!
These Baby Box decorations make for a cute photo station.
Balloon Garlands can be a bit cheesy, but this Dusty Blue garland is tasteful and beautiful.
2. Don’t ask EVERYONE to bring something.
Be strategic and ask those who would really like to help and are capable of providing something that they make or buy.
I would ask most people to bring a dish, but be thoughtful and specifically don’t ask someone it would unduly burden.
For instance, perhaps don’t ask the mother-to-be’s 85-year-old grandmother to make a dish and perhaps let her friend with 3 little kids off the hook. That guest has enough balls to juggle without thinking of what to bring!
3. Be ready to suggest dishes to prepare
At the very least, keep a running tally of what everyone has committed to bring. The last thing you want is to have 4 crock pots full of meatballs and nothing else to eat! This actually happened at a Christmas party potluck I attended a few years ago. We jokingly refer to it to this day as “meatball gate.” HA
Just have everyone reply with what they’ll bring and don’t let too many of the same dish get claimed.
When someone isn’t sure what to bring, have a few ideas in mind – –
– If they’re not a great cook or low on time, then suggest something like a veggie tray or fruit platter. Or have them bring a dish from their favorite restaurant.
– If you have any attendees with food allergies, then suggest a specific dish for someone to make that meets their food requirements so they will at least be able to eat SOMETHING at the party.
– If you know they’d rather bring something store-bought, then suggest a pasta salad, potato salad, or dessert of some kind. Hint: If you have a Fresh Market nearby, those are great items to buy there because they are so delicious that no one will suspect they’re not homemade if you put them in a different container!
4. No party favors necessary
Unless you find some amazing items at the dollar store, this adds unnecessary cost and goes against the main purpose of most potlucks – to save money!
5. If you’re having a work baby shower, remind guests that dishes should be non-refrigerated if storage will be an issue.
When space is an issue, crockpots are a great idea because the food can cook all day until the shower is held in the afternoon, for instance.
What should you bring to a baby shower potluck?
Now that we’ve discussed this event from the planner’s point of view, let’s talk about the guest’s point of view!
One thing to keep in mind is that the mom-to-be cannot have certain foods, so it will be best to avoid serving raw fish or sandwiches with deli meat.
Also, make sure to ask the expecting mama what foods make her sick to her stomach so the venue isn’t filled with those smells.
When I was pregnant, I could not be in any restaurant that smelled strongly of onions or garlic, so anything Mexican or Italian was completely out for me! Everyone is different, so it’s a good idea to ask.
I have a couple posts on the best baby shower breakfast, brunch and lunch recipes.
These have tons of ideas, including popular finger foods, desserts to make, and yummy drinks to make like punch.
Bookmark these posts and share them with others on the invite list!
What food to make for a brunch / lunch baby shower (late morning or early afternoon)
Honestly, whether you are holding a late morning or early afternoon baby shower, the menus can be very similar. Depending on how early its held, you could opt for more breakfast-y items, but I’d say lunch foods are good for most the day.
In addition to the ideas in the two posts above, below are simple ideas to bring to a baby shower potluck any time of the day. The best part about a potluck is that YOU get to choose the effort you put into the dish you bring.
One cool idea is to ask about the theme of the shower and coordinate your dish with that theme.
- celery with cream cheese
- crockpot buffalo chicken wing dip – https://www.whatmommydoes.com/crockpot-buffalo-chicken-dip/
- veggie tray
Main Dish ideas & heartier options:
- finger sandwiches
- charcuterie board
- pasta salad
- potato salad
- fruit salad
- fruit kabobs
- chocolate-covered strawberries
- sugar cookies
- doughnut stand
Have Fun Planning & Attending the Event (aka Don’t Sweat the Details!)
I hope this post helps you with the baby shower potluck planning process!
Hosting a baby shower should be a fun experience and not cost the host a ton of money.
Don’t worry too much about the format of the event and focus on the guest(s) of honor, and you’ll do just fine!
The expecting parents will just be so grateful that you took the time to think of them and participate in a party just for them and their upcoming new arrival that no one will think twice about who made the food.
But whatever you do, make sure you invite enough people to make a potluck work. If the event will be small (like just immediate family), there is no need to hold a potluck. Just make a few items to serve and call it a day.
But if at least 10 or 20 or more people will be attending, then a potluck is a great format.
If most people invited bring their favorite dish, you will have PLENTY of food!
More Baby Shower Ideas – Games, Well Wishes, Thoughtful Gifts
- Floral Baby Shower Food Sign
- 10 Incredibly Fun Baby Shower Games + Prize Ideas
- Heartfelt Messages You Can Write in a Baby Shower Card
- 7 Thoughtful Non-Baby Gifts For New Moms