By Monica K. Gutherie
When my husband and I learned I was pregnant with our son we wanted to do all the things related to having a baby. My pregnancy was a high-risk pregnancy and we knew this might be the only time I would be pregnant. I wanted to celebrate the entire nine months.
When it came time to plan a gender-reveal party, we wanted to put together something fun and unique. Here are some things we learned along the way.
#1. Find a unique theme
Traditional themes revolving around team pink or team blue, glitter or guns, tanks or tiaras, or having a bee-theme soiree (what will the child’s gender BEE?) are everlastingly cute, but those themes have been done and we wanted something more personal. So we went with a Kentucky Derby theme reveal (we began dating at the Kentucky Derby). You could try a costume party, a chili cookoff, action-movies, video-game – the ideas are endless.
#2. Send out creative invitations
Invitations set the stage for upcoming events. It can pique interest and generate excitement for the upcoming party – and in our case, let the ladies know they could wear Derby hats. There are plenty of places online that can help you create invitations and some will mail them for you. You can even go with online digital invitations.
#3. Food and drink.
Really, just do what you want.
Not super helpful? Okay, how about have simple foods (chips, salsa, fruit, veggies) and then have one “spectacular” item. For the Derby we focused on fun Derby drinks (Mint Julep, bourbons) but depending on your party you could have 7-layer martinis (think individual 7-layer dips in martini glasses), pizza sticks (pizza dough filled with pizza sauce, pepperoni and parmesan – very easy to make and delicious) or meatballs. Even one out-of-the-ordinary snack will elevate your party.
I was really anti the pink and blue theme, but if that’s the route you want to go, it will make party planning easier (think pink and blue drinks, snacks, prizes, streamers, balloons). When decorating, think about creating a focal point (usually around the food) where most of your decorating work will go. Then simply add touches throughout – maybe colored napkins or small centerpieces. Don’t forget to include music in your mood-setting. If you go with a theme, you’ll get to have more fun with ideas but don’t think that means more money. Most of our Derby decorations were printed off a computer. I’m a huge fan of streamers as they can be used all over the place and are inexpensive (and if you’re super frugal, like me, you can reuse the streamers). The fun with parties where guests dress up is that they help add to the décor of the party.
#5. Involve guests
This is true of ANY party, not just a gender reveal. Games can be fun as can photo booths with props (which is what we decided to have) but other ideas include a scavenger hunt, a piñata – get creative, maybe they can paint nursery art or onesies or if it’s an adult party, they can decorate their own wine/whiskey glasses. Also be sure to introduce guests and, if you can, try and think of something they may have in common with other guests. It gives them something to talk about when you walk away to replenish the lobster dip (okay, cheese dip. I was dreaming).
#6. Have prizes
You can spend days trying to come up with the perfect prize, but the truth is, any prize is great. You can get a $5 gift card to Starbucks, lotions from Bath and Body Works, movie tickets – anything. Or you can even get cheesy and buy an old trophy from a garage sale and Sharpie “winner” on it for some laughs. There are no rules saying how “fancy” your prizes have to be.
#7. Take bets on the gender
Common ideas include a tally, dropping colored beads or having guests choose “sides” and wearing pink or blue. For our Derby-themed party we created a racetrack with two horses on it, one representing a boy and the other a girl. Guests would “vote” for the gender by moving the respective horse up a slot toward the finish line. Other ideas include voting for the prom king or queen at a prom-themed party, or if you have teams based on gender, have team games and the winner earns a tally.
#8. Individual reveals
Since we had a Derby party, our cake was designed as a derby hat with horses on it. In addition, each of our guests was given a rose-looking cupcake (get it? Race for the Roses? The Derby? Rose cupcakes?) and each cupcake was filled with a color representing the actual gender of the baby. When we cut into our cake, our guests also bit into the cupcake and we all discovered the gender together, but individually. This is a little more time consuming (we paid a friend to make the filled cupcakes) but was great fun for our guests. You could get more elaborate with cake pops or individually wrapped favors (that indicate the gender) or you can be less elaborate with silly string, paint or even simple envelopes.
#9. Hire a photographer
If you can afford it, hire a photographer. This is a great time to help a developing photographer (and as a photographer, I don’t mind sending business away for this one). Please don’t have your photographer friend take photos, even if they offer. Let them have fun at the party. Instead, spend $40 and have someone else snap away. Ask that they get a photo of everyone at the party. Later you can send your friends photos of themselves from the party thanking them for coming and celebrating with you.
#10. Don’t over plan or over work
It’s okay to have time for people to just eat their food and talk. It’s okay to have food “just sitting” on the table. It’s okay to let guests make their own drinks. It’s okay for you to sit down and talk with your guests. Also: "Don't be afraid to throw a party because you think it will cost too much. You can have a good time for $10 with a bottle of wine and a bag of nuts." —Thomas Jayne, designer
Also read: Cute Birth Announcement Ideas by Stephanie Parker
Monica K. Guthrie is an Army brat, an Army veteran (Rock of the Marne!) and now an Army spouse with two boys. She is currently the media relations officer for the public affairs office at Fort Sill, Okla., and writes a weekly column called the Okie Bucket List. She also has a photography and graphic design business, Pro Deo Creations, that she maintains between potty training and kissing scraped knees.
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