Wednesday, January 29, 2014

11 Steps to a Tasteful & Fun Gender Reveal Party!



1.     Don’t Make this the Soirée of the Century, or even the Year.

      Especially on my Baby Center Birth Month Community, Gender Reveals are constantly getting a bad rap from women who think they are selfish, silly and even atrocious. I actually think they are sweet, silly and magical. However, this is not your baby shower or something that should warrant the same amount of invites as your wedding. It is best to keep this family and close friends only. That way you don’t break the bank and you make sure that only the ones who * truly * care are there.

2.     Center it on something we can all agree upon.

One word, FOOD. You need to provide it. What is a party without it anyways?
On a side note, make sure to pick a convenient day and time for this party, think about people who work and can’t be out late on Sunday or are too exhausted to be there on Friday. If it is something very small, a weeknight is great. If not a Saturday early dinner (say 5 or 6) is great and so is a late lunch on Sunday. There will inevitably be a few who have soccer games, weddings, birthday parties, contagious illnesses, etc. That’s ok. Just keep convenience in mind.

Back to food, a BBQ is a GREAT idea. Hot dogs, hamburgers, DONE. (With some sides, buns and condiments of course) You don’t want this to be a catering nightmare. If family want to help by making sides, that is WONDERFUL. But don’t kill yourself over this, it is supposed to be FUN! Think of something easy and tasty and do it. It’ll give your guests a reason to come (other than to show their excitement for your little bun) and a party with food is always the greatest.  Oh and make sure to include this on the invitation. As our Uncle said, “Hey! I’ll come find out what the baby is for a hamburger!”

3.     Don’t deprive the camels.
      
      Liquid refreshments are always a good choice. This doesn’t need to be too complicated. Use your wedding-gifted drink dispensers or borrow someone else’s.  You need two, one for pink lemonade (like Country Time brand) and the other for blue Hawaiian punch (found by the regular red kind).  Both are delicious and cheap. Grab a couple soda two liters and PLENTY of ice. How is it that we always forget ice????!! If your party peeps like alcohol then discreetly let them know BYOB ahead of time. And give yourself a pat on the back for having Mission Hydration checked off your list.



4.     Visit the City where all Parties are Festive.

If you do not have a Party City, I am so sorry, really I am. If you do, what are you doing?? Get over there and get your party on! Seriously though, for twenty dollars I had plates, napkins, cups, etc. They have isles of single colored party supplies. For each of our eating necessities (i.e. plates, napkins) I got a pack of pink and a pack of blue. They also have single colored candies. I chose the blue gumballs and pink lollipops for fun. A tip: EAT FIRST. Guests come hungry and after you reveal the gender, they are just about headed home. It is the truth. Just like after cutting the cake at your wedding. This way the guests can eat on the colored plate and drink out of the colored cup for what their guess the baby is. It adds a bit of cheap thrills and excitement!  



5.     For the most fun and excitement, you shouldn’t know the gender!

This is hard. I had an elective ultrasound at 16 weeks and we closed our eyes during the ultrasound, BUT ONLY DURING THE POTTY SHOTS! Let your ultrasound tech know before hand and they will tell you when to look away. For people who have full anatomy scans later at 20 weeks, this is great because you will get to see everything in a few short (not so short) weeks. And always ask the tech to print you out some potty shots and just look at them after the gender reveal.

Looking at pics I didn't get to see!

There are two ways to get your baby’s gender concealed. 1. Have a trusted family member who is epically good at keeping secrets see what the tech sees, especially when they type “It’s a girl” or “It’s a boy” on the screen. This person has to be the MASTER of ninja-like secret keeping though. You can then send that person to complete you balloon box, or cake frosting color mission. Or much like this next option they can write it and seal it in an envelope WITH the potty shot photos. Or 2. Ask the Ultrasound Tech to write it on the paper and place it in the envelope.

Either way, you need paper, pen and an envelope here. Don’t forget it.

By you not knowing this creates the most excitement for you and your guests, you get to all find out together! And the pictures are MUCH BETTER because you get the candid shock on your faces.

6.     Pick your big reveal trick ahead of time and have a plan!



Again, Party City is not paying me for such a rave review here but party stores are great at helping! We took the envelope directly to their balloon desk with a big box (bought for 7 dollars at Fedex/Kinkos) and asked them to fill it with the color balloon of the gender in the envelope. They were very helpful, took my phone number and called me a little bit later when they were done. Two things, I made sure I asked them to tape the balloon strings to the bottom of the box (so they don’t fly away and you can take pictures) and to also make sure they take the box good so you cannot see the color.

Later, my friend and I wrapped the box in black wrapping paper and decorated as wanted. Make sure you mark where the top of the box is and where the tape seam is.


Great Ideas for Revealing the Color:

The Good Ole Balloon Box: don’t think this is over done. It is ALWAYS cute and VERY exciting when they burst out. The pictures are awesome.



Silly String Cans: This is fun and festive but could get messy and not have as great of pictures as you would hope.  But the pictures could be EPIC too! This requires a bit more planning because someone should know the gender to buy the cans, wrap them and take the lids off. I don’t think many party stores would go to that length unless you brought like white duct tape and gave them a few dollars for the trouble.



Cake: This is an awesome idea. We also did cupcakes; our cousin Nancy did a great job. All you do is order the cake ahead of time and then once you have the envelope, deliver it to the baker. This cannot be done in the same day much like other reveals. The bakery will need a day or two notice of what inside frosting to use. This is great because who doesn’t love cake? And you can have some super cute cake in the face pictures!







Confetti balloons: See The Good Ole Balloon Box. This is an awesome idea, better done outside. A party store or friend can stuff the balloon with confetti. The pictures will look great.



Streamer Box: See the Good Ole Balloon Box for assembly. Have someone tape the streamers to the bottom of the box and open upside down. You can do this two ways, one box or two (both painted either blue or pink and only one has streamers). This is another great picture idea.



Etsy: you can check them out for bunches of other ideas like cookies, play dough jars, scratch offs, etc. Just keep in mind this has a high turnover time, the longer your guests and YOU have to wait!

Other cool party ideas:

Wives Tale Board:





7.     This is a democracy, afterall.

Have some sort of voting system. Whether is it a chalk board, ballots, the guests wear the color they vote for, or party beads in pink or blue, have some way that each guest can express their guess. Tip: Chalkboards at Hobby Lobby are cheap and cute. Wearables like bow ties and tutus can be hard to find/make but SUPER CUTE. This is fun because you can all speculate during the meal and then once you know the gender, competitively say the “I told you so’s!”







8.     No gifts, please.

Please please please do not require or even ask you guests for gifts. This is so awkward. First, this isn’t your shower; you don’t even know what the baby is! You will have a shower and guests will contribute accordingly then! Second, this is supposed to be light-hearted fun, don’t stress guests by having them search for a gift for a genderless baby. Everyone wants to find out what the baby is, hug and then go home. Don’t add awkwardness by opening gifts.

In fact, make sure you put a little blurb on the invite saying “No Gifts, Please.” That way it is in black and white what is required of them. It isn’t even a really good idea to ask for diapers. Just have a fun night, an excuse to eat and be merry. Gifts will come later.

9.     Don’t call out the messenger pigeons.

You can send paper invites. However, this is another complication. You have to send these in plenty of time, acquire/know the addresses, buy stamps ($$), etc. Shutterfly is great and time efficient for this.

If I were you I would invite via phone calls or emails.

An even BETTER idea is using E-Invites. There are not many free services out there that let you design your own but I used Punchbowl.com. They let you pick one of their designs, add all of the details and for free you send these through email, facebook, and other online outlets. It is PERFECT and VERY EASY. Oh and did I mention, FREE??? Guests can click to RSVP right there in their email, no hassle involved.

Check out some screen shots of the invite:



*I covered our address & email.*


You can also use services such as Etsy for invites but keep in mind cost and time. Don’t make this hard on yourself. You are in your second trimester and tired for goodness gracious. Make this easy on yourself.

10. Lights, Camera, Action

With technology as it is, someone needs to be videoing this. An iPhone video is as good as any! When everyone stands around make sure the cameras are out, give someone your phone and someone else your camera. Designate someone to video. You are going to want this later, especially to share on social media. It captures the shock, joy, and excitement. My rough and tough father-in-law cried, boy am I glad we caught that on film! J You can hire a professional if you would like. We are saving for baby so we knew that family-captured photos would be just fine!

video


11. Don’t take it so seriously.

      This isn’t a wedding or equally as daunting task. Breath. Simplify. Cut corners. Don’t lose sight of the end game here.
      
      This is about love and excitement. The goal is for everyone you love to be in the room (or outside with you) when you find out what the next family member will be. Don’t over do it. Have good food, fun, and overall, just love each other!

      You are growing a human for goodness sakes! Lay back, prop your feet up and pat yourself on the back. You made it through the day without eating everything in your pantry and shaming yourself for not leaving your bed. (And if you did that, pat yourself on the back anyways because not every day will be like that, after all the baby made you do it).




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