What do modern mums-to-be want for a baby shower? Today’s celebrations aren’t about throwing as much baby gear as possible at the impending mum. We don’t need to play party games (but we can if we want to). We’re much more about celebrating with good friends, over good food (let there be an amazing cake or divine little cupcakes), creating lovely memories together. Because we know life is never the same after kids (shhhhh!).
I’m going to take a wild guess that most of the ladies reading this have been to at least one baby shower. If you haven’t, let us paint a picture for you on how it usually goes. There is almost always a bunch of women sitting around a room exchanging gifts with the glowing mama-to-be; there are – without fail – decorated sweets and cakes on offer; and more often than not there will be cringe-worthy games thrown into the mix. But at the end of the day, celebrating the impending arrival of your friend or relative’s little one is a day that is cherished forever, regardless of the cheese factor.
And, if you’re an expat in Singapore, celebrating traditional milestones like engagements and baby showers can be very challenging. Chances are you are thousands of miles away from your family and the friends you grew up with, and you may or may not have an established friend group here to help you ring in your special moments.
My girlfriend Sarah is one of those expats. Expecting her first baby in November, she is far from her Canadian home base and didn’t expect anything like a traditional shower to celebrate. “I’m not expecting anything,” she would say, or “Let’s just do a nice brunch.” But I couldn’t sit back and let this milestone fade away, and I certainly didn’t want my best friend in Singapore to feel homesick as her due date approached. So we really thought hard about what we could do to make her shower a truly memorable experience that rivalled the one I am sure she would have had back home.
Here are my five first-hand tips for planning and executing an intimate affair that turned out to be the ultimate baby shower:
1: Location, location, location
It’s all about the ambience. Chances are if you are throwing a baby shower for someone, you know her pretty well. Pick somewhere that suits her style. For my Sarah, Raffles Hotel Singapore was the obvious choice. Unique and glamorous was our goal, and Raffles Hotel sure delivered. Colonial style building, tick. Lots of natural light, check. Three of her closest friends, sorted.
2: The element of surprise
Expectations are a funny thing: as adults we rarely have the opportunity to surrender control and let someone take the reigns. Surprise her by telling her nothing about the plans for that day.
We told Sarah to be ready at 11.45am, to wear a white dress and to not do any hair or make-up. We picked her up in a stylish car and headed to our location. On arrival I could tell she was quite unsure why we were alighting at the most renowned landmark in Singapore whilst she didn’t have her ‘face’ on. We gladly took the opportunity to tease her about this; surely she didn’t mind a light brunch sans mascara?
We grabbed her hand and escorted her inside where Raffles Hotel had organised a private suite for us to get ready in. We sat around in robes drinking Champagne (Sparkling apple juice for her) whilst having our faces prepped by a professional makeup artist.
Needless to say, Sarah’s apprehension faded the minute the pampering started.
3. Hire a pro
A woman’s first foray into motherhood is quite the milestone – so document it. This is even more important for expats whose family and friends back home will love to see pictures of her special day. We hired a professional photographer, or as we liked to call it, our very own paparazzi. The guys at Craftsmen were incredible and really affordable. They stayed with us throughout the day and captured all those treasured moments. This ended up being worth more to Sarah than any present we could have bought her. #nailedit
4: High tea all the way
A surefire way to make any girl feel like a princess is a divine high tea. From Just $62++, Raffles Hotel Tiffin Room puts on a divine high tea, with tiered cake stands filled with cucumber sandwiches and delectable treats, and a buffet for those who want a larger feed (like expecting mums!) The environment itself will make any self-respecting woman swoon and feel like Kate Middleton for the day.
Want to splurge and really feel like royalty? Book into the private tea room. Decorated with balloons and flower centerpieces, it’s divine. (Contact Raffles Hotel for details on pricing.)
5: Don’t skip the cutesy traditions
Look, we are as passionate about being glam as anyone, but I am so glad we didn’t toss out the traditions that make a baby shower a baby shower. Themed cake, ridiculous games, sentimental gifts and matching outfits and accessories all contributed to making this the perfect day, and they really do turn it from a fancy celebration into an ultimate baby shower.
I mean, how often do you get to have your very own hot pink tiered cake with a smiling baby on top? Or how often can you make a board on Pinterest and actually execute all your pinned “Games for Baby Showers?” And let’s be serious, you know you wish you had an occasion for those awesome flower crowns in the accessory shops! #sorrynotsorry
Photography: The Craftsmen