There's no better way to celebrate an impending stork delivery than to have a baby shower.

There's no better way to celebrate an impending stork delivery than to have a baby shower.
Friends, family and other well-wishers gather together to "shower" the soon-to-be mommy with love, attention and gifts. Today's baby shower can encompass all kinds of themes, guest lists (no more banishing dads!), and budgets.

Include the food
Kendra S. Nicastro, owner of K.C's Creative Events, LLC, said food is the biggest expense for a shower. She suggests having a late morning shower with danish, fresh fruit, coffee and cake, which is an easy way to save money. "Don't be afraid to speak to some of the guests and ask if they are willing to bring an item," Nicastro said. "Ask the guests to bring a salad; it can be a lettuce salad, broccoli salad, mandarin orange salad, etc. Then you can provide a light punch and cake."

"Another good example is an afternoon tea where it is appropriate to limit food and beverage to some small finger food and a minimal drink selection," said Krista P. Sturbois, owner of KP Events. "How you present the food and beverage makes an enormous difference. Utilize cake stands to tier your selections or create height by presenting a variety of raised plates or platters by placing them on stable boxes hidden under a gathered tablecloth."

Decoration expectations
Think theme. A theme can help you stick to a budget while also giving plenty of opportunity for creativity. "A cute shower theme can include using decorative watering cans filled with silk flowers and a baby-themed ribbon tied around the handle. The flowers can be found at any dollar store. You can give them away as door prizes to the guests and mother-to-be," Nicastro said.

A Noah's Ark or teddy bear theme is another easy motif. Look in any kids' room and you'll certainly find a healthy supply of stuffed animals. Group the animals together in sets of two for the Noah's Ark setting, or groups of varying sizes for the teddy bear theme. Place them throughout the party site for a festive look. Spruce up the stuffed friends with ribbons that match the shower dcor, or get really creative and place several pairs in a large plastic bucket or baby tub for an "ark."

"Continuing with the tea theme, an example [of an inexpensive favor idea] would be giving guests specialty tea bags. Purchase a pack [of teas] and place each bag in a pretty envelope or small glassine bag with a complementary label such as, "Baby Smith is brewing," Sturbois said.

Reduce party costs by limiting the decor to a max of two colors or a few shades of the same color, Sturbois said. "Pink and blue are traditional, but consider modernizing it with a twist of soft pink and brown, or baby blue and brown," Sturbois said.
Get creative with items already in the home and, when necessary, think outside the box for great low-cost decorating items. One of Sturbois' favorite places to get inexpensive glassware is Goodwill.

Games and invitations
What's a baby shower without games? The Internet is baby shower game central. Most games like Baby Shower Bingo have templates that just need to be printed out. Game ideas from the traditional: On the Way to the Hospital, to the action-packed: Bottle Bowling, are just clicks away.

Speaking of clicks, why spend extra cash on postage when email invites are free? Popular sites like Evite.com have a variety of invitation styles to choose from, offer party planning tips, and keep track of guest responses.
But if Aunt Suzy or Uncle Rick refuses to go near a computer, send postcard invitations instead. Not only is the postage cheaper at $ .26 each, postcards can be printed at home for additional savings.

Rubber ducky. The little duck Ernie sang so fondly about is always a shower hit. With a variety of duckies available at local dollar stores, there's no end to where the ducks can go--floating in the punch bowl or peeking out of a floral centerpiece.

Monogram shower. When the parents already have the baby's name picked out, use the baby's initials as the shower theme. Inexpensive wood letters can be found at the local arts and crafts store and used as a cake topper or as decorations on the food tables. Stencils and a little paint will go a long way in customizing decorations as well.