Average Cost For Baby Shower? The Ultimate Guide


baby shower fun on a budget

reading time ~9 1/2 minutes 

Average Cost For A Baby Shower? 

A typical baby shower can run from $100-$1500 and up! I'll go out on the limb and tell you in detail why I estimate $650 to be an average cost for a baby shower of 20 people. Of course, it would be less for a smaller affair. But you can also simply choose a budget you can afford, and that would become the cost for you, $400, for instance. 

Budget For Baby Showers

So besides providing a well-thought-out budget for a $650 baby shower, I will also provide you with budgets for a $400 baby shower and a shower that runs under $150

And then, to be thorough, I'll show you a sample $1600 baby shower budget, assuming some have the money to spend. If you like, you can just skip ahead to the numbers. 

Why Do Baby Shower Budgets Vary So Much? 

Costs for baby showers vary depending on many factors:

  • How many people will attend? 
  • What kind of invitations and thank you notes will you be sending? 
  • Where will you be holding the event? 
  • What about furniture rentals? 
  • What will you be serving? 
  • During what time of the day will the event take place? 
  • What about decorations? 
  • What kind of party games and prizes do you have planned? 
  • Do you have a particular dessert in mind? 
  • Do you consider party favors necessary? 

Let's consider these basic budgetary questions and then closely examine our four budgets of $650, $400, under $150, and $1,600. 

How Many People In Attendance?

average cost for baby shower

Nothing affects your budget more than the number of people attending. If you have 20 people, you may be able to hold the shower at your or a friend's or relative's house. If you have 30 people, that could be pushing it. You may have to rent a space.

The number of people also affects your food budget, which is your largest expense, as well as everything else, down to the cost of invitations and thank-you notes. 

It used to be that baby showers were a gals-only event, but more and more are coed now, depending on the hosts' preference and their budget. Of course, here at The Pregnant Father, we encourage a coed event if affordable.

What Kind Of Invitation And Thank You Notes Will You Be Sending? 

You can probably get invitations most economically from online retailers such as Amazon, Etsy, Custom Ink, and Vista Print. Nicely pre-printed fill-in template invitations may run you about $2.00 each, and more expensive custom-made cards about $3.50. 

Add in shipping and postage to 20 guests, and you have a range from about $55 to $90 in total. Approximately the same figures go for thank you cards.

There are online companies that send out eloquent digital invitations and keep track of your RSVPs for a fraction of that cost. You can also use free online invitation makers to cut your costs.

And of course, if you decide to send invitations and thank you notes by email, there is no cost.

Where Will You Be Holding The Event? 

The least expensive options are your home, a friend's home, or a place of worship. Most baby showers are held at a home. Following the shower, a nice thank you note and a small gift to the host is a nice post-shower touch.

Other venues include parks ($50, perhaps with a pavilion backup in case of rain), community or HOA clubhouses ($100-$300), restaurants ($150-$350), hotel conference rooms ($250-$350) and botanical gardens ($300 and up). If you hold your shower at a park, you may need to get a permit depending upon the number of guests.

When securing a party venue, you generally do what you have to do, but aim to keep this line item as close as possible to 10% of your budget.

What Will You Be Serving? What Time Of Day Will The Event Take Place?

Here's where the largest portion of your budget will be going, especially if you'll be providing full-course meals, snacks, and beverages. Although finger foods, fruit and veggie trays, cheese and crackers, and dessert are what you'll usually find. 

If you hold the baby shower at lunch or dinner time, people will be expecting more of a meal. If you have it in the morning, you can easily get away with muffins, bagels, fruit, and yogurt. Light snacks like appetizers, fruits, veggies, and dessert would be fine if you hold it late afternoon.

Be it after dinner, all you really need is a few snacks and dessert. 

Figure that your food and beverage cost will be about $5 - $12 per person, depending on the time of day and how lavish you choose it to be. Of course, you can save a lot of money by preparing food yourself.

If you choose to have the event catered, it will take a lot of weight off your shoulders but figure on a cost of more like $20 per guest for drop-off catering.

What About Decorations? 

budget for baby shower

Here we have an extensive range of budgets from $30 to $300. You could go with Mylar balloons, floral centerpieces, a theme-based party, and on and on. 

However, online Oriental Trading Company offers bundles of shower decorations for under $15. Or you could run down to the Dollar Store and Walmart, get some simple latex balloons, streamers, paper table cloth, perhaps a floral centerpiece with sunflowers, and then get creative. 

For instance, you could use onesies, posters, blankets, and toys as part of your decorations. You can also find great DIY decorating ideas from sites like Pinterest.

And let's assume that for your aural ambiance, you can put together your own playlist of music with your iPhone plugged in and playing in the background. So let's assume that you can do a very nice job on decorating and music ambiance for $75-$150.

What Kind Of Party Games And Prizes Do You Have Planned?

Nearly every baby shower includes some fun games and prizes. For instance, you can get a set of party games from Etsy, throw in some gift card prizes and you're all set. Printed shower games can be had at Party City for about $4-$12 apiece.

Or you can have simpler games like bingo or dancing and singing programs that don't require prizes. In any case, the larger of the two expenses will be what you spend on prizes. This can range from goodies from big-box retailers to gift cards.

Figure perhaps $30-$50 for the games and another $100-$150 for prizes. 

What Kind Of Dessert Do You Have Planned? 

The cake is a focal point of many showers, so you probably don't want to do without this. Let's assume you'll allocate $1-4 per person toward dessert.

A customized cake you have made at a bakery could run you $100 for a regular or $60 for a small cake, while a full-size cake you pick up at a local grocery store that handles in-house cake decorating might run you about $60. Of course, a generic cake would be much less expensive.

Or you or someone close to you could bake it from scratch. Or you may just wish to pick up some pink or blue frosted muffins from a bakery. That's good enough! Remember, the important thing is that you'll be together with those you love, so you don't need to go overboard.

Are Party Favors In The Picture? 

Party favors lie in between "necessary" and "extra ." These can range from cookies to simple bags of candy to nothing at all. They are a nicety if you can afford them. If you plan to include favors, figure on a cost of about $2-5 per person.

What About A Photographer? 

baby shower budget ideas

Unless you have considerable money to spend, and some do, let's assume that you'll assign one of your guests with a good eye as the event photographer. Cell phones take extremely good photos. Otherwise, a photographer might run you $200-$350.

An Average Budget Of $650 

Now that we know our basic costs let's hone in on our average cost for a baby shower of $650. Figure that you'll be limiting the number of guests to 20. That comes out to nearly $32 per person. How does this break down? 

First, let's assume that the baby shower will take place at your or a friend's or a relative's house. Let's also assume that there's a spillover area for guests to mingle outside, such as a patio, garden, or yard.

Breakdown Budget For A Baby Shower With A $650 Budget 

budget baby shower of $650
  • Number of guests: 20 
  • $110: Invitations, thank you cards, and postage: Nicely printed cards and thank you notes designed from online templates 
  • $35: Venue, Figure that you will hold it at your or a guest's home, but you may need to rent some folding chairs. 
  • $160: Food. That's $8/per person. You should be able to do alright on this mid-range budget. 
  • $60: Cake. Figure this would cover the cost of a cake from a local grocery store that does in-house decorating. 
  • $100: Party decorations. Let's figure you don't need to get too lavish, but give yourself some wiggle room to make the occasion festive. You could get away for less. 
  • $45: Shower games 
  • $100: Game prizes 
  • $40: Party Favor goody bags. Bake your own homemade cookies and possibly other goodies. 
  • $0 Photographer. A friend or relative

A Budget Of $400  

Now let's look at a different scenario. Let's say that you decided that you could afford $400, and so that's what your budget is. What might your line items look like?

Figure that on this budget, you'll be limiting your number of guests to 15. Let's assume that you are going to hold the baby shower at your or a friend's or relative's house. Let's also assume that you won't hold the shower during the lunchtime or dinnertime hour.

Breakdown For A Baby Shower With A $400 Budget 

  • Number of guests: 15 
  • $85: Invitations, thank you cards, and postage. Nicely printed cards and thank you notes designed from online templates. 
  • $0: Venue. Your or a guest's home. 
  • $90: Food. That's $6/per person. You should be able to do well with finger food, veggies, and fruit platters as long as you're not holding it during the lunch or dinner hour. 
  • $40: Cake bought from a local grocery store. Or make one from scratch.  
  • $50: Party decorations. 
  • $30: Shower games. 
  • $90:  Game prizes 
  • $15: Party Favors. Baked homemade cookies. 

Breakdown For A Baby Shower With A $150 Or Less Budget

baby shower budget under $150

Now, let's assume you wanted to throw a nice baby shower for $150 or less. It can be done. 

Baby Shower Budget Ideas

As we have already been mentioning, there is an array of baby shower budget ideas that can save you money.

  • You can plan a pot-luck baby shower where each guest brings a dish. This can save you up to 40% of your budget right off the bat. Or you can make some appetizers and get a few snacks. 
  • You can host the event at someone's home or a beautiful park. 
  • You can take advantage of online services like Paperless Post, Evite, and My Punchbowl to send invitations and thank people by email. 
  • You can stick to one signature flower for your centerpieces, maybe something you or a friend grows, or you can make paper floral arrangements. MarthaStewart has crafting paper multipacks available for under $25. 
  • You can use simple homemade games and play games that don't have winners or let your floral decorations double as prizes. 
  • You can keep your budget down by making a DYI baby shower cake. You or a friend can make a pink or blue cake. Blue or pink muffins work fine too. Or you can get a sheet cake from Walmart for $40 or 60 cookies from Costco for $25. 
  • You can make your own baby shower decorations. You can download many of your baby shower decorations and print them out. 
  • You could make homemade cookies for the perfect party favor.  

Breakdown For A Baby Shower With A $110 Budget 

  • Number of guests: 15-20 
  • $0 Invitations and thank you notes can be sent by email. 
  • $0: Venue. Your or a guest's home. 
  • $25: Food. It's a pot-luck affair. $25 will cover a very nice dish. Ask a guest or two to bring beverages. 
  • $15: Make a homemade cake. 
  • $30: Party decorations. 
  • $25: Shower games 
  • $0: Game prizes. Play games that don't have winners. 
  • $15: Party Favors. Bake homemade cookies.

Virtual Baby Showers  

virtual baby shower on a budget

OR you could host a virtual baby shower with people scattered all across the country. A virtual baby shower might run you anywhere from $20 to $200. 

You can host the shower over platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Facebook. This eliminates the need for any food, except perhaps a cake for the mom-to-be.

An online provider such as WebBabyShower can supply all of your needs for about $80 in one convenient package, including your choice from 80 custom themes and matching customized invites, baby shower games, and the use of any online registry. The virtual invitations even include a link to your registry. 

This can make your job relatively easy. Besides the virtual decorations, you may want to add a few decorations at your backdrop location and up the prizes somewhat, which you can mail later, still staying within your $200 limit.

A Budget Of $1,600 

Now let's take a look at a larger budget and assume an available budget of $1,600.

Breakdown For A Baby Shower With A $1,600 Budget

  • Number of guests: 40 
  • $220: Invitations, thank you cards, and postage: Nicely printed cards and thank you notes from online templates. There's really no reason to spend more. 
  • $250: Venue. The mother and father's favorite restaurant. 
  • $600: Food. That's $15/per person. You could work with the restaurant very nicely on that budget. 
  • $110: Cake. Large cake for 40 from a grocery or bakery. Or make one yourself.
  • $150: Party decorations. 
  • $50: Shower games 
  • $150: Game prizes 
  • $120: Party Favor goody bags. That's $3 per person, which should work nicely. 
  • $0: Photographer. A friend or a relative. After all, you have to stay within your budget. 
  • $0: Event Planner. Even this kind of baby shower can be taken care of without hiring an expensive event planner. 

Who Normally Hosts A Baby Shower? 

Most often, it is the expectant parents who host. A baby shower may also be hosted by a best friend(s), family member(s), group of neighbors, or even co-workers of the expectant parents. Sometimes the cost is split up.

In any case, it's a good bit of work, so enlist all the help you can get. Often, baby showers are held in the last two months of pregnancy, and invitations are mailed about 4-6 weeks before the event.

About the author 

Dan Sperling

I'm the proud father of two great children. They are grown up now, and although I would have preferred to be a stay-at-home dad, I had to work. Luckily, I could work out of my home so I was around a lot. I ran a video production company, had a couple of great guys working with me and it allowed me to be around the children a lot. I was the "fun guy" for my kids and fathering was something I just took to.
When my daughter became pregnant, I was glad to see my son-in-law was doing everything right--or as good as it gets--we're always winging it, right? It got me thinking that so many dads would like to be more emotionally involved and knowledgeable when it comes to their wives' pregnancy and the first year of their children's lives.

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