How Much Does A Baby Shower Cost?
Last updated April 2022
Are you considering hosting or throwing a baby shower? Or maybe you’ve already volunteered to do so. Or maybe you’ve been conscripted into it by well-meaning friends or family members. (Wondering who pays for the baby shower? ← one of many baby shower basics and etiquette considerations that we addressed over here.) No matter what your case might be, you’re likely in the same spot as many before you in asking: how much does a baby shower cost?
While we’d love to give you the set-in-stone magical average cost of a baby shower we simply can’t. Unfortunately, it’s just not that straightforward. This is because baby showers can be as simple as you can possibly imagine all the way up to extremely extravagant. It just depends on the budgets and financial means of those throwing the baby shower. And as a result of this, the cost of throwing a baby shower can vary wildly from one extreme to the other. And this is before you even consider the impact that inflation might have on an average baby shower cost. Needless to say, if there was such a single average cost that cost would be much higher right now given the current state of inflation.
With this in mind, what we’ve opted to do instead of providing a single unchanging cost or amount, is to break down the major costs associated with throwing a baby shower. Armed with this information you can get a pretty good idea of what an average baby shower might cost to host and then pick and choose in which areas you might try to save money if you’re looking to keep your costs as low as possible.
From the biggest cost to the least expensive as well as the optional aspects of a baby shower let’s take a look at each element of a baby shower.
Venue / Location
Without a doubt, your biggest expense as a host is going to be the venue that you choose to use for your baby shower. Popular venue locations for baby showers include but are not limited to: restaurants, a local park, a church, community/HOA or Country Club spaces, hotel conference rooms, and of course someone’s home or yard.
Here are some things to consider as well as an average cost for each:
Restaurant - $300 - Rates to rent a part of or an entire restaurant can vary quite a bit by the type of restaurant, the time of year you’re renting, day and time, etc. Nonetheless, a very broad rental range would be $50-$150 per hour. Assuming the average cost is $100/hour and your shower is scheduled to last three hours you’re looking at a cost of around $300.
Local Park - $50 - If you’re planning on just staking your claim to a large area of a public park then your cost is very likely to be zero. But if the park you drive by on a daily basis has some kind of pavilion, tables, etc then you’ll likely not only incur some cost to host your baby shower here but also need to reserve it with your city in order to use it on the big day. Of course, the risk with booking an outdoor park for the baby shower is the weather. But if you’re alright with this risk, or live in an area with perfect weather, then an outdoor park can be a great place to host a shower. A venue such as this ranges in the $25-$100 range for a few hours.
Church - FREE - Like someone’s home, assuming your church is okay with it, a church is a fantastic place to throw a baby shower as more often than not it is free to use! To see if this is an option, if your own is unavailable, check with co-hosts or friends that might be attending as to the availability of hosting the shower at one of their churches.
Community / HOA / Country Club - $50 - The most difficult part of renting this type of venue is that oftentimes they are exclusive to residents and/or paying members. Thus, before you do anything else you’ll want to check with the location if there are any residency or member requirements in order to reserve a space before inquiring about pricing. If there are and you are eligible you may be able to get a space like this for free! If not, and in general, we’ve found these to be comparable to the cost of a local park - cheaper than restaurants and hotel conference rooms but still likely to cost $25-$100 for a few hours.
Hotel Conference Room - $300 - A local hotel can be a great place to host a shower as they will have plenty of tables and chairs and sometimes even offer some kind of catering service. Or, if you do want to do catering from a different restaurant or caterer, then a local catering company assuredly is familiar with where the hotel is. Regardless of the food offering options, hotel conference rooms can range from $50-$150/hr. In some cases, it is cheaper to simply rent the room for the day depending on the hotel’s hourly rate compared to a day’s rate. Daily rates are typically in the $150-$450 range (as a good reference cost, in our research we found a Hilton meeting room with a daily rate of $350.)
Home / Garden - FREE - Throwing a baby shower at someone’s home or in a lovely yard or garden is, of course, the most affordable of all the venue options as it is all but guaranteed to be free. Most of the baby showers we’ve attended have been at someone’s home and have been more than adequate for the shower’s needs. A thank you card and a small gift for the person (if it’s someone other than yourself) that gave the use of their home is a nice post-shower touch.
Ultimately, your choice of venue is entirely up to you. While having your baby shower at a nice restaurant or in a conference room of the local upscale hotel can both be very nice options these don’t come without their costs! If you’re looking to save some money as the baby shower host we’d highly recommend looking for a free hosting venue for your shower - a church, community center, or someone’s home is often more than enough for what is needed!
Pro tip: Be aware that venues that require you to rent space give you that space only for that amount of time. Meaning that if your invite says that the shower lasts for three hours but you need time to both set up and clean up that you’ll likely need to pay for additional hours or inquire about an entire day’s rate so you have enough time before and after the shower to make sure everything runs smoothly.
In our experience, the second biggest expense of hosting a baby shower will be the food for the guests that come to the shower. The time of day that you will be having the baby shower may affect the types of foods you offer. For example, if you are hosting a baby shower on a Saturday morning you may want to provide breakfast or brunch foods such as muffins, yogurts, parfaits, fresh fruits, breakfast casseroles, etc. If your party is in the evening you may opt for finger foods or desserts. Regardless of the time of your baby shower, most baby showers we’ve been to serve just that: finger foods and desserts of some sort, and this can still be quite a bit of money depending on how many guests are expected to attend. Using vendors local to us as a reference point (costs can and do vary by state so these are approximate!), here are just a few popular items and their associated costs.
- Sheet Cake - $29.98 at Walmart. 40 servings.
- 60 Cookies - 15.99 at Costco. 60 cookies.
- Cupcakes - $62 at a local specialty shop. 50 mini cupcakes.
- Veggie Trays - $22 at Walmart. 20 servings (10 per tray).
- Fruit Trays - $22 at Walmart. 20 servings (10 per tray).
- Snack Tray (Cheese, Meats, Crackers) - $30 at Walmart. 28 servings (14 per tray).
- Chips and Dip (Assortment of Chips and Dips) - ~$25 at Walmart. 25-35 servings depending on bag and dip size.
- Chicken Nuggets - $43.50 - one large chicken nugget tray from Chick-fil-A. 120 nuggets.
- Drinks - ~$20 - Eight 2 liter sodas (lemonades or juices similar prices) from Walmart.
- Assorted Paper Goods - ~$25 - Plastic plates, forks and spoons, plastic cups, and napkins from Walmart. This will give you more than what you need for a party of 25.
Based on what you choose from the list above, you’re looking at a very rough cost of $4-$8 per person for food costs. On the low end, catering typically will run you around $10/person. Thus, while your food options may differ from a few of the examples we gave above if you know how many people are going to attend you can multiply the number of attendees by the average cost of food per person to get a rough idea of how much your total food costs might be. With a typical baby shower having 10-25 guests we’d estimate total food costs to be in the $50-200 range.
Games & Prizes
Almost every baby shower includes some form of fun baby shower games as well as prizes. On the games side of things, as with everything else, the cost really just depends how much or how little you want to do. Like invitations and thank you cards, games can be purchased from a wide variety of websites and companies as well as a plethora of free printable baby shower games. For estimation purposes, on Etsy alone one can buy anywhere from 5-60 baby shower games for $5-$15. Though there are some baby shower games, such as the dirty diaper game, that may require purchasing additional supplies (diapers and candy bars for the dirty diaper game) so it’s safe to say that $25-$50 should cover the games aspect of the shower.
The bigger cost in this area will be what is spent on prizes. Prizes can range from simple items from big-box retailers (Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc) to event tickets, mini-vacations, and more. As we’ve outlined in our guide to diaper raffles, we’d suggest that the grand prize of a diaper raffle at least equal the cost of a box of diapers (~$40-$50) so a fair estimate of the total costs of prizes may land in the $50-150 range.
If you combine the cost of games and prizes, you will be more than set if you allocate $75-$200 for your games and prizes portion of the baby shower.
Much like the food for the party, the cost of the baby shower decorations can vary greatly depending on how simple or ornate you want it, how much you’re willing to DIY, where you buy your decorations (or where you download them for free), and how much time and effort you are willing to put into it. The sky really is the limit here.
For basic baby shower decor, some common decorations include:
- Helium Balloons ~$50 for a few balloon bouquets from a local vendor.
- Flowers - ~$40 from Walmart.
- Bunting or Foil Balloon Letters - ~$20 from Walmart.
- Tablecloths - ~$25 from Walmart for 2-3 decorative ones.
- Table Centerpiece - ~$50. This one can vary immensely but options might include flowers, baby items, etc.
While these are a good starting point, you really could go all out here. If you are trying to keep costs low we suggest sticking to some of these basics or just fewer of each item. Either way, a fairly average cost for decorating a baby shower is likely between $50 - 100.
We would consider baby shower favors right on the border of “necessary” and “extras”. Many baby showers that we have attended have not given a baby shower favor to the attending guests. Nonetheless, it is fairly common for hosts to provide some kind of favor to those who’ve taken the time to not only attend but also to buy a gift (maybe they bought one of our custom baby onesies! ;) ) for the mom-to-be. Like many of the other categories, favors can either be done in a very economical or excessive manner. In our experience, affordable favors will be somewhere in the range of $2-4 per person. Thus, for a party of 25 guests, and using the average amount, we’d recommend you budget $75 for party favors for your guests.
Invitations are a little more straightforward than finding, securing, and decorating a venue, or making sure you have plenty of food for your guests without breaking the bank. Nonetheless, depending on the number of guests and whether you need to mail them or not, don’t overlook the cost of invitations as part of your baby shower planning.
Invitations can be created by yourself or anyone else who might have the talent to do so and printed at Walmart Photo Prints or other print shops or even on a home printer. Invitations can also be purchased online from a myriad of vendors - Amazon, Etsy, Custom Ink, Minted, Vista Print, Zazzle, and Shutterfly to name just a few.
As a well-known brand in the space, we’ve used Shutterfly to get an approximate cost of invitations. For some fairly basic invitations, before tax and any shipping charges 25 invitations cost approximately $35. In this example, if you factor in postage costs, a good total average cost for invitations is $50 or $2 per person.
Thank You Cards
Given the similarity of thank you cards to invitations, it’s fair to say that your average cost per person on thank you cards is $2 per person. If you use the 25 guest estimate, your thank you cards will be approximately $50.
To this point, we’ve largely outlined what we’d consider the necessary parts of a shower. While you can still cut out some of these things (for example, games aren’t a MUST) or simply scale them back to keep your costs down as there are always ways to spend more money when throwing a baby shower! Two of these are having a photographer on hand as well as using the services of a baby shower planner. In our opinion, both of these professional services are wholly unnecessary for a basic and successful baby shower but there is no harm in using these services if you have the funds available and prefer to do so.
Photographer rates can vary quite a bit depending on their level of expertise and how busy their schedules are but it is safe to assume that for a few hours you should at least expect it to cost around $150-300 based on average hourly rates.
Likewise, a baby shower planner can cost anywhere from $250-$750. We’d recommend that if you’re looking for ways to throw an affordable baby shower that both of these services be eschewed for a guest with a capable smartphone and some photography skills and your own effort to pull off the best baby shower possible!
Summary - How Much For A Baby Shower?
For those not scoring at home but still wondering how much a baby shower costs, based on the rough averages of everything we’ve covered to this point, here’s a quick summary of approximate costs:
- Venue: $150
- Food: $150
- Games & Prizes: $125
- Decor: $75
- Favors: $75
- Invitations: $50
- Thank You Cards: $50
Baby Shower Grand Total: $675
Baby Shower Cost Per Person: $27
We’ve excluded the “extras” and assumed 25 guests.
While $675 might represent a fairly average cost for a baby shower we’re confident that for those wanting to throw a baby shower for less that it could easily be done for at least half of that cost.
Likewise, for those with the time and money to do so, that cost could easily be 2-4x higher. It all just depends on the means available and what kind of baby shower is wanted. No matter what you choose, keep in mind the number of guests that will be attending as that will ultimately drive the cost of a baby shower.
However much you decide to invest into throwing the baby shower you’ve taken on we wish you all the best in planning and pulling it off!