There are a million articles on the web and in books that provide how-to on hosting a baby shower. I arrived upon this article that I thought covered all the bases. Check it out.
Second baby/ Adopted baby
Although baby showers are traditionally held for the first baby, there is nothing wrong with throwing a party to welcome a new baby into the family.
Who should host the shower?
The expectant parents should not have to host their own baby shower (Unless you have a type-A personality like me and want to control the decor of the event- :o)). Formal etiquette dictates that the host not even be a relative. Now we all know that expectant grandmothers and aunties LOVE to host baby showers, so that knocks this formality right out the window. Just for the record, it is perfectly fine for close relatives, friends, and coworkers to plan and host a baby shower.
Like any party, planning a baby shower takes time and money. It is not a good idea to ask someone to plan your shower. Let them volunteer. It is perfectly fine to drop hints to let your friends and family members know that you want one.
When should the shower take place?
Most showers are held before the baby is born. Personally, I think it is a good idea to throw a shower during the 8th month of the pregnancy (typically 1-2 months before the baby's due date). During this time, the mother-to-be is usually feeling good and still has a glow about her. She won't mind dressing up to go out. She has probably registered for baby items but hasn't purchased much on her own yet. Having the shower far enough in advance will give the new parents a chance to determine what items they still need to purchase without feeling that time is against them.
Be sure to plan the shower when the most important people (parents, grandparents, etc.) are available. It's ok to tell the parents-to-be if they have plans for a specific date without spoiling th surprise (if you are planning a surprise).
It is also perfectly acceptable to have the shower after the baby is born. In this case, everybody gets to see the baby, which is an extra bonus.
Does the shower have to be a surprise?
This depends on whether or not the mother-to-be would like the surprise.
I am a hard person to surprise because I am always on the go. If you want me to be somewhere, then you have to let me know in advance so I can plan to be there. A friend wanted to surprise me with a shower at a restaurant the week before my due date. It was also a week after my birthday, so I asked if we could get together for my birthday instead because I would probably not feel like driving anywhere that close to my due date. She had to contact everyone to let them know about the date change at the last minute and most of them were unavailable. Who knew?
When to start planning?
Give yourself at least 3 months to plan. Determine your budget and location first. Send invitations about 3-4 weeks ahead. Request RSVPs at least 2 weeks before the party date (expect to receive late RSVPs and guests who "forgot" to RSVP).
Who should be invited?
The final guest list should be reviewed by the guest of honor to make sure no one was left off (or inviting someone they would prefer not to include).
Traditionally, baby showers are for women only, but coed showers are popular and a lot of fun for everyone. The coed shower gives the often left out father-to-be a chance to shine too.
Leave it up to the guest of honor to decide whether to invite men and/or children. Keep in mind that you will have to plan activities to keep all of your guests entertained.
Thanks Randi for the information.