Celebrating the upcoming arrival of a new baby is exciting but at the same time, it’s often a situation in which both parents can feel much anxiety. These feelings of anxiety are especially strong for first-time parents. There is so much to know and so many different items are needed to provide proper infant care.

The idea of the baby shower came about as both a special time for family and friends to be together before the baby’s arrival and also to help relieve the financial burden on parents-to-be by supplying them with many of the new gadgets, furnishings and accessories they’ll need once their baby arrives.

And even though today most people prefer to break out of the ‘traditional’ mold, when it comes to a baby shower, these events for the most part still adhere to traditional guidelines. Probably one of the biggest changes to the baby shower format is that they’re no longer exclusively for women. Plenty of men make it onto today’s baby shower guest list and those who are invited don’t come grudgingly. While they might not play in all the baby shower games, men do enjoy the opportunity to give their regards to the expectant mother- and father-to-be.

In some cultures however, a baby shower is considered a sign of bad luck. If there’s a chance the expectant mother might feel this way, be sure to check with her before proceeding with the baby shower.

In some parts of the world the baby shower is actually held after the baby is born. This makes sense since a baby shower is a celebration of the baby and guests enjoy actually seeing the one who is being celebrated. It’s also easier to select gender-appropriate colors and gifts and should the gift need engraving, guests have all the delivery details they need.

Having the baby shower after the baby’s birth does make sense, but it’s a very busy time for new parents. Plus, many of the baby items the expectant parent(s) need are needed as soon as the baby arrives home. That’s why scheduling the baby shower before the baby’s birth is the more common option.

The baby shower itself is traditional and for the most part, every shower involves the same activities. Guest lists and invitations need to be created and mailed. The shower location needs to be decorated. Guests expect to be entertained so food, drink and games need to be coordinated. And because it’s a special occasion, there might even be a photographer and/or videographer, musician and other special talent participating in the festivities.

A baby shower can be a big to-do with lots of little details to coordinate and every detail is going to cost money. That’s why it’s highly advisable for whoever is hosting the shower to put together (and stick to) a workable budget.

Pulling off a successful special event like a baby shower doesn’t take special talent, it takes a well-thought out plan that includes a timeline and a budget.