Theme Idea 1: Red Wagon Progressive Shower
A progressive dinner is a great way for neighbors to plan a shower together. The idea is this: Select three homes within walking distance of each other, have each home’s hostess serve a dinner course, and then have guests move from house to house for the meal. Load the “Bar” in a red wagon, complete with soft drinks, beer, and ice, then move it with the party.
The first house should provide appetizers and cocktails, the second house dishes up a main course, and the final destination supplies dessert and coffee. This is also where gifts should be opened.
Setting It Up
For this party, planning together is a vital factor in making it a success. Start by getting together with other neighbors to determine who will host each phase and how many guests can be accommodated.
In planning the menu, remember to coordinate cuisines; after all, some flavors just don’t mix. Try going Italian — from antipasto to lasagna to tiramisu — or think Tex-Mex — from sangria to fajitas to sopaipillas.
The progressive dinner should be three to four hours long, which means an hour or less per house, including walking time. The evening’s schedule might look like this:
P.M.Cocktails and Hors D’oeurves at Nancy and Bill’s at 145 Main Street
P.M.Head to Dinner
P.M.Dinner at Sandy and Bob’s, 158 Main St.
P.M.Head to Dessert and Presents
P.M.Dessert, Coffee, and Presents at Lulu and Kevin’s, 175 Main St.
In this scenario, guests have ample time to get to the next location, and the opportunity to visit. If you live in a cul-de-sac, travel time may be shorter, but remember, it’s not always that easy to get everybody moving.
Progressive Planning Tips:
Select foods that can be made ahead and quickly reheated when guests arrive. The hostess for the next leg may need to leave a few minutes ahead of the group to get a jump on preparations; do not plan elaborate garnishes, sauces, or presentations — you won’t have time.
Table and serving platters should be set and ready before the start time. As the hostess, you will have only moments to get things from oven or refrigerator to table.
Extra beverages should be available at each location in addition to the portable Red Wagon bar.
Stick to the schedule but don’t rush guests. Let everyone know what the timing is on the invitation. Post schedule and next location at each home so guests know what’s coming.
Have a Plan B for getting the guest of honor from house to house if she is too pregnant to do so easily.
Invitation Ideas and Script
This shower option also works well during the holiday season, when houses are dressed in their finery, and hostesses want to show them off.
There’s gonna be a new kid on the block!
Roll out the welcome wagon
And join us for an All-American Progressive Baby Shower
Meredith, Nate and their bundle of joy
Sunday, May 18th at 7:00 in the evening
7:00 P.M. Cocktails and Hors D’oeurves at
Nancy and Bill’s at 145 Main Street
8:00 P.M. Dinner at Sandy and Bob’s, 158 Main Street
9:30 P.M. Dessert, Coffee and Presents at
Lulu and Kevin’s, 175 Main Street
What can I do if my neighborhood won’t work for a progressive dinner?
No neighborhood? No problem! Find a street in your business district or downtown area with a few local hot spots. Plan to stop first for cocktails and appetizers, then move on to the next location for the main course. The last stop should be the grand finale—coffee, dessert, and presents! Be sure to make reservations and wear comfortable shoes.
Menu Ideas and Options
Everyone will be excited about this barbeque menu. Load up a bright red wagon with bar fixings and keep it moving from house to house with the party.
Red Wagon Shower Menu
Station One: Appetizers and Drinks
Station Two: Dinner
Station Three: Dessert and Coffee
Color Palette and Decor
You guessed it—red, white, and blue. Plan to put a cluster of balloons on the mailbox or walkway of the hosting houses (and remember to leave lights on for approaching guests). Paper plates will make cleanup much easier; buy them in bulk and share with other hostesses.
Use regular household items in unusual ways: Clean and recycle Campbell’s soup cans to use as containers for plastic utensils; recycle diced-tomato cans and fill with fresh herbs for an inexpensive, but interesting, centerpiece. Then gather baby-food jars and, once scrubbed, use them as votive candle holders (labels can be left on or removed).
The Perfect Game or Activity
Between the moving, the eating, and the gift opening, this party is already packed with things to do. Take the pressure off setting up for baby shower games — just take the time to get acquainted or reacquainted with the neighbors.
Gifts That Work with This Theme
Get baby ready to explore the new neighborhood with these gift ideas:
Family Game Night. Give a basket with an assortment of games and activities for families.
Tricycle. This is for the day when baby is ready to explore the neighborhood.
Pack ’n Play. Baby will be ready for an overnight stay with a trusted neighbor so Mom and Dad can have a date night.
Needs Calendar. Create a calendar of the new mommy’s needs—like carpooling duty, family meals, babysitting, and such. Have guests pitch in to help out by selecting a date and time to handle one or more of the posted needs.
Create a Neighborhood Notebook that contains pertinent information for the neighbors. It could include names of family members with birth-dates, phone numbers, emergency numbers, babysitter information, even allergies. Save a page for favorite recommendations like best pizza parlor, best burgers, or where to get a good kid’s haircut.
Gather the information before the party — through phone calls or e-mails — then have it copied and spiral-bound at your local copy shop, and give one to each neighbor as they leave the party.