The days and weeks after the arrival of a new baby can be stressful. A family’s routine changes and they are getting used to how baby fits within their everyday lives. A revolving door of visitors, however well intended, doesn’t reduce stress levels for exhausted parents whether it’s the first baby or the fourth. Families may not feel up to entertaining visitors, tidying up the house or even food shopping for that matter…nevermind that some people may drop by with no or little advance notice. A Sip and See Baby Shower is the perfect solution to taking all those unexpected or inconvenient visits and condensing them into one afternoon when a family can be prepared to show off their new addition.
Sip and See vs. Baby Shower
The Sip and See originated in the southern United States. It is similar to a baby shower but it’s held AFTER the baby is born and tends to be more casual. Decorations are minimal, guest lists are smaller and above all, its’ goal is not to replace a baby shower, but to celebrate baby. While baby showers are most often held for a first child, a Sip and See allows a celebration for subsequent children no matter how many there have been previously. It’s a way for family and friends to get together when etiquette generally states that you don’t have more than one baby shower per mother. While baby showers focus on what’s to come, a Sip and See revels in the presence of the little one. Baby-themed games and festivities are common at baby showers, while Sip and Sees tend to be more like an open house. Guests drop by over the course of a few hours to enjoy light food and drinks (the “Sip”) and meet the baby (the “See”).
Timing is key in the planning process. It will take a number of weeks to get somewhat of a schedule under control. It is important for a mother who has just delivered to feel like herself again and have the opportunity to have a little fun. Ideally, the event should held anywhere from 2-8 weeks post-partum at the home of the baby and parents. Mid-afternoon is an ideal time as a large meal would not be necessary and refreshments can be buffet-style. Pawn off hostess duties to a good friend or close relative to make life easier for the new mother. The goal is to keep it low-key and stress-free.
Sip and See Invitations
A successful Sip and See should be manageable for whomever is planning the celebration. As for invitations, you can use baby shower invitations or even birth announcements, but avoid images of pregnant women since the baby has already arrived. As the Sip and See has been gaining in popularity, there is an abundance of customized Sip and See invitation options that perfectly suit the occasion. Whatever the choice, pick an invitation that reflects the theme of the event (if there is one) and suits baby’s or the parent’s personality. A Sip and See is a family affair so don’t forget to invite the guys. The following are some gorgeous customizable invitation and postage options created by the collaborators on Party Simplicity that should leave your guests oohing and aahing over them (and baby too!).
Sip and See matching postage
Gifts are generally not required at a Sip & See, but guests will likely bring them or feel like they should if a gift hasn’t been presented beforehand. A hostess can always let guests know what the family needs for the baby if they would really like to bring a gift. However, if a mother has already had a baby shower before the Sip & See, a gift is unnecessary, so consider adding a line stating something like “The gift of your presence is all that we ask” to the invitation, or having the host/hostess mention it when guests RSVP.
Sip and See Themes
The possibilities for a Sip and See theme are almost endless, but pick one that suits your personality and make sure that it is manageable.
The Sip and See began as a southern US tradition of a tea party (the “sip”). A full English tea makes a wonderfully civilized setting among all the baby paraphernalia, so include scones, marmalade, clotted cream, and watercress or cucumber sandwiches in addition to a variety of black, green, decaffeinated, and herbal teas.
Since this party is geared more towards adults, use the color of champagne to set a sophisticated table in shades of white, gold and silver. Make a DIY champagne/cocktail bar and offer plenty of mixers for guests to make their own drinks including sparkling water, sparkling cider and a variety of juices. Avoid plastic cups as this is an elegant affair, so save the red plastic cups for another time. If you don’t have glass flutes or wine glasses, you can purchase inexpensive sets most anywhere. Add floral and/or balloon bouquets in champagne colors.
This is a fun theme, especially if the baby’s nursery has an animal theme. Incorporate animal print such as zebra or tiger stripes in the decorations, but don’t go over the top. Add subtle touches on the table and paper goods. Variable size plastic animal figurines can look elegant if spray painted a solid or metallic color and placed at table settings or in room settings.
Obviously blue or pink come to mind, but don’t be afraid to add splashes of bright colors. Choose a favorite color or combination of colors. There are multitudes of decor options readily available at any party store or online.
Take inspiration from the baby’s ethnic heritage and incorporate it into the theme.
If baby is born close to a holiday, why not incorporate aspects of that holiday into the theme? Stars and stripes for the Fourth of July, Pumpkins, corn stalks and an orange and black color palette for Halloween, or add elements of Christmas for a December baby.
Take inspiration from the time of year to incorporate into a theme. Whether it is a blossoming spring flowers theme or an icy winter white, a seasonal setting lends a lovely and soothing ambiance.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD
Welcome baby to the world by giving the party a global theme. Alternatively, make it a celebration of the local area in which baby lives. Use maps and globes as decoration. Travel posters and postcards can be arranged around a room while food can reflect various countries.
The “Sip” is obviously an important part of the Sip and See. What you serve depends on your theme and what the host/hostess can arrange.
A sparkling drinks and DIY champagne bar is wonderful idea for a Sip and See. Include a variety of bubbly drinks from champagne to bottles of sparkling cider. Offer a variety of juices as mixers so that guests can stir up their own champagne-based cocktails. Other drinks that come to mind are fruit punch , bottled water or sangria.
Mid-afternoon is a perfect time for a Sip and See as guests generally will not expect a large meal. Unless you are motivated or have someone that will cook, have plenty of finger foods on hand or focus solely on a wide range of hors d’oeuvres. Pre-made party platters or store-bought desserts are perfectly acceptable as well.
A dessert area is a must at any celebration and there’s no reason not to incorporate your theme on a dessert table. Cupcakes are always popular and the toppers can be customized with stickers printed with baby’s name along with any other message. If you are serving a larger dessert such as a cake, pie or fruit salad, use customized cake picks to celebrate the new addition. A candy buffet is a fun solution for favors. Choose a color palette that matches your theme and set jars of goodies such as rock candy sticks, colored gummies, Jordan almonds, and jelly beans. Leave a stack of cellophane or small paper bags near the jars so that guests can make their own candy favor bags to take home. Take the opportunity to use stickers or labels customized with a thank you note or baby’s name to decorate and/or seal the bags. The contributors at Party Simplicity have designed some wonderful stickers and cake toppers to get you started on party decor.
Stickers and Cake Toppers
Set up a hand washing station or have access to a bathroom with anti-bacterial hand soap and lots of guest towels. Provide an extra bottle of hand sanitizer for guests to use before holding the baby and a comfortable chair for the new mother and others to hold baby.
For the event, you’ll want to have baby looking extra cute, so choose an outfit that you’ve bought yourself. It will prevent anyone feeling upset that you didn’t choose the outfit they gifted you and it should keep all sides neutral.
The party location would likely be the home of the baby or a familiar location, so keep decorations simple. There is no need to go all out as you might for a baby shower.
- Place a floral wreath or other decoration on your front door to welcome guests.
- Set up a table with a stack of note cards and a supply of pens so that people can write a message to welcome the baby, offer words of advice, and congratulate the family. These cards can be saved to be put into a scrapbook at a later time.
- A framed photo of the baby or baby announcement on the table is an inspirational touch. Include all the birth stats including full name, date and time of birth and weight.
- Don’t forget to take pictures of each guest with the baby to include in the scrapbook or send to the guests with your thank you’s.
- Simple floral centerpieces on the food or dessert table make a big impact so have them reflect your theme by using the colors of your chosen palette and tying ribbon around the base to add a celebratory look.
- Placing a few frosted votive candle holders on tables around the room or small bud vases with single tulips or other flowers go a long way to add to the look.
- Hang inexpensive paper lanterns to lend a festive air.
- If gifts are being accepted, decorate a child’s wagon to serve as the “welcome wagon” where guests can place their gifts for baby.
Above all, a Sip and See is a special time for family and friends to celebrate new beginnings, so be sure to enjoy this special time.
Thank You to these following blogs for their photographs:
Ilene Sternbach Aldridge is the designer and owner of Star Stream Design, an independent design firm specializing in paper goods, gifts and apparel for any occasion. From weddings to graduations to holiday parties to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, we pride ourselves in the wide variety of styles and occasions for which we design. Through a number of Print-on-Demand sites and Etsy, most of our products are customizable in some way. It's smart design, customized by you.