Planning a Baby Shower in Taipei
I was absolutely delighted to get to host Tieneke's baby shower here in Taipei back in January. I'm happy (and relieved!) to say that it ended up being a very joyous occasion with all of Tieneke's friends getting together to celebrate the anticipated arrival of baby Sebastian, and to shower our dear friend with gifts for the little one.
Even though I was honored (and so excited!) to get to plan and host this special get together for her, it wasn't as easy to organize a baby shower here in Taipei as I thought it would be; there were a few hiccups, especially finding a suitable event location, which made planning it a little more complicated than expected. Also, if you don't speak Mandarin, communicating with vendors can be a headache.
This made me think that I should share our experience and what we learned about planning this type of event in Taipei, for in case you one day find yourself in the same boat with planning a baby shower (as an expat, especially.) I also wanted to share which vendors we decided on for decorations, treats and games, in case your are on the hunt for it, too.
FIRST THINGS FIRST; WHO'S INVITED?
Before planning anything, get the mommy-to-be to make a list of everyone she'd like to have at her baby shower.
After you have a guest list, you'll be able to go ahead with finding a suitable party location.
Creating a simple "Save the Date" private event on Facebook is the easiest way to get a headcount estimate, and also to share the mommy-to-be's baby registry if she has one.
For Tieneke's baby shower, our guest list started off at around 25 to 30 guests, and in the end 22 of her dear friends were able to attend. We found it super simple to keep track of the guest list on a private Facebook event, and it was easy to share information and details of the party.
LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!
Finding a suitable location in Taipei for a baby shower can be the most complicated aspect of planning the event. (It was for us!).
Your options regarding the location of your event are actually quite limited if you'll be a bigger group; you'll find that it's basically impossible to host a baby shower at someone's house here, as apartments in Taipei tend to be quite small and not suitable for a group of, say, 20 or more guests. The weather is very unpredictable, which means a picnic, or any outdoor event space, can be too risky to consider. That leaves you with hosting the baby shower at a restaurant or cafe (which opens up a whole new can of worms... I'll explain in a second.)
It's not a local custom in Taiwan to have a baby shower for a mother-to-be, which means that very few restaurants and cafes have experience with hosting this type of event, and can have a hard time understanding exactly what your needs are.
Baby shower event packages or special deals are basically unheard of.
Don't be surprised that most eateries in Taipei require an outrageous deposit, or minimum spend per guest, if you want to have the party at their space. I don't use the word "outrageous" lightly here; some of the quotes we received were so ridiculous, it was laughable. (I'm talking up to 1500nt minimum spend per person at a cafe. Say what!? That's almost impossible.)
Communicating with the staff at your chosen event space, or party supply vendors, can be tricky if you don't speak Mandarin (totally understandable!). So, you might need to enlist the help of a local friend to help you out with organizing the party, it will make the whole thing A LOT easier.
In the end, we did manage to celebrate Tieneke's baby shower at one of our favorite restaurants in Taipei, Toasteria Cafe 永康 (Yongkang). The entire restaurant is gorgeous and the food is great! We secured the private dining room on the 4th floor for our party for three hours, and the deposit, and minimum spend per person, was completely acceptable. (We easily exceeded it with everyone ordering a meal and a drink, and the flow of wine didn't hurt...).
The service was fantastic, and even though we were a big group, we never felt like we were waiting too long for any of our dishes or drinks. The space is gorgeous and especially great for a daytime event, as the big windows lets in plenty of light. (You can also access their rooftop to hang out, or to take more photos.) We highly recommend Toasteria for an event or get together, they were by far the most reasonable and accommodating restaurant in our baby shower location hunt.
DECORATION, GAMES AND PARTY SUPPLIES
Now here's one thing you won't have any trouble with; Taipei has plenty of options when you're on the lookout for party decorations and supplies.
You can find well-stocked party supply stores ALL OVER Taipei. (Just go in Google Maps and search "party supplies" or "派對用品店" and you'll have a huge variety of shops to visit.)
Games can be an easy way to break the ice, and adds another fun element to the party. (Very important; get the mommy-to-be to approve the games you're preparing, everyone is different regarding what type of games they are comfortable with, and the last thing you want is to embarrass the guest of honor.)
For Tieneke's shower we decided on silver and rose gold helium balloons and flowers for decoration. We were lucky that Toasteria's interior is already beautifully designed and decorated, and didn't have to do much to make it look nice. Tieneke's husband bought a few bunches of gorgeous white lilies from the Jinguo Weekend Flower Market 建國假日花市, which we put in vases and placed around the room.
The balloons we ordered from a local vendor, SuperParty, and that included the helium; they had to be picked up from the shop that morning. For games, I found some great templates for sale on Etsy; it was easy to customize them and I bought some nice paper from 金興發JSF生活百貨's stationery section in Shida to print them out on. (The winners got to walk away with some small gift sets, including tea and pretty notebooks.)
Helium balloons by SuperParty
Flowers from the Jinguo Weekend Flower Market 建國假日花市
Customizable games templates from Etsy
SWEETS FOR MY SWEET
Having a cake, or cupcakes, at a baby shower is a must! Taipei has a lot of great bakeries where you can get customized cakes or cupcakes.
We got cupcakes for each guest from The Cupcake Shop, Tieneke's favorite. Not only are these cupcakes DELICIOUS, she can make them to order and customize them with different colors and themes. She also lent us a stand, and we decorated the cupcakes with rose gold "Oh Baby!" cake toppers, which we also got from Etsy.
GUESTS DON'T GO HOME EMPTY HANDED
Favors/gifts for the guests are not necessary, but it can add a nice touch, and it's a simple way to give back and say thank you to everyone who took the time to attend the party.
You can get creative and crafty with your favors, or just buy something small and sweet. Things like cookies, cakes, candies, soap, candles, champagne, a small plant, lip balm, tea or macarons can all be great favors. You can check out Pinkoi for unique and personalized gifts if you're in a bind.
We wanted to gift our guests with something special to take home and ordered lovely scented candles from our dear friend's candle company, FAHL. We were also lucky to have our talented friend Roelien, of Unrouxly Illustration, design and illustrate personalized tags for the candles; the result was absolutely beautiful!
VENDORS WE RECOMMEND
Event location - Toasteria Cafe 永康 (Yongkang)
Helium balloons - SuperParty
Flowers - Jinguo Weekend Flower Market 建國假日花市
Games templates - Etsy
Stationery store - 金興發JSF生活百貨
Cupcakes - The Cupcake Shop
Cupcake toppers - Etsy
Candles - FAHL
Personalized tags - Unrouxly Illustration
We hope you got some good information and tips on how to plan a successful baby shower in Taipei. We would love to hear where you've hosted a baby shower event in Taipei, and what your experience was like, so let us know!