Showy baby showers

2018-10-01 14:10

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Gone are the days where baby showers were a simple affair; now it’s either you go big or go home.

Today’s expectant mums are hiring luxury venues, calling in the caterers and donning flower crowns over their perfectly styled hairdos and flawless makeup, while tottering around in skin-tight designer dresses and high heels.

Expectant parents are dolling out more money than ever on lavish baby showers in a bid to outdo others on social media.

It seems celebrities sparked the trend, with some South African parents even opting for gift registries from which invited guests must pick designer baby gear, professional cakes, extravagant floral arrangements and entertainment.

Topping the list of lavish celebrity baby showers this year is Isibaya star Jessica Nkosi. She had the mother of all baby showers in July.

The glittering event was attended by some of South Africa’s biggest stars, including Ayanda Thabethe and Duma Ntando.

The colour theme for the shower was pink, and the décor was described as simply breathtaking. Imagine a pink and white rose wall, along with silver, gold and pink balloons framing it.

Nkosi’s baby shower cake was a pink and white masterpiece, and guests received goodie bags filled with luxury products to take home with them.

Nkosi’s second baby shower, which was held at Nto’s Boutique Hotel in La Lucia, was also a luxurious fairy-tale affair of pink and white flowers interspersed with yellow, silver, pink and white balloons adorning the venue.

Jessica Nkosi at one of her baby showers. (Photo: Instagram)

Former Miss South Africa Tatum Keshwar’s family also threw her one of the poshest showers of 2018.

Keshwar celebrated her baby shower at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga.

The baby shower had a blue theme and many of the guests wore the same colour. The beauty queen was dressed in a flowing blue gown by David Tlale with a flower crown to match.

Former Miss SA Tatum Keshwar at her baby shower in April. (Photo: Instagram)

Event stylist Rebecca Sithole said she is being called on more often to style baby showers and said money is no object for some mums-to-be.

She said baby showers have “gone crazy” in recent years, with many mums-to-be hiring her with one wish in mind —  to outdo the last baby shower they attended.

“There have been quite a few cases where someone has called me and said: ‘You did so-and-so’s baby shower and I want mine to be better’,” Sithole said.

“Baby showers have really gone up to the next level in the past four years.”

Sithole said women are spending thousands on their perfect day, which includes everything from catering to flowers to prop hire.

She said some hostesses are hiring venues while others are holding the event at home. But don’t think that means they are saving money.

“A lot of them are buying designer dresses now. It is a big thing, according to designers,” said Sithole.

When styling an event, Sithole starts with a theme. She said popular trends include gold-coloured themes, which are usually teamed with a splash of pink or blue if the baby’s sex has been revealed.

Sithole said mothers-to-be are calling in the caterers to provide dessert tables of delectable sweets, usually with a show-stopping centrepiece such as a cake, or towers made from macaroons or doughnuts.

“Professionally made cakes and cake toppers are massive right now as well,” she said.

Cake artist Cheryl Govender of The Cake House said she receives orders for baby shower cakes every week.

“We do about five a month. The starting price is R1 200. The price can go up to R20 000. The price of the cake is determined by the size, design and the flavour.”

She said the last expensive cake they baked for a baby shower was a four-tiered cake costing R4 500.

Sithole said next on the list is decorations, and it is not unusual for clients to spend big on backdrops and props, such as decorative panels or flower walls, or specially made signage featuring the baby’s surname or clever phrases.

“I did a baby shower with a fresh flower wall a couple of weeks ago. The backdrop alone cost R15 000,” she said.

“Then there are the centrepieces, and flower crowns are still really trendy.”

Karen Grossi of Co-Ords Kidz Party Boutique agreed that baby showers are much more glamorous then they used to be.

“I think people want to celebrate the arrival of their little one. It’s not only for women; men also attend these baby showers.”

Grossi said that depending on what clients want, on average, people spent up to R20 000.

She said that popular themes for baby showers include princess, jungle and baby animal themes.

Are baby showers all about status?

The style of baby showers has undergone a massive transformation over the past few years, with expectant moms spending more money than ever before on their lavish affairs. Are baby showers overrated? Do they really need to be over the top?

Commenting on The Witness Facebook page, Pietermaritzburg resident Michelle Habbick said: “They are supposed to be a surprise and were for firstborns only.

“These themed over-the-top (OTT) baby showers are, in my opinion, a waste of money and a competition as to who can out do the next ... Facebook cannot get an ordinary baby shower post. It is all about status these days and not the actual celebration of the arrival of a baby. Don’t even get me started on gender reveals.”

Debs Lucke said far too much money is being spent on these events.

“It’s the same way weddings have gone completely over the top,” said Lucke.

Norma Wiggill said: “A baby shower in my day was a surprise for the mum given by a friend. Today they are way over the top and more of a competition to see whose is the biggest and best.”

Hazel Montague Rampaul agreed that the money could be better used.

“The money spent on the décor for the baby shower could support the child until they go to school, besides the gifts received,” she said.

Patricia Wood also bemoaned the expenses that accompany baby showers.

“People are expected to buy expensive gifts. The cakes equal wedding cakes,” said Wood.

Looking back at her first baby shower nine years ago, Roxanne Frost said she was spoilt.

“Three years later, I had a low-key shower with mainly family, and then last month I had another baby shower, which was definitely needed as my first two children are girls and this one is a boy. They have all been surprises and I’m hoping my friends didn’t spend millions on the décor,” said Frost.

Maureen Buchanan said both her baby showers were surprises. “The guests were never asked to bring eats. Those were provided by my family,” said Buchanan adding that baby showers are overrated.

“Mums get way more than they will ever use. Everyone tries to outdo the next person,” said Buchanan.

Gifting binds people together

Professor of cultural studies at the Durban University of Technology, Jean-Philippe Wade, describes baby showers as a rite of passage for every woman who is on the journey to motherhood.

“In giving all these gifts, they lead the mother to her new identity.

“There is a kind of craziness depending on what economic bracket you are in. Nowadays things get really expensive, but obviously people closer to the would-be mother contribute much more utilitarian things. Although it can get out of hand, it’s a way of expressing care for the new child. Gifting binds people together; it’s the glue of the community.”

Spend wisely

Money expert Megan Hassan said expectant parents are going above and beyond for their baby celebrations; namely, to make the extravaganza look lavish on Instagram.

“A cake in the back yard with your friends just doesn’t seem to cut it these days, with many wanting a lavish affair — the more elaborate the better,” she said.

Hassan cautioned that it might not be worth all the organising.

“Having a baby on the way is a very important life event but acknowledging that fact shouldn’t break the bank,” she said.

“The point of a baby shower typically, is to help accumulate items for the baby in the form of gifts, to help bring down the cost of a new baby for a family. That goes out the window if you are forking out hundreds on the party itself.

“Opening a baby bank account and contributing an initial R1 000 could end up being a very tidy savings account if you continue to stash cash away over the course of their childhood.”

She recommended having the shower at home or in the local park to cut the costs of finding a specialised venue.

In a Facebook video, financial fitness personality Nicolette Mashile, agrees that instead of the frills and glitters, give the unborn child a long lasting gift.

“If you are going to give a mother a gift, give her something that will matter for the child. Having a child is really expensive and it takes a lot of your savings.”

Monica Hadebe said she often attends baby showers that come with demands or requests for money.

Hadebe told Weekend Witness that she has already been invited to two baby showers this month. “The costs are too much,” decried Hadebe.

“Why must I buy a new outfit for a baby shower? Often, I don’t even buy a new outfit when attending a wedding,”

“If you invite someone to your baby shower just be happy that they showed up with a gift. People must stop making ridiculous demands. We live in tough economic times and gift registries are restrictive.”

Hadebe said that for the first baby shower, she was asked to fork out R380 to contribute towards meals, drinks and a cake.

“I can half fill my petrol tank with that money,” she said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  baby showers

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